E78 Partners Launches Landmark AppDirect-Powered Marketplace

The Nexus platform is based on the AppDirect marketplace, with a hefty amount of customization involved.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

May 9, 2024

4 Min Read
E78 marketplace
Eakrin Rasadonyindee/Shutterstock

Professional services and technology advisor E78 Partners has launched an AppDirect-based marketplace that E78 execs say is first of its kind.

Nexus, which Illinois-based E78 rolled out late last month, puts the full gamut of E78's finance, accounting and technology solutions offerings on the same pane of glass for clients to procure, view and manage.

The E78 marketplace contains software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings from AppDirect and E78's own supplier contracts, as well as E78's proprietary services.

The E78 marketplace comes after a heavy lift. The channel partner spent upwards of eight months working with AppDirect to build its ideal version of a marketplace.


"This is a unique version that really doesn't exist elsewhere," said John Cataldo, E78's executive managing director and head of technology solutions. "This at the core is the AppDirect platform, but beyond that it not only does a lot of other functionality, but it extends well beyond what AppDirect goes to market with."

Nexus: Not Your Average Marketplace

AppDirect partners with multiple companies to help them create their own digital commerce platforms. However, many of these are large vendors that are focusing on their own SaaS offerings or non-competitive SKUs. E78, as a technology advisor that operates in the vendor-neutral agent model, is offering more than 600 third-party SKUs in its marketplace.

At the same time, E78 has taken a select approach to the 1,000-plus suppliers in the AppDirect marketplace that would be grandfathered in for a generic build. That includes many technology expense management providers (TEM) E78 might compete against.

"We filtered out anything that we do not consider A-list products and services that are in technology, SaaS or consulting services," said Scott Marrone, senior managing director of technology solutions.


E78 Marketplace: Beyond Procurement

Nexus can also import clients' applications. E78 can then manage those applications both for the client and the client's employees that are operating in the portal.

"We've created what we believe is a true platform in the industry and not just a silo to transact some commodity-based business," Marrone said.

Marrone said customers can upload 137 different applications. And that includes certain providers that the customer didn't actually buy from the E78 marketplace.

Salesforce is a good example.

"Salesforce does not allow you to transact licenses outside of direct, but this allows them to at least manage those licenses in a single pane of glass," said Kristy Thomas, E78's vice president of enterprise solutions.


Knowing that the client is a Salesforce shop, E78 can then advise on Salesforce-adjacent solutions, such as contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS).

And starting at the end of May, Nexus will allow customers to enter their NetSuite environment, which will let them view invoices, contracts and other documents, as well make payments to E78.


Technology Advisor Market Implications

Thomas said Nexus and its management capabilities help solve two key challenges that partners in the agent model face: selling more than two lines of technology and predicting lifetime value.

"This is our ability to be able to do both those things; to go wider in our accounts for upsell/cross-sell of our services, and then also we look at patterns of like customers and start to predict lifetime value of these customers for the long tail," Thomas told Channel Futures.

E78, spurred by investments from private equity firm Further Global Management, has bought several technology agencies. The purpose of that went beyond adding their books of residual commissions to make E78 heftier, Marrone said. In a previous interview, Thomas shared that E78 is seeking to pair financial and technology advisory solutions to bring the entire C-suite into the buying process.

And Marrone that buying process increasingly includes digital channels.

"We have 800 clients that are generally in the PE space, and 400 customers that we've supported and serviced as agents. We felt we had a large enough audience that we could leverage the value of operating our own marketplace," he told Channel Futures. "It was worth the investment to tech enable our customers and bring them forward into the future. This is the future of procurement of IT services."

Marrone said the average company running an AppDirect-based platform hosts between 60 million and 350 million transactions each year. While E78 is smaller than behemoths like ADP, Comcast Business and Vodafone, it is still planning for heavy traffic.

"The largest deployment for non-direct customers is about 100 clients. We intend to enroll over 600 customers, so we expect to test the limits of the platform."

AppDirect chief revenue officer Emanuel Bertolin praised the Nexus platform.

“We are impressed by E78’s ability to stay ahead of the curve. By providing a marketplace with such a robust catalog along with core management tools, E78 will be able to provide unmatched technology guidance and a superior experience," Bertolin said in a statement.

Read more about:


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.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like