Cloud services distributor Pax8 is preparing to roll out a new offering, Stax Designer, aimed at making it easy for managed service providers to on-board new business customers or new seats at existing customers via pre-configured bundles of services.
Stax Designer, due to be rolled out sometime next year, is a template for instantly moving a stack of products to new customers or users, said Nick Heddy, vice president of sales for Denver-based Pax8.
A "stack" in MSP parlance is group of products that are bundled for easy use by MSP customers, Heddy told CRN. However, he said, a stack is not inherently an easy-to-deploy offering.
"Adding two seats to an existing customer can take two hours," he said. "Adding a new customer can take all day. Stax Designer lets it be done right away."
Partners who log into Stax Designer will be able to access and modify the services stacks via the Stax dashboard, Heddy said.
When buying a new product from Pax8, the dashboard will also provide information on what other MSPs use with that product in their stacks for reference, he said. Pax8 also plans to offer themed pre-configured Stax bundles including a Compliance Stax built around HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) or FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) requirements, he said.
Stax Designer will be available as a stand-alone offering, as well as be integrated into the ConnectWise and Autotask services management platforms, said Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer at Pax8.
"If an MSP can remove friction from the services deployment process, it matters," Walsh told CRN. "Partners have limited time in a day. If they can roll Stax into ConnectWise or Autotask, they can increase their efficiency."
Pax8 offered partners a peak at how Stax Designer works as part of the company's keynote presentation at this week's NexGen 2017 conference, held this week in Los Angeles.
Heddy used his portion of the Pax8 keynote to present the company as an alternative to traditional distribution, which he called "broken" because of what he termed as unexplainable provisioning delays, billing issues, and limited or no support.
"We believe distribution is FUBAR: fouled up beyond all recognition. … We feel like we are blowing up the distribution models of old. If you feel your distributor is not helping you, fire them," Heddy told solution providers at the conference.
Walsh told partners that analyst firms predict a $1-trillion shift in services to the cloud by 2020. "That's a massive amount of dollars moving to the cloud," he said. "And that's where you need to be."
For SMB-focused solution providers facing the shift in business to the cloud, efficiency and cost effectiveness are essential, Walsh said. He said there are an estimated 5 million SMB firms with a total of about 58 million employees in the U.S., giving such potential customers an average of just over 10 employees each. And yet, he said, the SMB cloud market is growing by 19 percent on a compound annual growth rate through 2020, he said.
Pax8 is responding with automatic integration of offerings from the vendors the company works with via its OmniDash user interface, which is integrated with the ConnectWise platform, Walsh said.
OmniDash allows MSPs to quickly search for applications, provides details about those applications including subscription terms, and allows one-click deployment, he said. Once a service is selected, OmniDash automatically acknowledges the terms and conditions, lets partners select options for billing and taxes, and automatically syncs them to ConnectWise, he said.
"We removed the extra steps," he said. "This matters. We save hours a day."
The demonstration of Stax Designer and OmniDash came at the right time for Alan "Skip" Gould, president and CEO at BrightPlanIT, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based enterprise consultant.
Gould told CRN that his company is planning on leaving its existing distributor, which he declined to name, and is currently on the fence while choosing between Pax8 and Tech Data, which on Tuesday unveiled its Tech-as-a-Service offering.
"I've been hearing from my peers here at the NexGen conference that Pax8 offers a good, seamless solution, and is a good company to partner with," he said. "Margin numbers are not as important as how easy it is to work with a distributor, and Pax8 seems to make it easy."
BrightPlanIT needs to find a way to simplify the distribution of its services, especially since it works with customers in over 80 countries, Gould said. "We want to find the right distributor to help," he said. "Pax8 seems hungry."