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June 13, 2023
PAX8 BEYOND — Pax8 has unveiled a new marketplace that will rely on AI and data to closely link vendors, MSPs and customers to improve solution sales, grow overall business and drive efficiencies. The cloud distributor will also roll out customized storefronts for its MSP partners and their customers. It’s a move getting mainly positive reactions from MSPs.
“We’ve been obsessed with asking, ‘What is the future of cloud marketplaces,’” Scott Chasin (pictured on stage above), Pax8’s CTO, told a packed audience of about 1,100 MSPs at its inaugural Pax8 Beyond partner conference in Denver. “I think we might just have the answer.”
The new Pax8 marketplace, expected to soft-launch this fall, is a complete rebuild of the current platform. The marketplace strategy is geared to prevent direct vendor sales fueled by the product-led growth model. MSPs can counter that trend, Chasin said, with what he’s calling “marketplace-led growth.”
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Chasin and the Pax8 team heralded several important features in the new platform.
It will use visualization models and AI insights generated from data to give MSPs a clear look into their customers existing solutions stacks. This will help them identify technology gaps and fill them with the right product, service or solution. MSPs will be able to configure prices and quotes for SaaS products, hardware and services through storefronts. The marketplace will include features to help make sales decisions and product choices, easier-to-fit full solutions, as well as tools, or “lenses,” to facilitate tough security sales.
“The data that defines your customers’ existing solutions can define what your customers need. This marketplace is more about your customers and their lifecycle and needs,” Chasin said.
Vendors will also have the choice of placing a “buy now” button on their sites and apps that integrates into their product libraries. It will funnel customers to Pax8 MSPs that want the business. Customer and MSP storefronts will support that ecosystem. MSP storefronts can be synched and integrated with those from other vendors that MSPs use, Chasin said at Pax8 Beyond.
“We see a future where marketplace-led growth will become the norm and Pax8 will become your customer acquisition engine,” Chasin said. “We’re going take these new customers and put them into a prospect- or customer-acquisition funnel that you will have access to by setting up your matchmaking preferences.”
MSPs and vendors at the keynote applauded the storefronts, with several saying they have been asking Pax8 to do this for years. While receptive to the initiatives, some MSPs are waiting to see how the final product works before approving it. Many, however, are excited by the changes.
Xperteks’ Marcial Velez
Xperteks’ Marcial Velez, CEO of Xperteks Computer Consultancy in New York City, said he would only add the MSP storefront if it integrates with his Datto Commerce quoting and procurement platform, which Velez connects to a daily feed of product availability and quotes from distributors TD Synnex and Ingram Micro.
“I’d have to do that with the cloud products and add it to the commerce platform that I already have integrated with my PSA,” said Velez, adding that he has asked Pax8 in the past for that capability. “If they can somehow connect to that, then we’d see.”
Foresight’s Matthias Kittok
Matthias Kittok, president of Foresight, an MSP based in Minneapolis-St. Paul, would also push back on the storefront if it didn’t allow integration with other distributors’ platforms.
“I like it being part of one ecosystem rather than all the vendors having a different program for doing it … or no program for doing it,” he said. “But there are concerns. Consolidation in the marketplace has many effects, both positive and negative.”
But Kittok, like others interviewed, said Pax8 has been …
… a stand-up partner with MSPs’ best interests in mind.
“Pax8 has always done right by partners,” he said. “If there was a distributor to do it, they’re the ones to do it in my mind.”
Paco Lebron, CEO of ProdigyTeks, Chicago, sees lots of positives in integrated marketplaces, especially those that can leverage the sales, marketing and lead generation of a trusted vendor partner. An easier path to market can also help more mature MSPs or those trying to crack new markets increase their relevance, he said.
ProdigyTeks’ Paco Lebron
“Partnering with Pax8 so we don’t have to do the heavy lifting to put that to market is huge,” Lebron said. “It’s going to be a big benefit, not a detriment, especially as you have that one-stop shop of streamlining your system.”
Lebron is also confident that Pax8 will listen to MSP feedback to fix whatever problems they have.
“Pax8 has always been about disruption. I think that when you compare all [the distributors], especially when it comes to cloud distribution, Pax8 is still leading the way. The [storefront] gives MSPs another option for MSPs to go to depending on where their growth and journey is.”
Vendors at Pax8 Beyond also applauded the “buy now button” and MSP/end-user storefronts.
Juan Fernandez, global channel chief of Hacware and a former MSP, has been advocating MSP marketplaces and storefronts for years. If done right, he sees them as a win for MSPs, both mature and new.
HacWare’s Juan Fernandez
“It’s really important because MSPs need a way to transact. The challenge is there are not a lot of go-to-market strategies, and to create a marketplace for the more mature MSPs makes sense,” he said. “New, modern MSPs that are just selling cloud products also need that whole framework and that ecosystem that they can actually take to market. It simplifies the go-to market for the emerging MSP or MSSP.”
Marketplaces, he said, also help vendors, especially those with a channel-only model, go to market faster. When customers reach out directly to HacWare, the company has to send them to an MSP anyway.
“It’s a great thing from HacWare’s perspective. Now they can just buy it from an enabled partner in their area,” said Fernandez, who has also been pushing Pax8 to create MSP storefronts. “If Pax8 is front-ending that, then I don’t have to worry about it.”
GlassHive’s Rafael Sanguily
Rafael Sanguily, vice president of strategic alliances at GlassHive, a developer of sales and marketing automation tools, said the new marketplace and its key features introduced at Pax8 Beyond will help both his company and the MSPs he works with.
“With all of this innovation, partners will be able to see the opportunities in the portfolios of existing clients. That’s game-changing; that’s massive,” he said. “As a vendor, it will create a synch where our partners that are already driving sales and marketing through our platform can complete the loop with Pax8 so they can complete the renewals and the rest of the deals that we’re in the front-end prospecting. They can now manage those deals almost seamlessly through Pax8.”
Read more about:MSPs
Jeff O’Heir is a journalist and editor who has spent much of his career covering the business leaders, issues and trends that define the IT and consumer technology channels. His work in print, online and on stage has showcased, educated and connected small and large solution providers, MSPs, channel pros and vendors. During his career, Jeff has also covered engineering technologies and breakthroughs, crime, politics, food and the arts.
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