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News & Articles

November 1, 2019 |

Axcient Launches Converged Business Availability Platform

Named X360, the new unified entry point for all of Axcient’s products is part of a larger campaign to make buying and delivering business availability solutions simpler for MSPs.

Axcient has converged its suite of business availability solutions for MSPs into an integrated platform named X360.

The new offering provides unified, single sign-on access to the vendor’s Office 365 backup, file sync and share, and business continuity/disaster recovery products, plus an associated set of billing, marketing, and enablement resources, through a single, intuitive interface for the first time.

“It really allows you to bring a multilateral backup approach for different product sets, but make it really easy,” says Axcient CEO David Bennett. “It’s one unified look and feel. We’re the only platform that’s done that purely for the MSP.”

Pulling everything together within a single console was no simple accomplishment either, adds Angus Robertson, the vendor’s chief revenue officer. “It’s easier said than done, because we had to bring together a fair amount of technology, but at the end of the day delivering that one user experience is everything for MSP productivity and being able to manage those three backup services,” he says.

The introduction of X360, which Axcient unveiled this week at managed service software vendor ConnectWise’s IT Nation Connect event in Orlando, marks the culmination of a long process that began in earnest early this year, when Bennett, who was previously CRO at security vendor Webroot, stepped into his present role. A listening tour with MSPs quickly convinced him that there were two big problems with most business availability solutions, beginning with the complex range of interfaces they required users to master for protecting Microsoft data, backing up local data, and managing file sync and share tools.

“You ended up having an MSP that had three people managing backups disparately across their organization,” Bennett says. “The whole launch of the [X360] platform predominantly, first of all, simplifies how do I use backup technology and make it easy for my business.”

Bennett and his team have also made simplifying fee structures for Axcient solutions a priority this year. That too was inspired by Bennett’s conversations with MSPs.

“Technology vendors make it hard for people to understand the price they pay for technology,” he says. That, in turn, makes pricing business availability solutions for customers equally hard.

“A lot of these MSPs would have a CFO that would spend three or four hours a month trying to reconcile a bill from their backup provider and then try to work out what are they going to charge their end user,” Bennett recalls.

Axcient has eliminated that problem, he continues, by winnowing down what used to be nearly 1,500 SKUs with variables for number of endpoints, length of contract, amount of data, and duration of retention down to just 11, all of which feature pay-as-you-go rates.

“There’s no minimum commit now, so you don’t have to commit to buying two or three years of technology,” Bennett says.

Since August, moreover, all of Axcient’s solutions have come with unlimited storage and retention in the Axcient Cloud. “It’s super easy. It’s per user, fixed price, and that’s it,” Bennett says. “It doesn’t matter who their end user is. It doesn’t matter how long have they got to keep their information. It’s really simplified a lot of their pain.”

Pricing on Axcient products within X360 is generally lower than before as well. “The pricing has come down 25%, and then there’s the unlimited storage and retention on top of that,” Robertson says.

The launch of X360 this week marks an important interim step in a process that will culminate with the retirement of Axcient’s Replibit, CloudFinder, and Anchor brands for BDR, Office 365 backup, and file sync and share, respectively.

“We will eventually move to a consolidated naming convention across all the technologies,” Bennett says.

Significantly, Bennett emphasizes, X360 is the entry point to all of the financial, enablement, and operational resources Axcient partners need to deliver services, plus the new marketing portal Axcient rolled out in August.

“If you’re an MSP and you’ve signed up to the X360 platform, that one login allows you to go and facilitate the product set, see all your billing, see all the training, see all the certifications,” he says.

Debuting this week as well is a new X360 user experience for CloudFinder. “You can’t tell whether you’re in the portal or you’re in the CloudFinder product,” Robertson says. “It’s really seamless in the look and feel, and it’s just what’s presented that’s different.”

Axcient expects to have a similar experience for Anchor in market in the first quarter of 2020, with a new Replibit interface to follow later in the year.

According to Bennett, moving partners from their legacy plan to a new X360 SKU is a gradual process that the company hopes to complete as quickly as possible.

“The goal is as fast as we can, we’ll migrate,” he says. “We have 3,000 accounts, so that’s quite a lot of people who we got to migrate, but essentially the migration will be as seamless as possible so the actual customer won’t be forced to go out and redo something.”

Robertson expects the process to take about six months for CloudFinder users.

Providing unlimited storage and retention is a bold move with potential for abuse. So far, at least, no one has taken undue advantage of the offer, according to Bennett, who expected as much based on the company’s deep knowledge of business availability needs and habits among managed service providers.

“We’ve had experience with dealing with MSPs for 15 years,” he says. “Someone could turn up with 15 petabytes of information, but they’re probably not an MSP.”

Moreover, Bennett continues, limitless capacity is coming to storage of all kinds sooner or later anyway. “You think about the way the industry is going longer term and the price of public cloud storage is only going to go one way, and that’s down,” he says. “We’re just taking advantage of the way the marketplace is going and bringing the decision upfront.”

Streamlining interfaces, reducing SKUs, and simplifying prices are all examples of larger efforts Axcient has been making to boost partner satisfaction since July 2017, when the former eFolder Inc. merged with the former Axcient Inc. The combined companies operated under the name Axcient/eFolder for some time before rebranding simply as Axcient approximately a year ago.

On Wednesday, ConnectWise became the latest vendor with a BDR solution through its acquisition of master MSP Continuum.

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