IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Pax8 Introduces Professional Services for Infrastructure as a Service

Called the Wingman Professional Services Program, the new offering is less a strategic pivot into a new revenue source than an effort to help partners get cloud infrastructure practices up and running swiftly. By Rich Freeman

Pax8 Inc. has rolled out a professional services offering designed to help its reseller partners plan, assess, design, migrate, and customize infrastructure-as-a service solutions on platforms such as the Microsoft Azure public cloud.

The Greenwood Village, Colo.-based cloud distributor announced the new resource, which is called the Wingman Professional Services Program and available immediately, at the 2018 edition of Microsoft’s Inspire partner conference. That show is currently underway in Las Vegas.

Adding professional services is less a strategic pivot into a new revenue source for Pax8 than an effort to help partners with limited knowledge of IaaS technologies get a cloud infrastructure practice up and running swiftly. According to Aaron Garza, Pax8’s vice president of business development, training time will be built into every professional services engagement to help partners acquire the skills they need to handle IaaS deployments themselves in the future.

“Usually there’s a skills gap or a capacity gap when it comes to facilitating a migration, but if we handle that and teach our partners in the process how to repeat this going forward now not only are we enabling revenue but we’re teaching them how to take advantage of the cloud,” said Garza in an interview with ChannelPro outside the Inspire show site in Las Vegas.

Most partners, Garza predicts, will collaborate on IaaS rollouts with Pax8’s professional services team a handful of times at most, until they have the confidence to support customers themselves. Some will also draw on the program to fill short-term capacity gaps as well, however.

“In the case where there is a partner who’s got a time-sensitive migration to Azure, we can absolutely fulfill that for them,” Garza says.

Pax8 employees who work directly with end users during professional services projects do so on a white label basis.

Pax8 has deliberately priced its professional services below industry norms, to prevent cost from being the reason partners opt not to take advantage of the offering.

“We are not viewing this as a profit center,” says Nick Heddy, Pax8’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We’ve got the cost on this very low just to kind of cover our expenses.”

Partners, on the other hand, can leverage those low rates to make money on professional services engagements, Garza notes. “Our partners are definitely capitalizing on the ability to mark up the services to their end client,” he says.

Membership in Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program is the only prerequisite for utilizing the Wingman Professional Services Program. At present, Pax8 has more than 1,200 active CSP resellers in its channel.

According to Heddy, the decision to create a professional services program stems directly from feedback received during the “boot camps” the distributor runs to help partners launch cloud infrastructure practices.

“Enough people were saying ‘hey, can you guys do this for me’ that we decided to jump in,” he says.

Pax8 partners who use PSA products from ConnectWise, Datto Inc.’s Autotask unit, and Tigerpaw Software Inc. can order professional services from directly within those systems via previously introduced integrations that allow MSPs to access Pax8 services without “swivel chairing” between management consoles.

Microsoft Inspire 2018 concludes on Thursday.

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