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AWS Partners Flooded with New Capabilities, Opportunities at re:Invent

Channel head Doug Yeum introduced services, competencies and more ways for the channel to team with the cloud provider.

Kelly Teal

December 4, 2020

7 Min Read
CEO Andy Jassy during keynote at AWS reInvent 2020
Amazon Web Services

Pictured above: CEO Andy Jassy delivers his keynote to AWS partners at re:Invent 2020.

Amazon Web Services continues to beef up the Amazon Partner Network with more services, capabilities and competencies.

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AWS’ Doug Yeum

Doug Yeum, head of Global Partner Organization, spent much of Thursday morning giving ISVs, consultants, SaaS providers and other AWS partners insight into the new launches. And, as appears to be tradition, he sat down with the vendor’s CEO, Andy Jassy, for a conversation about the channel.

At the outset, though, Yeum praised partners for navigating a difficult year punctuated by COVID-19 and the changes it has forced.

“It’s been impressive how so many partners have responded and rose to the challenge when needed,” he said.

Many of those partners understand that speed has been essential, Yeum added. They have moved faster than ever to help customers implement cloud platforms as prompted by the pandemic.

“Having a sense of urgency is important,” he said.

ISVs and SaaS providers really stepped up, Yeum said. This year, perhaps more than in years past, they integrated AWS services into their own platforms. That boosted differentiation and service levels, and made life easier for end users.

“Interoperability and integration are critical,” Yeum said.

To that end, Yeum embarked on a keynote replete with AWS announcements. Of the more than a dozen releases, several stand out.

What AWS Partners Need to Know

First, partners may earn competencies in new areas including mainframe migration, energy, and travel and hospitality. Look for availability to open early next year.

Second, ISVs now may take part in two new programs. The first is AWS ISV Partner Path, which removes APN tier requirements. Any AWS partner with software that runs on or is integrated with AWS may join, starting in January. ISV Partner Path retains ISVs’ eligibility for other AWS programs, even as it removes some barriers to entry.

“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,” Yeum said.

ISVs will gain access to AWS marketing resources, training discounts and the new AWS ISV Accelerate Program. That initiative gives ISVs co-sell support and benefits such as reduced AWS Marketplace listing fees. AWS aims to help partners reach customers already working with AWS.

“We will continue to invest significantly here to continue moving the needle for our ISV partners,” Yeum said.

Meanwhile, Current Technology Partners with software solutions running on or integrated with AWS will be moved into AWS ISV Partner Path as of January. Consulting partners with software components also may join the program without impacting their designations, AWS said.

“We will now be able to support AWS consulting partners who are increasingly going to market with their own solutions,” Yeum said.

Next, AWS is enhancing the AWS Marketplace to accommodate not only third-party software, but also partners’ professional services. That’s a big deal. Customers no longer have to go through separate processes to procure tools and associated help with planning, deployment, and support. The company also released a range of tools, including APIs for Private Marketplace, the AWS Foundational Technical Review Lens, the AWS SaaS Factory Insights Hub and more.

Finally, AWS said it is expanding the benefits within the APN Global Startup Program. Recall that this initiative helps startups become “enterprise ready” by providing increased, proscriptive benefits and more resources. Candidates must have raised Series A or later funding from a top venture capital fund; have an innovative enterprise technology solution running on AWS with at least one product in general availability; and an executive team committed to AWS.

For instance, participants who pass specific reviews may join the aforementioned ISV Accelerate Program. Others – data providers, specifically – may take advantage of new integration and onboarding support for AWS Data Exchange. They’ll have access to $15,000 in AWS credits, co-selling assistance and certain exclusive marketing opportunities. AWS also is making it easier for startups to list on AWS Marketplace.

Digital Transformation ‘An Incredible Opportunity’

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AWS’ Andy Jassy

Amazon’s annual Global Partner Summit doesn’t just serve as a platform for new announcements. It also gives the channel chief time to sit down with CEO Jassy to talk about developments and trends. To that end, Jassy told Yeum he sees digital transformation as “the single biggest opportunity” for partners.

“So many enterprises need help and want help in…

…doing these big transformations,” Jassy said. “It’s just an incredible opportunity for system integrators and our partners.”

The time to jump on that demand is now, he added, given how COVID-19 has underscored the efficacy of cloud technologies.

“Look at Snowflake,” Jassy said. “It’s maybe the most successful IPO in the history of IPOs.”

On the whole, Jassy advised partners to build “compelling customer experience” as they guide transformation efforts.

“I think partners will have a very big impact on how our customers reinvent themselves,” he said.

Partners React

Given the breadth and depth of news coming out of the AWS Global Partner Summit, some partners had immediate reactions.

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AllCloud’s Eran Gil

AllCloud is an AWS Premier partner focused on services. CEO Eran Gil told Channel Futures he was excited to see that many of Thursday’s announcements apply to his company and others similar to it. Often, AWS places a lot of emphasis on the ISV sector. Gil said two pieces of news hit the right notes on the services side.

The first was executives’ discussion of the SaaS competency, promoted alongside the release of SaaS Boost. (That’s a new, open-source tool for developers to transform existing apps into SaaS products, AWS says.)

AWS actually opened the SaaS competency earlier this year. But, Gil said, “it didn’t get the attention it deserved due to COVID-19.”

“This competency embodies something that is at the core of our own business, which is the belief that every customer, whether in traditional industries or tech, should view the journey to the cloud holistically and comprehensively,” Gil said. “To see this further embraced and promoted by AWS is great. … As a founding and launch partner for the AWS SaaS Competency we see this announcement as a gamechanger for those organizations looking to SaaSify.”

On a general note, AWS’s emphasis on vertical competencies is smart, Gil said. (Recall the new additions: energy, mainframe migration, and travel and hospitality.)

“Customer obsession is key for AWS and we firmly believe specialization … will not only allow customers to choose the right consulting partner for their cloud journey, but to have the power to accelerate their time to market and improve their AWS return on investment,” he said.

Gil also hailed the addition of consulting partners’ services and solutions to the AWS Marketplace. This, he said, “completely opens up how AWS customers can interact and engage with consulting partners. For the first time, AWS customers can find services offerings in a manner that is similar to how they work with ISV and SaaS partners, which is a true gamechanger.”

For its part, AllCloud already has put its Landing Zone platform into the AWS Marketplace.

All in all, AWS remains on the right track, partners say. For Tim Varma of Syntax, AWS’s hybrid cloud strategy represents the way to go. Syntax is an MSP that targets SAP users and also is an Amazon Advanced Consulting Partner.

“I’m … seeing a large focus on hybrid cloud, or extending AWS to the customer,” Varma, global director of product management at Syntax, told Channel Futures. “Smaller Outpost instances will make it much easier for AWS adoption,” he said, referring to news from earlier this week that Outpost equipment will now come in small servers to fit into tight spaces.

“As an AWS partner, the message to Syntax was clear that we have to continue innovate on AWS to differentiate and stand out in the cloud market,” Varma said.

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CloudCheckr’s Jeff Valentine

Jeff Valentine, CTO of CloudCheckr, an AWS Advanced Technology Partner, agreed.

“AWS has broadened but dramatically simplified the definition of ‘hybrid cloud’,” he told Channel Futures. “Hybrid is any edge location, one of which could be a data center, but many other options [as well]. Last year’s re:Invent wasn’t an anomaly – AWS’s commitment to the edge, and hybrid more broadly, is here to stay.”

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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