AppDirect kicks off Engage event in Montréal with platform enhancements

AppDirect is announcing more flexibility in its platform to allow easy selling and billing through drop shipments for customers who don’t want to sell through a marketplace.

Dan Saks, AppDirect’s co-founder, President and co-CEO

Today, San Francisco-headquartered eCommerce platform provider AppDirect is kicking off their Engage 2019 Digital Economy, at the Fairmont Queen Victoria in Montreal. While this is the first time the company has held its event north of the border, Canada is a major component of their operations.

“This is the first time we have held the event in Canada,” said Dan Saks, AppDirect’s co-founder, President and co-CEO. “Until now, it has been held in San Francisco  every other year.

Saks is Canadian, from Niagara Falls Ontario, and he said the experience of his family’s furniture store in Niagara Falls, which operated for almost a century, was an important factor in the decision to found AppDirect.

“They were forced to shut down in 2008 because of a lack of technology to compete against big chains like Leon’s and The Brick,” he said. “When we founded the company, our vision was to make technology accessible globally. The idea was to help smaller businesses be competitive.”

Aside from its Canadian co-founder, the company has always had a strong Canadian presence.

“Bell as our first customer, and we launched in the Bell Business App store in 2011,” Saks said. “Canada has always been a great hub for talent for us. We acquired Ottawa’s jBilling in 2012, which became the core of our commerce platform. We have acquired three other Canadian companies since then. About half our team is in Canada.” Last year, the company pledged to add a further 300 Canadian jobs within the next five years, and confirmed they are on track to meet that.

“We have seen a strong acceleration of our base in Canada, including momentum and support for our channel in Canada,” Saks said. “Canada is a great market for cloud.”

AppDirect’s channel overall has grown very large.

“We traditionally implemented our platform to large enterprises, and now allow agents to sell it as well,” Sake said. “We have 10,000 agents – MSPs and VARs. VARs are evolving into MSPs because of the realization that going forward, everyone will be a digital service provider. Three to five years ago, people could still be comfortable in the old ways. Now they realize they need digital to be relevant. We empower the legacy channel to bring them into the cloud era.”

At Engage this year the company is making three major announcements, one of which is being announced today, with the other two coming tomorrow.

Today’s announcement is enabling the AppDirect platform to allow organizations to sell complete technology packages without the need to handle inventory, vendor onboarding or heavy integrations. New platform capabilities, including custom metered usage, configurable invoicing and order fulfillment extensions, let customers select drop shipping partners for hardware, accessories and other physical products. This is the first time this has been possible on the platform.

“We have traditionally launched marketplaces for companies to sell services to businesses, but some MSPs and VARs just wanted to sell things like Google Compute without a marketplace,” Saks said. “This lets them sell, and bill, without paying for a marketplace. It’s just a matter of preference, for people who want to sell that way.”

Other enhancements to the platform include flexible account structures, configurable procurement workflows, CPQ capabilities, dynamic customer segmentation, and guest checkout.