Pax8’s Rob Rae: ‘The MSP Is Still Going To Be The Center Of Everything’

‘MSPs are less like solution providers today and more like strategic partners to their ultimate end users,’ says Rob Rae, corporate vice president of communities and ecosystems at Pax8.


Pax8 believes the key to moving innovation forward is in the data.

That’s what Rob Rae, corporate vice president of communities and ecosystems, and Scott Chasin, CTO at Denver-based distributor Pax8, told MSPs at the XChange August 2023 conference, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company in Nashville, Tenn., this week.

“Buyer behaviors are starting to change—the next generation wants easy buttons,” said Rae. “They want simple things. A lot of them are doing research months before they even call you because they have the ability to do it with tools like the web, obviously, the cloud and AI. Those types of things are making it easier for them to figure out what it is that they want rather than calling you. But they need you in this process, which is the beautiful part about this.”

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But he said “the MSP is still going to be the center of everything, and the growth numbers are phenomenal.” In fact, he said the channel industry will double in size by 2030.

[Related: Here Are 16 Additional Vendors Coming To Pax8’s Marketplace This Year]

“MSPs are less like solution providers today and more like strategic partners to their ultimate end users,” he said.

Pax8’s revamped cloud marketplace that was unveiled at its inaugural Beyond conference in June will be using the power of data and AI to act as a customer acquisition engine for its partners. The marketplace enables Pax8 to help MSPs get matched up with end customers who are looking to buy direct through Pax8’s vendor partners.

Through a “buy now” button that most Pax8 vendor partners will have on their websites, end customers will be rerouted to Pax8’s marketplace and prompted to answer questions that will match them with an MSP if they don’t have one already.

And Pax8 does a transaction every minute. Pretty soon, it’ll be doing a transaction every second, Rae said.

“We’re not just about disrupting how the channel operates, we’ve already done that,” Chasin said. “We want to build the future of how you grow your customers, how you grow your businesses and, of course, the marketplace that you use every day. We truly want to build what’s next in B2B cloud commerce.”

The future of the cloud marketplace is about the MSP’s customers, and the foundation is defined by the data that describes an MSP’s existing product stack. Using AI insight that is generated from the data will guide MSPs to the solutions that they need next, Chasin explained.

To begin, Pax8 will provide MSPs with a set of features that guides them to the insight that will make it actionable to take advantage of. The first step in doing that is getting data into the marketplace.

“By integrating your PSA, your RMM items, it will sync that data into the marketplace and will provide a view that uncovers the gaps that shows you the opportunities that surfaces what’s next,” Chasin said. “This first lens will actually provide a product gap analysis for you.”

Another lens is around security posture that will help MSPs manage their customer stack against computer information system controls.

“This is going to enable you with conversations on how to educate your customer,” he said. “Now you can start digging into recommended products to mitigate those vulnerabilities.”

This will all lead to Pax8’s Solutions Centers where for the first time within the marketplace MSPs will be able to bundle SaaS, hardware and services.

“You can create a library of solutions or use your existing solutions that were synced from your PSAs,” Chasin said. “You can create specific solutions for a particular client. This interface is going to allow you to get in front of your customers.”

The distributor is also building a configure-price-quote tool that will allow MSPs to share that quote to a specific customer storefront.

“That gives them the ability to view that curated catalog that you’ve put together, gives them the ability to get support, make payments, or accept and pay for that quote,” he said. “When that quote is accepted, you’ll get the notification in the marketplace closing the loop.”

Early access for these tools is coming this fall.

Nathan Archer, CEO and director of business development at New York-based A&H Technology Group, said Pax8 has done what it’s always done well, which is being a disrupter in the channel.

“I think it’s phenomenal that their marketplace will have security insights to show what products you’ve got to then be able to sell to your customers,” he told CRN. “We’ll know where their posture is, their rating. I think it’ll make me more eligible to be able to say, ‘Hey, I don’t have this.’ This is a nice thing to get up to that rating.’”