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Partners plan for AWS Solution Provider Program launch

Channel partners look forward to differentiating through new AWS competencies around IoT, containers, machine learning and blockchain.

Partners are reacting positively to the announcement by Amazon Web Services that it is refreshing its channel reseller program in 2018 to include more incentives, AWS competencies and a new tiered structure. The program has also been rebranded as the AWS Solution Provider Program.

We believe this change will have a net-positive impact overall in our ability to provide more value to our customers, while being able to capture greater opportunity versus risk.
Keith ArcherCOO, Reliam

The move by the cloud giant, revealed at its 2017 re:Invent conference, "appears to be a positive overall change to a very simplistic reseller model that didn't distinguish between capabilities or competencies while providing additional tiered incentives and support," said Keith Archer, COO at Reliam, a Los Angeles-based managed cloud services provider. "We believe this change will have a net-positive impact overall in our ability to provide more value to our customers, while being able to capture greater opportunity versus risk."

Rackspace, a managed cloud provider headquartered in Windcrest, Texas, is often involved in contract negotiations between its customers and AWS, said Sara Doyle, the company's strategic alliance manager. Enterprise agreements and enterprise discount programs "can be complex to navigate through," she noted. "With the promise of more leeway in these negotiations, it can mean faster time to onboarding for our customers and AWS."

Andy Jassy at AWS re:Invent
Andy Jassy at re:Invent 2017 session.

Differentiating through AWS competencies

Reliam wants to grow into a Premier-level partner role and expand its AWS relationships across services, AWS competencies and verticals, Archer said. "We are also looking to actively partner directly with AWS regionally and nationally to engage and support customers looking for greater depth of service and expertise in support of their cloud endeavors."

Franz Karlsberger, global head of strategic technology alliances and ecosystems at Dynatrace, an application performance management firm based in Waltham, Mass., said the company will be looking to strengthen its partnership with AWS this year, including taking advantage of the new programs, he said.

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"AWS Marketplace is an especially interesting channel for Dynatrace," he said. "It gives our customers [and] prospects a seamless, user-friendly experience deploying application performance monitoring on AWS," he said, by "reducing some of the steps usually involved in the procurement, deployment and billing of SaaS [software as a service] solutions."

New AWS competencies around IoT, containers, machine learning and blockchain will be a key differentiator for Dynatrace, which is constantly investing in those areas, Karlsberger added.

Rackspace will also focus on obtaining additional AWS competencies in networking and machine learning and expanding its enterprise customer portfolio in the coming year, Doyle said. "By attaining AWS competencies, we are able to easily show our value as the AWS experts for our customers."

Who will benefit from AWS Solution Provider Program?

The partners that stand to benefit the most from the AWS Solution Provider Program are those that are serious about working with AWS and hold key competencies or services like managed service partner or DevOps partner, Archer said. "Those partners that can successfully attain [new] competencies will benefit the most, and be able to take advantage of all the opportunities the program provides."

Doyle thinks AWS reseller and SaaS provider partners will see the greatest benefits. The resellers will benefit from the leniency on contract terms, she said, and SaaS providers with the extension of AWS PrivateLink.

The new and improved AWS Solution Provider Program is a step in the right direction, Doyle said. "Any updates or revamping of the AWS partner programs [are] crucial for AWS customers, since the marketplace for tools and services on AWS aid in providing top-level support for the AWS community. By continuing to better enable their partners, AWS is also driving success for their customers."

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