CenturyLink Embraces Tough New AWS MSP Requirements

There's now a greater emphasis on oversight and customer satisfaction.

Jeffrey Burt

February 15, 2019

4 Min Read
Checklist with green pen

CenturyLink’s David Shacochis doesn’t see anything shocking or unusual in the new and more stringent requirements put forward by Amazon Web Services that managed service providers have to meet if they want to stay in the giant cloud provider’s MSP Partner Program.

AWS this week announced the latest version (4.0) of the program’s Validation Checklist, which puts an enhanced emphasis on oversight and customer satisfaction. The update is designed to ensure that MSPs have high-quality programs in place and that they deliver the value customers are looking for, they said.

“The traditional MSP business model is rapidly evolving,” AWS wrote in a blog. “Customers are demanding comprehensive cloud-native solutions that reduce costs, improve business agility, increase security and empower organizations to focus on their goals.”

They added that the “changes will allow for a clearer demonstration of your organization’s proven success with customers while highlighting the exceptional value that AWS MSP Partners can deliver.”

That’s as it should be, according to Shacochis, vice president of product management with telecommunications giant CenturyLink.


CenturyLink’s David Shacochis

“It is completely unsurprising that AWS aims to raise the bar on its managed service providers, as we are all looking to drive customer success in the cloud,” he told Channel Futures. “When innovating at cloud velocity, standing still means falling behind.”

CenturyLink became an AWS MSP partner in August, a move Shacohis said at the time was significant.

“We stand to gain because this is a global certification that carries a significant cache in the market and with our joint customers. It also validates our approach to cloud, especially with regard to our multicloud management platform that we call Cloud Application Manager,” he said.

Cloud Application Manager is designed to make it easier for enterprises to migrate to the cloud through automated application deployments and give them the ability to optimize costs, scale workloads and manage connections across disparate operating environments.

AWS, the world’s largest cloud provider, created the MSP Program for customers to find AWS Partner Network (APN) members to help them move and manage their AWS workloads into a fully managed environment. With the latest checklists, AWS must now review and approve MSP programs. In addition, MSP customer references now must include either new customers or new engagement with existing customers that have occurred in the previous year and a half.

“Either way, customers involved in public references must be consuming managed services from the APN Partners or AWS, and they must have been running on those services for at least six months,” AWS wrote in the blog.

AWS also is implementing an annual performance-renewal process, including a review of such mandatory requirements as five launched opportunities in the year leading up to the annual renewal. Those include managed services and that the MSP remains its status at the APN advanced or premiere tier.

Shachochis said the requirements around customer references were positive moves.

“Examples of customer success are critical when advising new opportunities,” he said. “We’re glad to see AWS further emphasizing new business and new logos to maintain MSP status.”

In an interview during AWS’ re:Invent 2018 show in November (see below), Shachochis spoke about the high bar AWS puts its MSP partners through in order for them to get into the MSP Partner Program and the demands they have to ensure that the partners can help customers design, plan, orchestrate and migrate workloads, adopt next-generation technologies like predictive analytics and big data to augment management practices, and help customers be as efficient as possible as they adopt AWS services.

“It’s a significant exercise to go through,” he said. “It really made our services better. … That’s a great example of AWS being customer-focused by making sure that the partners they want to work with can hit a certain level to be able to drive that value for their end customers.”

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