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February 9, 2024
Focusing on a segment of business that often gets overlooked by some of the more sizable market players, AWS wants to woo small and medium-size organizations to choose from its now 30 qualified partners certified via its recently launched SMB competency partner program.
Sendbird, CrowdStrike and 28 other companies are part of a network that Ben Schreiner, head of business innovation and go-to-market strategic sales for the cloud giant's U.S. business, said are all vetted to serve the distinctive requirements of SMBs.
"The focus is on helping customers grow by modernizing, optimizing and monetizing their business," Schreiner told Channel Futures.
AWS' Ben Schreiner
He also said that for those seeking a platform with scalability, stability and security at its core, choosing from one of its certified partners is the safest bet. Schreiner runs a team of senior technologists who he said are "empathetic to the challenges of running a SMB today.
"They are focused and customer-obsessed," asking the question, "What are the customers trying to do?"
He said these experts then point SMBs to the right technologies.
"We have more customers and more potential customers than we could imagine," he said. "And the channel is critical to our reach, with technology partners and system integrators playing a role in that ecosystem."
Furthermore, Schreiner noted how many partners also offer managed services to SMBs.
"We have a large team dedicated to partner development and co-selling with partners," he shared with Channel Futures.
Acting as a certification, Schreiner said this recognition shows that partners meet AWS standards for serving SMBs.
"We have over 130,000 partners on our marketplace, and if someone searches for a SMB-specific partner, it might be difficult to find the right partner that aligns with SMBs."
This certification, he told us, makes that search simpler by weeding out partners who do not solely focus their energies on the SMB segment. Schreiner said this is especially true because of the sheer volume of partners in its marketplace, emphasizing the AWS SMB competency program focuses on the select few who serve the SMB market.
In addition to gaining access to joint marketing materials and go-to-market strategies, Schreiner told us that the AWS SMB competency certification focuses on partner alignment.
"If we say the same things as our partners, our customers understand we are aligned, to make sure we are singing from the same page in the book," he said.
With free trials and fixed pricing, Schreiner thinks the AWS SMB competency certification is a no-brainer for partners and customers.
A McKinsey & Company survey of 3,500 SMBs found they regularly outspend large enterprises in most technology categories such as wireline, wireless, devices, and software.
While this is true, SMBs are feeling the impacts of the current economic climate, the survey also found.
"We found that 37% of SMB owners cite inflation as their biggest challenge — the highest percentage in 40 years," the survey's authors write.
And one in five respondents said they expect growth to be slow, calling attracting the right talent a "challenge." Schreiner believes that for partners, there is a great deal of promise in this sector, and the numbers seem to support that notion as well.
"We're looking to deliver exceptional results to this end of the market," Schreiner told us.
He added that the first 30 partners in the AWS SMB competency program are just the first wave.
"We will add more partners with dedicated resources and solutions focused on SMBs," he said.
Contributing Editor, Channel Futures
Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.
As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.
Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.
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