Pax8’s Nick Heddy: ‘We Have A Vision On The Path Forward On This Rapidly-Evolving Channel’

‘I believe we’re different because we are partner first, MSP first, SMB first,’ says Nick Heddy, Pax8 chief commerce officer. ‘We have the data to identify trends before they impact your business.’


Nick Heddy, Pax8 chief commerce officer

Pax8 has the insights on what’s to come.

With an ever-evolving ecosystem and a shift in customer buying, Pax8 is tapping into its expertise, and the data, to better serve its partners. And it starts with the marketplace.

Pax8 sees a transaction every minute, said Nick Heddy, Pax8 chief commerce officer. But with the power of data, the distributor is on its way to seeing a transaction every second.

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That’s where the marketplace will be transformed.

Heddy spoke in front of more than 1,000 MSPs at the cloud distributor’s inaugural Beyond conference in Denver this week about how its marketplace will transform how partners scale their businesses.

[Related: CrowdStrike Exec On New Pax8 Partnership: MSP Market Is The ‘Next Foray’ For Growth]

“Because of our critical mass and scale that we have discovered, because we are the activator and amplifier of your collective voice, because we sit in the middle of the ecosystem of vendors, partners, customers, because we have been in the trenches with you to understand your challenges do we now have clarity,” he said. “We believe we have a vision on the path forward on this rapidly evolving channel. Our ecosystem is evolving faster than it ever has before. The buying journey is starting months before any customer ever reaches out to you.”

The challenges Pax8 looks to solve through its marketplace vision include helping to self-serve existing customers better and faster and helping them find new customers faster than before.

“I believe we’re different because we are partner first, MSP first, SMB first,” he said. “We have the data to identify trends before they impact your business.”

He said Pax8’s marketplace sits at the center of the ecosystem and gives MSPs the tools to orchestrate.

But to get there, he spoke of the journey that Pax8 has been on and discussed three modes that it has experienced.

The first mode was a disruption mode, “which is what we lovingly call our first five-year period where we came out as a cloud commerce marketplace and nobody knew what we were actually talking about.”

Then partners started to call the company a cloud distributor.

“We said, ‘Call us anything you want, just buy something from us,’” he said. “I remember the early days it was a little bit of a chicken and the egg problem. I think we had a vendor on our line card and we were calling out to our 10 MSPs saying, ‘Hey, we’re different. We’re special. We’re marketplace.’ And they said, ‘OK, I’ll give it a try.’”

But as a cloud distributor, he said distribution is broken as well as billing, support and provisioning. But Pax8’s differentiator, he said, is that it is the partner’s wingman.

“It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, we’ll be in the trenches with you by your side,” he said.

To do that, Pax8 went through a community phase where it had to make their offerings consumable to MSPs.

“It required big investments from us, acquisitions and things to enable and educate our partner ecosystem,” he said. “And this phase will never stop.”

The next phase is marketplace mode, “and it is all about real IP, real products, real engineering and focusing on the challenges that our partners have. It’s removing the friction everywhere we can.”

Heddy invited to the stage Jay McBain, chief analyst for Canalys, a technology market analyst firm with channel focus, to discuss trends he’s currently seeing in the channel.

He said in 2022 businesses and government spent $5 trillion on hardware and software, and two thirds of that was on software and services.

“This industry that we’re in is doubling in size this decade,” he said. “Every services company is becoming a tech services company.”

One trend he shared is that in five years 76 percent of CEOs said their business will be unrecognizable, and 82 percent of CEOs are investing more in partnerships.

Another trend is that the average customer today, at a midsize level or larger, has seven partners they trust.

That’s where Pax8 wants to further help partners.

Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based MSP, said it was interesting to see that much potential in Pax8’s marketplace.

“It’s great to have [a company that has] AWS and Microsoft at the same event, the same platform,” he told CRN. “It’s the same thing with the competitive places of CrowdStrike and SentinelOne. It’s a great marketplace to be able to pick and choose your vendors and have them determine and help us with what’s out there.”

In terms of the marketplace, Michael Cervino, president of Radnor, Pa.-based MSP Circle Square Consulting, sees the direction that its going in terms of the self-service model.

“It opens an opportunity for us,” he told CRN. “The client can essentially self-service, which is fundamentally what they can do now, but I’m thinking that it’s going to get a lot better, a lot easier for the clients to do that level of self-service.”