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AWS rolls out fresh programmes and competencies

Cloud giant uses partner slot at Re:Invent to share its ambition to support ISVs and give partners the chance to gain more competencies

AWS has shone the spotlight on partners at its Re:Invent conference with the cloud giant keen to reach out to ISVs, encouraging public sector partners to gain certifications and making it easier for MSPs to add services as an expense in its marketplace.

The vendor kicked off its Re:Invent conference earlier this week with CEO Andrew Jassy using a three-hour keynote to take the wraps off 27 new services and talk of the need for leadership at a time when many customers are reinventing their businesses.

That was followed by the partner slot with Doug Yeum, head of global partner organisation at AWS, joined by several colleagues, including Jassy, to put the latest developments through the lens of partners.

Yeum highlighted the reinvention that was taking place at a customer and partner level and that it required strong leadership, which was being shown by its consulting partners.

“The leaders of these companies play an extremely important role,” he said. “These leaders have strong conviction about the cloud and big, audacious goals for their companies.”

Yeum added that as well as leadership, the other feature required in the channel was speed, with the pandemic underlining how quickly transformation was taking place.

“Speed matters a lot right now,” he said. “Having a sense of urgency is important. Fortunately, I’m seeing more partners moving faster this year than ever before.”

Yeum said AWS had seen some of its partners double-down on their commitment to the vendor growing their cloud practices, and it would reciprocate that investment.

“In return, AWS is making big investments into these partners to help them with their transformation journeys,” he said. “Our goal is to help our partners to maximise the value of their existing assets, their customer relationships, their deep industry experience and their unique offerings to deliver differentiated value to their customers. We will help our partners become better prepared for the future.”

To support that ambition, the keynote included announcements around a series of new AWS competencies and the expansion of the existing Marketplace offerings.

The firm launched the AWS SaaS (software as a service) competency earlier this year and has 27 partners signed up. It has extended that with the launch of AWS SaaS Boost, which is designed to help partners guide those customers that are yet to adopt the as-a-service model.

Importance of ISVs

Programmes like AWS SaaS Boost are designed with one eye on the ISV community and it was one of several carrots dangled to attract independent software vendors.

“The open source nature of this code can be adopted as it is or a developer may choose to modify it to fit their own requirements,” said Yeum. “I’m really excited to see how SaaS Boost will be used by ISVs to accelerate their application development.

“It’s really gratifying for all of us at AWS to see that the support we’re providing our ISV partners is leading to higher business growth – higher growth is what our partners ultimately want. And this is where we can really help our ISV partners who want access to the millions of active customers using AWS.”

Yeum said AWS had also listened to the ISV community and had looked at the various programmes it had rolled out for them over the years and saw the chance to take a slightly different approach.

“As we continue to look for ways to add more value, we saw an opportunity to be more prescriptive to help our ISV partners achieve their desired business outcomes faster,” he said.

This has led to the launch of the AWS ISV partner pack, which makes it easier for ISVs and SaaS providers to access tailored programmes and benefits.

AWS will now give ISVs access to a range of benefits, including funding and sandbox credits, without the need to meet tier base requirements.

“With the ISV partner pack, we’re moving away from badging a partner as select or advanced using tier requirements, and instead we’ll start badging individual solutions from our partners,” said Yeum. “We recognise that many ISVs have multiple solutions.”

The partner pack, which will be launched next month, will also cover consulting channel partners that are going to market with their own solutions.

Adding services to the Marketplace

For ISVs, one of the main attractions of a relationship with AWS is the ability to sell on the vendor’s Marketplace and reach a wide audience, with the firm revealing it now has more than 300,000 active buyers on the platform.

Dave McCann, vice-president, migration, marketplace and control services at AWS, said the vendor had continued to enlarge its base with 200 new ISVs offering their IP on the platform, and it was looking for more.

The main announcement from McCann, which will catch the eye of MSPs in particular, was the addition of third-party professional services to AWS Marketplace.

“Software very often comes with professional services and, until now, we’ve asked the customer to subscribe for the software, and then separately, outside of Marketplace, subscribe for the professional services,” he said.

“Marketplace is releasing support for professional services as an offer type in the Marketplace service. What this means is that a corporation or a government entity can contract both for the software and for the services associated with the implementation of that software, and both can be done through the mechanism that is AWS Marketplace.”

AWS is welcoming that feature with a number of launch partners, with 100 providers of professional services now selling across the platform.

Public sector

With a fair number of public sector customers using AWS, the public cloud giant is also keen to get partners in that market skilled up in more areas.

Sandy Carter, vice-president, global public sector partners and programs at AWS, said competencies gave partners the chance to “showcase your speciality” and it was introducing more.

“Our customers seek out partners who have developed deep expertise and skills with use cases, industry and workloads,” she said. “AWS has created a wide range of competencies here and they include things like industry, retail and healthcare, use cases, IoT [internet of things], machine learning, security, and those workloads on AWS, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle.”

Adding to those would be a mainframe migration competency, but there were also specialist competencies that were specific to certain industries, she added.

Carter pointed to AWS’s public safety and disaster response competency and how it had appealed to partners that specialised in that area. She said it wanted to go further and would be adding more that responded to customer needs.

“Energy companies around the world are accelerating their technology adoption to help them reduce capital and operating expenses and to minimise their carbon footprint,” she said. “They are seeking out highly specialised companies to help them do this.”

Carter added that the energy comptency would be launched next year.

AWS also took the wraps off its travel and hospitality competency, starting with 27 partners across the globe.

Returning to the theme of reinvention, Jassy said partners had a crucial role to play in helping customers through their transformation journey.

“I think there are a lot of ways that partners can have real impact on enterprises being able to reinvent, positively or negatively,” he said. “It’s really up to you to figure out how to help those customers evolve in the right way.

“You need to have the willingness as a leadership team to invent and to reinvent to get to the truth of what’s working, what’s not and have the courage to make changes.”

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