Cloud services distributor Pax8 on Tuesday rolled out its MSP-focused Stax Designer platform into beta testing to give channel partners an opportunity to test its ability to offer customized and easily-configured software stacks to their customers.
With Stax Designer, MSPs can combine applications from multiple cloud-based software developers into stacks that can be managed as a whole rather than as individual applications.
This allows MSPs to quickly configure multiple applications at once, said Ryan Walsh, chief channel officer for Denver-based Pax8, who introduced the platform and its beta program during his presentation at the XChange Solution Provider conference in Orlando.
The XChange Solution Provider conference is hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.
With Stax Designer, the software stacks are customizable for individual customers. For instance, Walsh said, MSPs can add or cut the number of licenses for all the applications through a single portal via a single command, with billing for all the applications immediately adjusted.
MSPs can also easily look at the applications included in one customer's software stack and compare to others' stacks to see what applications that customer might want to add to its stack, he said.
"You have ultimate control over what to sell to customers," he said. "But we also help control the costs. One way to lower costs is to upsell and cross-sell other products."
MSPs can use Stax to develop software stacks to present to potential customers, and to offer alternatives, Walsh said. "You can use our data to show what others have added based on products you have already sold," he said. "We know this is hard to track. It's hard to show what customers should buy next."
Stax Designer provides an overview of all an MSP's customers and what they are buying, said Nick Heddy, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Pax8.
"For example, you might have 40 security customers and wonder why some of them are not buying storage from you," Heddy said.
Stax is available as a stand-alone offering for MSPs, and is already being integrated with ConnectWise's professional services automation platform, Heddy said. Integration with Autotask's PSA tools will come next.
Integration with Kaseya's PSA tools is also on the list, Walsh said.
A couple of MSPs who work with both Pax8 and ConnectWise said Stax Designer would simplify their businesses.
Stax Designer takes out many of the steps involved in onboarding customers and changing their licenses, said Ken Patterson, executive vice president at Techevolution, a Lynn, Mass.-based MSP who saw an early version of the new platform.
"If there are four products in a stack, I would normally need four separate log-ins to make changes," Patterson told CRN. "With Stax, I can order 20 new licenses and provision the four products for a client at the click of one button. Or if the customer downgrades the number of licenses, it's one click."
Bret Meche, owner of Premier Data Systems, an Opelousas, La.-based MSP, told CRN that customer staff fluctuates, making it difficult to keep up-to-date with the licenses required for multiple customers.
"With Stax, we can do it through one portal," Meche said.
Stax also makes it easy to manage the agreements between a vendor, an MSP, and customers, Meche said. "As changes required, Stax automatically upgrades the agreement, and changes slide automatically into billing," he said.