Amazon Web Services has added networking to the list of competencies offered to its consulting partners as a way to help the cloud provider and its customers work with partners who have proven they have the networking skills needed to build the critical infrastructures the cloud requires.
AWS currently has about 30 competencies, some of which are aimed at ISV or technology partners, some at consulting partners and some at both, said Teresa Uthurralt, director of AWS partner network programs.
The company already has a networking competency for ISV and technology partners but felt the need to also offer one to its consulting partners, Uthurralt told CRN.
“Networking is a fundamental area for moving to the cloud,” she said. ”We’ve found that not all our partners have the right skills. So having a way to choose from partners who have been evaluated to have the right networking competency is very helpful to our customers.”
AWS’ competency programs are aimed at evaluating partners for their skills before they are hired by customers, Uthurralt said. The evaluation process includes validating partners’ skills and looking at their customer case study history, she said.
“Partners who get the competency can tell customers they have it,” she said. “This is a huge deal. They get a badge they can put on their site, and they get on the AWS Partner Solutions Finder list that customers can search. We have so many partners. Those with the right competencies are the ones that show up on the search.”
Partners with AWS-validated competencies also have access to marketing funds, VIP access to technology road maps and early access to AWS launches.
AWS currently has about 25 technology partners with networking competencies and launched its consulting partner networking competency program with about 16 partners, Uthurralt said.
One of those partners is Deft, a Chicago-based AWS-certified MSP that provides managed infrastructure solutions for small businesses to Fortune 500 companies such as SAP.
Chris Rechtsteiner, vice president of marketing for Deft, told CRN that getting AWS competencies are very important for channel partners.
“The AWS competencies highlight critical areas of success,” he said. “And the fact that the latest one is focused on networking is very important for how customers attach to the AWS platform and how it fits in their universe.”
Deft already had several AWS competencies around such areas as connectivity and visibility, and Rechtsteiner said networking brings everything together.
“This is AWS saying, ‘These will all work together,’” he said. “If you play in the AWS sandbox, you know the parts are all important, but it’s also important to bring them all together.”
Most competencies introduced by AWS are partner-focused because AWS wants customers to be able to pick and choose from the best, Rechtsteiner said.
The number of partners who receive certain competencies is limited, Uthurralt said.
“We expect the lists to grow over time,” she said. “But we’re not doing this on a mass scale. It’s an elite program for partners who are true experts in these areas.”