Pax8 is strengthening its cloud services portfolio with three new partnerships it hopes will better enable its channel partners in the SMB community. The Lone Tree, Colo.-based company said it is also integrating Autotask professional services automation into its cloud management platform, the Pax8 Command Console, to help partners manage and build customers in a cost effective way from a single pane of glass.
Pax8's existing cloud, data management and collaboration services will include new offerings from vendors Ajubeo, SilverSky and Virsage.
"We built our cloud console so we could make it easier for our channel partners to order, manage and sell cloud services," said Ryan Walsh, vice president of partner solutions at Pax8. "[The vendors] are looking for Pax8 to become a more efficient mechanism for VARs and IT resellers that are smaller in nature, serving small and medium-sized businesses."
Currently, Pax8 targets seven different cloud technology areas including hosted communications, security, infrastructure, business productivity, mobility, data management and collaboration. With the new vendors, Pax8 is able to add more innovative cloud services to the mix, said Steve McCutcheon, chief marketing officer at Pax8.
"As far as what the vendors bring in to us, it's the technology that end users are looking for to change the way they are doing their IT strategy in the business, the early adopters of the SMB community," said McCutcheon.
Although the transition from software and hardware to cloud has brought with it many benefits, it has also been a threat to the channel by allowing customers to go directly to vendors, causing a "ripple of change" in the way companies do business, said McCutcheon.
"It feeds the belief that they should run their businesses all on their own, and some customers are certainly capable, but it's not a best practice for most," said McCutcheon. "A change in technology form factor shouldn't change a company's relationship with their trusted adviser," said McCutcheon.
Today, the problems that partners face is the cost of cloud as they add cloud vendors to their line card, said Ken Totura, chief channel officer at Pax8.
"Every time a partner signs as a reseller or MSP or agent with a new vendor, there is another vendor agreement, portal, billing experience, customer support requirement and on and on. [When] they add a new product to their line card or new vendor, they have this additional layer of complexity and process," said Totura. "In our opinion that is one of the challenges with the typical aggregator model; if you keep layering more and more vendors to partners without unifying, the efficiency of cloud goes away and now it's just more expensive."
NEXT: Autotask Integration
The integration of Autotask onto the Command Console will
allow partners from a single pane of glass to catalog, quote, order, provision, manage and build customers in a cost effective manner, said Pax8's Totura. Additionally, Pax8 offers white-labeling around the centralized console.
"PSA [Professional Services Automation] is a key tool that we want to integrate with and make the facilitation of cloud so much easier," said Totura. "Autotask [is] about having accuracy between two disparate platforms and to make sure that they integrate and communicate without additional data entry."
Furthermore, the Autotask integration will benefit not only traditional IT resellers in the channel but also resellers and MSPs in the telecom channel, said Totura.
"Traditionally, [IT resellers] are more accustomed to selling cloud services, but what we are finding is telecom agents that want to get into this space," said Totura. "However, they are not comfortable building that customer recurring model, or doing technical support on a 24/7 model for end customers. Pax8 can support those services for them and, if they wish, in a white-labeled environment."
The channel represents an imperative force for Pax8 and its vendors, said Pax8's McCutcheon.
"As a commerce marketplace, we are enabling cloud business in all directions and doing it specifically through the channel because that's where the most value is for all parties," said McCutcheon "We believe that the end user needs that trusted advisor, a solution provider, and integrators for the facilitation of cloud commerce."
Currently, Pax8 is looking to add new vendors, said Totura.
"Our ability to expand our vendor line card will grow, and enablement and engagement programs will grow," said Totura. "Adding products to the vendor line card is one key expansion, and we are looking for vendors that are channel friendly, have a cloud offering and are attractive to the SMB space."
For the future, Pax8 is keen on creating and building up programs for partners to bring on more customers and remain successful, said Pax8's Walsh.
"We're a commerce marketplace for facilitation, engagement and investment, and we are spending money on these marketing programs to help our partners be successful," said Walsh. "An inevitable move to these services with the long-term relationships building with the channel, they can expect to see more of that, and more development on our Command Console to help them do business."
PUBLISHED NOV. 5, 2013