Pax8's Ryan Walsh said marketplaces need to take a "solution" focus rather than a "product" focus.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

March 11, 2024

2 Min Read
Cloud marketplaces

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO/MSP SUMMIT Cloud marketplaces will evolve to help business customers and their channel partners procure and implement increasingly multi-vendor solutions.

So said the panelists in a conversation about cloud marketplaces between Google Cloud, Pax8 and Elastic at The MSP Summit. Vince Menzione, CEO, of Ultimate Partner, moderated the session.

The executives argued that cloud marketplaces are here to stay. However, they added that plenty of nuances exist between the various providers of marketplaces.

Drivers and Demand

For Laurent Mechain, vice president of strategic alliances at the system integrator Elastic, the company's business in hyperscaler marketplaces has increased rapidly over the last three years. Elastic has earned awards with all three major hyperscalers. And for Mechain, customer demand is the key driver.


But the customer demand itself is shifting. Namely, upfront committed cloud spend is only part of the equation.

That insight came from Dai Vu, managing director of marketplace and ISV go-to-market programs at Google. He said cloud commit spend is no longer the primary driver for marketplace adoption.


Other factors include the ability to scale the procurement and implementation process, consolidate vendor relationships and provide access controls and governance.

"Even though committed cloud spend was the main driver initially, we believe that there are other compelling reasons that are driving this growth," Vu told the partner audience.

Friend or Foe?

Pax8 chief strategy officer Ryan Walsh Chief Strategy Officer said misunderstandings exists among channel partners over whether marketplaces pose a threat to them.

Walsh cited CompTIA's 2024 State of the Channel, in which channel partner respondents listed online marketplaces as their second largest source of competition.

And that could boil down to how they understand marketplaces, Walsh said.

"I think there is some concern within our channel community of, 'Does self-service mean that I don't add value?' We spent some time talking about how it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it isn't that way, because the value add that customers want is just procurement," Walsh said.

Product- vs. Solution-Focused Marketplaces

Vu said partners can expect to see more multi-vendor solutions transacting through marketplaces. Walsh agreed, saying that many marketplaces simply amount to "static product catalogs."

"Historically, cloud marketplaces have been very product-, ISV- and SKU-focused," he said.

But that's "not good enough" to deal with the complexity and proliferation of vendor products.


Now channel partners are discussing larger solutions with their clients.

"It's not so much a product conversation anymore with our channel community. It's a solution discussion," Walsh said. "To do that, you really have to deliver more than one product together at the same time when that customer demands it."

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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