AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

AWS Partner Differentiation Programs Help You Find the Right Partner for the Right Job

By Kathryn Martini, Sr. Product Manager, Benefits – AWS

AWS Partner Network

The AWS Partner Network (APN) is the global community of partners who leverage Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build solutions and services for customers.

With more than 100,000 AWS Partners across the globe, how do you find the right partner for the right job?

AWS Partner differentiation programs help customers find a short list of trusted cloud partners with diverse expertise whose knowledge, services, and solutions have been validated by AWS.

There are four APN programs that provide technical validation based on AWS services, workloads, use cases, industries, and managed services:

In this post, I will explain what expertise the differentiation programs validate, what these partners have done to achieve their badge, and how they can help you deliver greater value for your business, become more agile, and lower costs.

Why Work with an AWS Partner?

Whether it’s time to modernize your business, take it into an innovative new territory, or expand your solutions, an AWS Partner can be a game-changer.

You can think of AWS Partners with differentiation badges like the five-star rated products you see on, if those ratings were by technical experts. These are positioned based on strong customer reviews, and when you search for AWS Partners the differentiation program badges work the same way to establish validated expertise.

For example, if you need a partner with Amazon Redshift expertise, you can look to our curated list of Amazon Redshift Delivery Partners. If you’re looking for a partner with a broad data and analytics skillset, you can browse the list of AWS Data and Analytics Competency Partners.

If your customer has both a data and analytics use case and wants to migrate to Amazon Redshift, it’s easy to find partners with both designations in our Partner Solutions Finder. For big jobs where full customer lifecycle support is needed, refer to the list of next-generation AWS MSPs.

AWS Partners in differentiation programs do not pay to get in; they earn it based on technical expertise that is validated by AWS or, in some cases, third-party auditors. Across all four programs, partners provide a technical validation checklist and 2-4 case studies that demonstrate their services or software products have been leveraged successfully by customers.

AWS Partners with designations and validated solutions are measured against a high technical bar. Let’s review each program so you know how to find the right partner with the expertise you need.

Find Native AWS Service Expertise

The AWS Service Validation Programs—AWS Service Delivery and AWS Service Ready—are your short list of partners with specific, native AWS service-level expertise or product integrations.

The AWS Service Delivery Program validates partners’ expertise with service delivery of the native AWS services, such as Amazon Redshift, AWS Lambda, or Amazon EC2 for Windows Server.

The AWS Service Ready Program validates software products that work with specific, native AWS services and follow best practices for sound architecture. These products are “ready” to integrate with AWS services like AWS PrivateLink.

Partners report spending 80-100 hours preparing their product’s validation checklist, customer case studies, and other documentation needed to successfully pass review by AWS Solution Architects.


For example, by achieving the AWS PrivateLink Ready designation, Confluent gives customers in regulated industries like financial services and healthcare more confidence in their data.

“It’s one thing to say you support AWS PrivateLink, but it’s another to have a designation that says AWS verifies we have properly implemented it,” says Joseph Morais, Cloud Partner Solutions Architect at Confluent. Read the full case study >>

In the AWS Service Delivery program, Quiznos cut its annual IT expenses in half by migrating to AWS with the help of RedNight Consulting. The migration also eliminated the application failures Quiznos had been experiencing while speeding up end-user productivity. Read the full case study >>

Find Experts by Industry, Use Case, and Workload

AWS Competency Partners have broad expertise across entire industries such as financial services and retail, use cases like cloud management tools, machine learning, and storage, and workloads like SAP and Oracle. These designations help customers find the partner with the right specialization for their project needs.

Aviatrix Systems uses its AWS Networking Competency to help enterprises simplify cloud networking and increase cloud network visibility. Aviatrix also leverages native AWS networking and security services such as Amazon GuardDuty to help customers enhance security and drive innovation.

“Our AWS Networking Competency gives our customers confidence that they’re in the right hands and they’re working with a qualified partner that can get the job done,” says Frank Cabri, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Aviatrix. Read the full case study >>


Partners report spending about 200 hours preparing their validation checklist and customer case studies in order to achieve an AWS Competency badge. All software solutions are reviewed by AWS Solution Architects, and partners with services (such as systems integrators and consulting firms) have their application reviewed by a third-party auditor.

Once in the program, AWS Competency Partners continue to build strong relationships with AWS product teams and industry verticals to help facilitate innovation. Peak is a decision intelligence company, powering commercial decision-making for organizations around the world. They achieved both the AWS Machine Learning Competency and AWS Retail Competency Partner.

“Being accredited by having the AWS Retail Competency means our retail customers and prospects can feel confident in the knowledge they can rely on our solutions built on AWS infrastructure,” says Martin Sutton, business development director at Peak. Read the full case study >>

Find Experts that Deliver End-to-End Customer Solutions

The AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) Program is designed to validate AWS Partners that offer end-to-end solutions to customers. Next-gen AWS MSP Partners help customers solve complex business needs at any stage of their cloud adoption journey.

These partners have been reviewed by a third-party auditor and validated for their full customer engagement lifecycle, which starts with planning and deployment and carries on through long-term operations and optimization.

AWS MSP Partners deliver services across a range of use cases such as systems integration, application development, management, hosting, modernization, digital transformation, infrastructure management and modernization, and managed security.

AWS MSPs can help customers with large, enterprise-level migrations to the cloud and are there to support your needs long-term. For example, after deciding to migrate to the AWS Cloud, Yamaha selected 2nd Watch to assist with its migration. 2nd Watch was able to meet Yamaha’s rapid timing and provide ongoing optimization and planning services.

“We’ve worked with 2nd Watch side-by-side on our journey to the cloud. They’re always the consummate professionals, and they fit our culture very well,” says Vimal Thomas, VP of the Information Technology Division at Yamaha. By migrating to AWS, Yamaha is able to save $500,000 annually. Read the full case study >>


To achieve the industry- and analyst-recognized AWS MSP badge, partners must provide a validation checklist across many AWS services and AWS Competencies, as well as four customer references with demonstrated experience.

Most partners report spending 9-12 months with their entire team in order to pass the rigorous two-day audit needed to achieve the AWS MSP designation.

HCL Technologies needed to help its customers enable better collaboration among global engineering teams. The company addressed this need by joining the AWS MSP program and developing 1PLMCloud on AWS, a solution that enables seamless collaboration, lowers time to market, boosts performance, and cuts cost.

“The AWS MSP Program helps us integrate our expertise on AWS services and application support to deliver complete solutions to our customers worldwide,” says Shekhar Burande, Associate VP of PLM Consulting and Solutions at HCL. Read the full case study >>

Team Up with an AWS Partner Today!

Whether you are a small, medium, or large enterprise, or a public sector organization, there’s an AWS Partner with the right skills to help move your business forward.

Use our Partner Solutions Finder to find the right partner for the right job: