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Pax8 Hires Former Intelisys Exec To Spearhead Major Push To Converge MSP, Telecom Channels

Andrew Pryfogle brings a wealth of telecom and master agent experience to Pax8, which wants to converge the IT MSP and telecom businesses via its cloud-based distribution platform.

Cloud-focused distributor Pax8, which has been focused primarily on the managed services provider channel, is expanding its reach to the telecom channel with the hiring of former Intelisys executive Andrew Pryfogle.

Pryfogle, who previously served as senior vice president of cloud transformation at Intelisys, the Petaluma, Calif.-based telecom master agent, is now Greenwood Village, Colo.-based Pax8's chief market development officer.

Pryfogle's departure from Intelisys, the telecom arm of ScanSource, which acquired Intelisys in 2016, had little to do with that company and everything to do with what is happening at Pax8, he told CRN.

[Related: Pax8 Finds Cloud Growth By 'Tearing Up' Legacy Distribution Processes]

"Pax8 has a big opportunity to change the industry," he said. "They have the ability to disrupt distribution, which is very exciting. I've always been attracted to companies with the ability to change their industries."

This is not Pryfogle's first ride on the disruption train.

"I started at MCI in 1987 when it was going against other telcos like AT&T and absolutely changed the industry," he said. "And I was with GoBeam [Communications], an early pioneer of hosted Voice over IP, which eventually morphed into unified communications."

The new role of chief market development officer was set up specifically to look at how to accelerate the convergence of MSPs and telecom agents, said Nick Heddy, chief revenue officer at Pax8.

"This new role helps us go after this new market, to unify these two channels and bring them together," Heddy told CRN. 

While the telecom business is a new one for Pax8, the distributor has a few people with telecom backgrounds, Heddy said.

Pax8 currently has no Call-Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) or Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) offerings yet on its distribution platform, he said. "But it's something on our list of things to do in short order as Andrew comes on board."

For MSPs, there's a huge opportunity to work in the telecom space for such technologies as SD-WAN, while telecom-focused agents can find new opportunities in the IT market, Pryfogle said.  

"Pax8 has built a leading platform for building cloud services," he said. "Part of that platform will be used to help telcos build those services."

The IT-telecom convergence will be a way for Pax8 MSP partners to expand their business, Pryfogle said. "MSPs focused on WAN and networking are branching out to SD-WAN, intelligent networking, CCaaS and UCaaS," he said. "This is an opportunity to drive new relationships with existing clients, and drive new types of business."

Meanwhile, Heddy said, vendors involved with UCaaS and CCaaS will now have a better way to work with MSPs. "We want to bring in vendors who have the flexibility to work with MSPs without changing their platforms," he said. "Andrew can help us navigate to find these opportunities."  

Bringing the two channels together does not mean increased competition between them, Heddy said. "We see an opportunity to unify the two," he said. "We expect them to find many ways to partner with each other."

The hiring of Pryfogle and the move to unify MSP and telecom channels is an interesting evolution for Pax8, said Daniel Johnson, president of MachineLogic, an Englewood, Colo.-based MSP and Pax8 partner.

"A lot of distributors have master agent agreements but lack vision," Johnson told CRN. "Andrew has a long history in the channel, and worked with one of the larger master agents out there. Bringing him in lets Pax8 move to CCaaS and UCaaS, and bring more opportunities for MSPs while attracting new telecom partners and vendors."

MachineLogic currently works with Innovative Business Solutions, a Castlerock, Colo.-based master agent, Johnson said.  

"But as Pax8 brings master agents and carriers onto its platform, and if their tools integrate with Pax8's other tools, that will simplify our business," he said. "That would be a huge win for us."

UCaaS and CCaaS account for under 10 percent of MachineLogic's business, but that revenue number does not reflect the importance of those technologies to its customers, Johnson said.

"When it comes to customer engagement, they're very important," he said. "We talk to customers about security, but that needs networking redundancy, integration with phone systems, and cloud solutions to work."

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