AWS Summit London: Amazon on channel charm offensive

At its London partner and customer summit, Amazon Web Services presents itself not as a threat to channel businesses but as means by which channel businesses can evolve to meet growing cloud demand from customers

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has spoken of its desire to engage more closely with channel consultancies and integrators, and hit out at its detractors, at AWS Summit 2014 in London.

In recent months a growing number of cloud platform providers have been going on the offensive, talking up ‘Amazon-busting’ features and painting the cloud giant as a channel unfriendly organisation.

While AWS does not, according to UK and Ireland director Iain Gavin, see itself as a good fit for those who just want to resell a cloud platform, born-in-the-cloud integrators and those prepared to invest and evolve into the cloud to target enterprise customers could benefit from exploring a relationship with the firm.

It enhanced its existing channel network last year, adding more technical partner support capabilities, market development funds and lead generation, and it is now seeking to widen the number of partners it does business with.

Speaking to MicroScope, Gavin said it was relying on the channel more and more to bring potential customers to AWS’ door thanks to the “credibility, value and track record” already established by the channel with enterprise client bases.

Pontus Noren, director and co-founder at AWS partner CloudReach, said that major vendors were “struggling to find their way” in the face of rapidly evolving procurement models and cloud growth, and said that this was having a knock-on effect on partners and would potentially drive more towards AWS.

“But it is not easy for partners to change track either. It’s not as simple as just ditching HP, for example because selling AWS is very different in terms of processes,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how it plays out.”

Neil Miles, managing director at KCOM Group-owned smart421, whose business made the transition over to Amazon three years ago said prospective AWS partners would need to “whole-heartedly commit to a different model,” that required a different way of thinking across the board.

“We’re very much about value-added solutions and we identified AWS as a market leader in terms of cloud services,” said Miles. “For us it’s about creating value for our clients – at our heart we’re a professional services business and we help customers adopt best-of-breed solutions. A solution built upon the AWS platform creates a lot of value.”

Noren added: “The value for us is transparency.  Because the relationship has full support from and access to the capabilities of AWS it presents real value.”

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