AWS enhances partner programs, launches new competencies

LAS VEGAS – Two new competencies, two new programs, and enhancements to several others took centre stage during the partner keynote at the Amazon Web Services (AWS) annual conference, re:Invent, as head of worldwide channel and alliances Doug (Dong Hoon) Yeum ran through new opportunities for partners.

Enterprises, he said, are looking for additional innovation that they can leverage in the cloud, and they’re looking to work with startups. AWS already has some programs for startups, but its newest offering is designed for mid- to late-stage startups in the enterprise space who may already have a product with customers but are looking for additional help from AWS to execute their go-to-market strategy.


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The AWS Partner Network (APN) Global Startup program is an invitation-only program designed for partners who meet a stringent set of criteria: They must have raised Series A funding or later and have a recommendation from a top venture capital fund, they must have at least one enterprise product generally available on AWS, and their executive team must be committed to engaging with AWS.

The program will provide a Partner Development Manager (PDM) as a primary point of contact, as well as support from AWS Startup Partner Solution Architects who will help the partner validate and optimize their products and technology architecture, give visibility among enterprise customers, and accelerate their go-to-market strategy to drive new business through access to AWS co-marketing resources, including webinars, press releases, blog posts, co-sponsored lead-generation campaigns, startup bootcamps, GTM workshops, customized AWS-led campaigns, events, and more. AWS will sponsor proof of concept and provide support from account managers as well as fast-tracking the launch of solutions in the AWS Marketplace. Yeum said that AWS has over 270 launch partners already in the program.

Doug Yeum, head of worldwide channel and alliances, AWS

He then moved on to the AWS Service Ready Program, which identifies and validates products from APN Technology Partners that integrate with specific AWS services to help companies find products compatible with specific AWS services. It is currently available for AWS PrivateLink and AWS Redshift, with Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) and AWS Lambda coming in early 2020. Partners can apply for validation on all four today; AWS is looking for feedback on which services should be added to the program next.

Yeum then moved on to competencies, highlighting the new retail competency that is open to consulting and technical partners providing solutions in one or more of seven areas: customer engagement, corporate merchandize and planning, retail supply chain and distribution, physical, digital and virtual store, advanced retail data science, and core retail business applications. Its benefits, like those for other competencies, include promotion on the service website and in Solutions Finder, as well as preferred access to market development funds and more.

The opportunity in the public sector is growing, noted Sandy Carter, vice-president, public sector partners and programs. AWS has over 7,000 customers in government, over 12,000 in education, and over 30,000 in the non-profit sector (including healthcare). In fact, she said, 60 per cent of APN partners have some sort of public sector practice. And while there are several programs and competencies already in place, the new AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response competency fills an important gap. It is open to APN Consulting Partners with proven success in helping customers implement secure, reliable, cloud-enabled offerings to enhance public safety and disaster response capabilities in one or more of three specialized categories: emergency management operations, data and analytics, and infrastructure resilience and recovery.

“It’s still Day One for public sector,” Carter noted. “If you’re part of the 40 per cent (who doesn’t have a public sector practice), come see me. Learn more about the programs we’ve built for you.”

While AWS builds services for all types of business, one area that Kelly Hartman, global head of APN, sees as underserved is the small business world. She sees a tremendous opportunity for technical and consulting partners in building SaaS offerings for that area.

“I haven’t seen many partners say they’re specializing in small business,” she noted. “Partners should look at customer size and geos as ways to specialize.”

Those can be, for example, areas with specific language requirements (like Quebec, where she said partner growth is strong) or where there are regulatory requirements such as GDPR.

“Differentiation can be difficult at times,” Yeum said. “It’s going to require an investment. It’s going to require new skills.”

“As you continue to drive innovation on behalf of your customers, APN has to evolve and get better and innovate on behalf of our partners,” he concluded. “Our partners are our customers. We will apply the same rigorous approach that we use in product development to come up with very innovative programs to help you succeed. I urge you, think big and push us.”

Lynn Greiner attended re:Invent as a guest of AWS. Her travel and lodgings were covered by AWS, but the company did not review this story prior to publication.

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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree

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