Amazon Web Services is considering new partner “paths”—in addition to its current ISV Partner Path—to make it easier for its partner ecosystem to work with the cloud computing provider.
“We have a very diverse group of partners in the AWS Partner Network, so we’re trying to make sure that we look for opportunities to streamline the experience for [them] through potentially new partner paths,” AWS Channel Chief Doug Yeum told CRN. “We have an opportunity to really help these different types of partners have a more personalized or customized experience when they engage with AWS.”
AWS confirmed it had more than 100,000 partners in 150-plus countries in its AWS Partner Network as of December 2020. Nearly 70 percent of its partners have headquarters outside the U.S., showing AWS’ global presence as the industry’s largest public cloud provider.
New AWS partner paths could be targeted at MSPs, distribution partners and hardware vendors, according to Yeum, head of worldwide channels and alliances.
AWS is starting to offer more solutions that require software and some of its software development kits to be embedded into hardware, Yeum said, citing initiatives around IoT, AWS Outposts and machine learning (ML) with AWS Panorama edge devices.
“So you could potentially see us having a partner path for hardware partners who are working with AWS,” he said.
Partner speed is among three areas of focus for Yeum this year along with partner differentiation and growth.
“We just know that partners, when they work with us … want to be able to get the support that they need as quickly as possible,” Yeum said.
In January, AWS launched the ISV Partner Path to make it easier for independent software vendors (ISVs) to build, market and sell their solutions on the AWS cloud. All existing ISVs in AWS’ technology partner category have been transitioned to the new program.
“We also got rid of the tiers for the ISV partners,” Yeum said. “Now, if you’re interested in selling with us, then you just have to meet the requirements that are relevant for that selling program. Or, if you want to get additional support from us around enablement or differentiation, then we have specific requirements for those programs.”
The ISV Partner Path also is open to AWS Consulting Partners who offer their own software solutions, and they can participate without impacting their AWS Select, Advanced or Premier tier consulting statuses.
“I think now our partners feel like they can move faster, especially some of the smaller and some of the newer partners who are just engaging us,” Yeum said. “We don’t put in a huge ramp-up time for them to start getting things from us. As soon as you come in, we help you understand exactly what you’re looking for from AWS, and then we help them design the right path to getting and achieving their business outcome. And, along the way, if they have to participate in any specific programs, then we tell them, ‘OK, for you to participate in that program, here are things that you’ve got to do.’”
Here is what Yeum told CRN about partners differentiating with AWS competencies, ISV Accelerate updates, cloud-first systems integrators and SMB customer opportunities for partners.
AWS competencies and partner differentiation
To help partners further differentiate themselves with customers, AWS launched its new AWS Mainframe Migration Competency with two partner categories in March.
The Mainframe Migration technology/ISV partners category recognizes AWS partners with proven technology and customer success in migrating mainframe applications and data to AWS. The Mainframe Migration consulting partners category recognizes partners with mature practices and track records of successful mainframe workload migrations.
“Differentiation … continues to be a very, very important area for us in terms of what we think will help our partners be successful with customers,” Yeum said. “Migrating mainframe applications can be quite difficult, and customers are looking for partners who have long-established experience and methodologies and tools to make sure that the mainframe application can be successfully modernized on AWS.”
The new competency debuted with a number of ISV and systems integrator (SI) launch partners, including Deloitte, which was the only partner to receive both the consulting and the technology competency from AWS. Technology launch partners also included Advanced (formerly Modern Systems), Blue Age, Micro Focus and The Software Revolution Inc. (TSRI). The other consulting competency launch partners were Accenture, Atos, Cognizant, DXC Technology, HCL Technologies, Infosys, NTT Data, Tata Consultancy Services and Wipro.
AWS also debuted its new High Performing Computing Competency in March for partners that provide technology offerings in areas including high-performance engineering simulation solvers, HPC workload management, high-throughput computing and foundational HPC technology.
“You need a lot of computing power to do HPC effectively, and we had a number of partners who play an important role in this space,” Yeum said. “We think this HPC Competency is going to be very important for a lot of these customers in the manufacturing space, in the automotive space, in the research and development space for life sciences.”
Intel and Nvidia were the HPC Competency foundational technology launch partners. Those partners provide enabling technologies such as central processing units, hardware accelerators and operating systems for customers to run their HPC workloads on AWS.
HPC Competency application launch partners, which provide software solutions for workloads such as computational fluid dynamics and molecular, reservoir or weather modeling, were CFD Direct, OnScale, OpenEye Scientific, S-Cube, Seqera Labs and Siemens. HPC management launch partners were Core Scientific, Rescale, Ronin, Scala Computing, Total CAE and Zenotech. Those partners offer a fully managed cloud HPC environment and provide end-to-end cluster provisioning, deployment, management and support for customers to deploy HPC workloads on AWS.
AWS also expanded its Machine Learning Competency in March to include applied artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning operations (MLOps) categories.
“Having these two additional ones was important,” Yeum said. “For applied AI, a lot of customers want to leverage the number of different AI services that we have, but they’re looking for partners to help them bring together the services and solve a business problem—so basically developing the right value-added application leveraging these AWS services.”
MLOps partners understand and have expertise in creating CI/CD solutions for ML models.
“It’s these are partners who understand how to manage the entire data life cycle, including data lake creation, automated data pre-processing, deployment in the cloud, machine learning-specific rules and processes for model deployment,” Yeum said.
AWS continues to invest more in ISV Accelerate, its program that aligns sales teams from AWS and ISVs for co-selling support.
“The ISV Accelerate Program continues to grow rapidly in terms of the number of wins that we are providing our partners,” Yeum said. “And we’re investing more into ISV Accelerate, and we’re on-boarding additional ISVs into that program, including a number of very important startups who are doing a lot of work with us.”
Those startups include Seattle’s Amperity, which has an enterprise customer data platform; Braze, a New York-based startup with a customer engagement platform; and Boston- and Tel Aviv, Israel-based Logz.io, which provides monitoring for containers.
“These are some really rapidly growing partners, and we’re helping them a lot right now with their go to market and co-selling,” Yeum said. “If you speak with some of our startups, they will say that AWS is providing real, significant, needle-moving business growth for them by introducing the startups into our enterprise customers.”
Cloud-first SIs and SMB customer opportunities
Yeum said he’s excited about the progress of SI partners leveraging AWS to transform their companies from on-premises to cloud-first business models, citing Germany’s T-Systems, France’s Orange Business Services and Spain’s Everis.
“These partners are saying, ‘Hey, we want to continue to evolve, we want to continue to transform,’ and we’re making significant investments in them, and they’re making reciprocal investments in AWS,” Yeum said.
Yeum also sees a lot of opportunity for partner growth around SMBs. Many SMB customers are looking to transform and grow their businesses by leveraging the power of the cloud and technology in general, he said.
“They need support, probably more so than large enterprise customers, because they just don’t have the necessary IT or technology-enabled resources inside the organization,” Yeum said. “They have traditionally worked closely with, for example, large distributors who have their second-tier partners. We think through working with Ingram [Micro] and Tech Data, as well as other distributors, that we’re going to be able to support a lot of SMB customers in their migration journey to the cloud.”
In March, AWS unveiled a new strategic collaboration agreement under which Ingram Micro Cloud will help expand AWS’ footprint in existing geographic markets and new ones in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Association of Southeast Asian Nations member countries. Ingram Micro Cloud plans to increase AWS adoption with emerging ISVs and promote greater adoption of AWS solutions with SMB customers through the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace. The companies also plan new resources to support channel partners in managing end customers.