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AWS - Managing an ever-changing channel ecosystem

Chris Player | Dec. 19, 2016
A partner finder is designed to make it easier for customers to access partners with expertise in specific disciplines or verticals

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is adding new partners at an alarming rate, with the public cloud provider growing its channel by 10,000 during the last year alone.

Yet crucially, the AWS ecosystem is made up of a variety of partners, including independent software vendors (ISVs), global system integrators (GSIs), born-in-the-cloud providers, consultants and managed services providers to name a few.

So how does a global vendor keep pace with the diverse needs of such a rapidly growing partner base?

AWS global partner program general manager, Dorothy Copeland, is charged with designing and running the company’s channel programme, and sat down with ARN at re:Invent 2016 to discuss her approach to delivering outcomes for such a wide variety of partners.

"Generally, with all of our programmes there is a global vision and we will work with geographies to make sure it aligns with them,” she explained.

Copeland said that as partners span numerous disciplines, it remains important to instil a local touch that is primarily customer focused, in conjunction with an overarching global vendor strategy.

Copeland used the vendor’s new partner solution finder - which is a revamp of the company's existing partner directory - as a recent example, with the new system developed in conjunction with customers and partners, ensuring better cloud outcomes on both sides.

In short, the finder is designed to make it easier for customers to be able to access partners with expertise in specific disciplines or verticals.

"Part of that is structuring programmes with a lot of partners which we are already working with and making it easier for customers to find them," she explained.

"You can see a lot of that from the beginning when we created our customer programmes, we have been very customer centric. We have wanted to make sure partners are adding value on AWS and helping customers with the adoption of cloud."

In a local context, AWS head of channels and alliances A/NZ, Stefan Jansen, added that while these are global initiatives, close collaboration always exists with the local teams and partners for validation of the initiatives and targets set.

"Government is a good example," he explained. "We wanted to see that those partners do have experience in working with government by being on procurement panels for example, so that validation is always something we collaborate closely on."

The problem with tiering

In a cloud world, Copeland acknowledged that traditional tiering doesn't always outline to the customer what a particular partner is skilled in, creating channel confusion as a result.

Andy Jassy - CEO, AWS


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