AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Achieving APN Tier Compliance by Meeting the Requirement for Public References 

By Ryan Cauthron, Sr. APN Program Manager at AWS

AWS Partner NetworkOn April 1, 2019, the AWS Partner Network (APN) announced updates to the overall APN program, which included updated APN tier requirements. One of those requirements focuses on the identification of publicly referenceable customers.

Customer references are consistently recognized by successful APN Partners as one of the top reasons they are selected by net-new customers.

References give you the opportunity to highlight previous successes and demonstrate how your organization can solve current business challenges for Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers.

In this post, I will cover the ways in which your organization can identify a publicly referenceable customer, the various public asset options available, and how you can track and manage your progress toward compliance against this requirement in APN Partner Central.

What Qualifies as a Public Reference?

The APN’s renewed approach to publicly referenceable customers includes a range of options and improved flexibility for organizations. Achieving compliance may be easier than you think.

Many APN Partners have found they can leverage assets they already have in place to meet this customer-focused requirement while they work to identify future referenceable workloads and customers.

Case Studies

Case studies are considered by our most successful APN Partners to be the highest value referenceable asset you can make available to a potential customer. Case studies can either be self-authored or co-authored with AWS.

We have seen great examples of APN Partners creating unique case studies, leveraging case study templates available in APN Marketing Central, or providing website links that focus on customer success stories.

Other Approved Assets

Case studies are not the only option available to your organization when providing a link to a publicly referenceable asset. Other approved assets include news articles, blog posts, videos, customer quotes, and a page on your website featuring customer logos.

What we care about most when approving references is that your entry clearly indicates the relationship between your organization and the AWS customer, by name, as well as a reference to the AWS-based workload that was delivered.

Download the recently-updated 2019 APN Tier Requirements Guide for additional guidance on publicly available assets you can submit.

Submitting a Public Reference

APN Consulting and Technology Partners at the Select tier and above are required to submit public references per the updated APN tier requirements. The following table outlines the number of public references for each tier.


Once you have identified a referenceable customer, the process for submitting that customer as a public reference has been streamlined to reduce the amount of time, effort, and impact to your organization.

We now provide two simplified ways to submit public references within APN Partner Central.

APN Public References Tool

Your organization’s Alliance Lead can submit a publicly referenceable customer via the Public References Tool in APN Partner Central.

  • Log in to APN Partner Central.
  • Go to View My APN Account.
  • Scroll down to the Public References Tool.
  • Select New and complete the required fields. Click Save.

ACE Pipeline Manager

Previously launched opportunities can be designated as publicly referenceable via the ACE Pipeline Manager.

The APN Customer Engagements (ACE) platform provides you with resources, tools, and the sales and technical support to ensure you are supported in driving meaningful engagements with AWS customers.

  • Log in to APN Partner Central.
  • Go to the My Customers tab.
  • Click into a previously launched opportunity from your list of customers.
  • Select the Public Reference tab.
  • Complete the required fields and click Save.

Both of these methods asks you to provide a few details about your referenceable customer, such as customer name, public reference title, and public reference URL.

Creating Compelling Titles for Your References

We understand you may deliver multiple workloads for your customers. To recognize these efforts with new and existing customers, it’s important to the take advantage of the public reference title field. This allows you to differentiate between various workloads you’ve delivered and want to reference publicly for the same customer.

Examples of informative public reference titles include: “DevOps and Cloud Culture Drive Velocity in Retail,” and “Introducing Serverless to Optimize Cost with Everyday Applications.”

Watch the APN Partner Central Overview video on submitting publicly referenceable customers for a step-by-step walk through of the submission process.

Tracking Your Organization’s Progress

After logging into APN Partner Central, your Alliance Lead can track the count of publicly referenceable customers from the Partner Scorecard Overview.


Publicly referenceable customers submitted via the ACE platform are instantly reflected in your Partner Scorecard. References submitted via the Public References Tool are reviewed for approval within five (5) business days.

Best Practices for Capturing Public References

  • Identify existing case studies, blog posts, news articles, or logo pages that can be leveraged as references.
  • Work with your sales team to identify potential customers that might act as a great customer reference.
  • Review contractual language for updates that might open the door to future reference opportunities.
  • Work with your APN representative to explore additional options for public references, and referenceable assets.

Next Steps

Contact your APN representative with any additional questions you might have about public reference options, or issues related to public reference submissions.

Here are a few quick links to help you get started: