Discover and Re-Imagine Success with the AWS Partner Network
By Mohan CV, Sr. Solutions Architect – AWS
By Jaya Padma Mutta, Solutions Architects Manager – AWS
By Kumar Neti, Solutions Architects Manager – AWS
More and more customers across the globe are turning to the cloud and associated technology services to give them the flexibility, scalability, and reliability they need to reach their business goals. Whether it’s time to modernize your business, take it into an innovative new territory, or expand your solutions, the AWS Partner Network (APN) can be a game-changer.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers programs and benefits that help partner organizations of all sizes transform and improve their customer experience. For partners who are just beginning to build their AWS-based business or expanding it, developing a strategic viewpoint into the APN can help achieve their business objectives.
This post will help AWS Partners on the Services path, and in particular public sector partners, understand the tools, mechanisms, resources, and technical paths available to them to go deeper into their AWS relationship, identify superpowers, and make the most of the AWS resources and programs available to help you grow and succeed.
What is the AWS Partner Network?
The AWS Partner Network is a global community of partners that leverages AWS programs, expertise, and resources to help build, market, differentiate, sell, and grow their solutions and services for customers.
AWS recommends that new partners identify an internal Alliance Lead to act as the liaison between their business and AWS throughout their partner journey. The Alliance Lead is responsible for registering the business with the APN and manages all AWS Partner information. The Alliance Lead also has the authority to accept APN terms and conditions on behalf of the business.
Members of the APN have access to a number of benefits to help build a successful business. As you embark on this journey with AWS, you can leverage a wide range of resources, including AWS Training and Certification courses, AWS Partner Programs, funding benefits, AWS Partner Solutions Finder, and more.
Figure 1 – Benefits of becoming an AWS Partner.
During this journey with the APN, you may be contacted from someone at AWS who’s interested in learning more about what you are building, help keep you up-to-date on all that AWS offers, coach you on technical and business best practices (such as the AWS Well-Architected Framework). That’s us, your partner account team!
Your designated partner account team includes:
- Partner Account Manager (PAM) is your primary point of contact with AWS for business or technical matters and owns your relationship with AWS.
- Your PAM is paired with a hands-on and technical Partner Solutions Architect (PSA). Engage them early for any deep dives, building complex AWS optimized architectures, and also to develop a long-term strategy with AWS business development and service teams.
- Technical Account Manager (TAM) helps keep your AWS environment healthy by showing you how to manage your AWS spend, optimize workloads, manage events and escalations. You’ll be able to work with a TAM if you have purchased AWS Enterprise Support or AWS Enterprise On-Ramp.
What Partner Tier is Right for You?
The APN tiers for partners on the Services path are divided into several levels – Select, Advanced, and Premier, each of which offers increasing levels of support and benefits. The journey is designed to help partners at every stage of their growth, from startups to large enterprises. Services partners join as “Registered” partners before progressing through the partner tiers by meeting various criteria in the categories of knowledge, experience, and customer success.
At the start of your AWS Partner journey, becoming an APN Select Tier Services Partner makes you eligible for a range of funding benefits and marketing opportunities to help you grow your customer base on AWS. Select tier partners are listed in AWS Partner Solutions Finder and also have access to popular AWS Partner Programs, including the AWS Solution Provider Program and the AWS Service Delivery Program, among others.
As you grow into being an APN Advanced Tier Services Partner, you’ll be able to take advantage of additional resources to continue to grow your customer base and move forward with innovation in your solutions, like the AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) Program and the AWS Competency Program.
On becoming an APN Premier Tier Services Partner, you will be recognized as an industry leader who consistently pushes the boundaries of your AWS-based practices in one or more regions.
Figure 2 – AWS Partner tiers and journey.
What Does a Successful AWS Partner Journey Look Like?
To kickstart your journey with the APN, it’s important for partners to understand the steps they need to take to be successful. By following the strategies listed below, AWS Partners can position themselves for success and be able to deliver value to their customers, resulting in a profitable and sustainable cloud consulting business.
In this stage, partners learn about the AWS platform and the resources available to them, and establish a basic level of competency.
- Building a strong foundation and competency: Registered AWS Partners start by building a strong foundation on AWS, leveraging our online leaning library to enhance their knowledge of AWS cloud fundamentals and best practices.
Once partners progress to Advanced Tier, they will be able to attain AWS Competencies, going through a rigorous certification process, training, and accreditation to become proficient in AWS services and best practices.
- Leveraging Partner Central: AWS Partners should take advantage of the resources and tools provided by AWS Partner Central, such as Partner Solutions Finder, to promote their solutions and connect with customers.
In this stage, partners develop their skills and knowledge and build their first solutions on AWS.
- Growing AWS expertise: AWS Partners should focus on building expertise in AWS technologies by taking advantage of the AWS Training and Certification resources provided by the AWS Partner Success Journey team. This will help them to understand the capabilities of AWS and to provide better solutions to their customers.
Figure 3 – Your AWS Partner support system.
- Building a strong go-to-market strategy: After building competency, AWS Partners develop their go-to-market strategy to promote their services and solutions on AWS. They leverage various marketing and enablement resources on AWS Partner Marketing Central to reach and engage customers.
- Developing solutions that meet specific public sector needs: Public sector partners should focus on developing solutions that meet industry-specific needs, such as data management, analytics, and security.
In this stage, partners expand their business by increasing their customer base and revenue on AWS.
- Building a strong relationship with the AWS partner team: Partners should build a strong relationship with their AWS partner team by regularly engaging them, participating in events and webinars, and providing feedback on the platform.
- Providing excellent technical support: AWS Partners should provide excellent technical support to their customers, in addition to leveraging their access to the AWS Partner team. This will help them to establish a reputation as a trusted partner and increase the chances of repeat business.
- Building a strong network of contacts: Public sector partners should take advantage of the opportunities provided by the AWS Public Sector Partner Program and the partner team to connect with other AWS Partners and AWS experts. This will help them to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the market and identify potential opportunities for collaboration.
In this stage, partners focus on improving the efficiency and scalability of their solutions, and seek to differentiate themselves in the market.
- Scaling the business: Once partners gain traction with their services and solutions, they focus on scaling their business. They invest in building their team, expanding their service offerings, and developing new solutions.
- Staying up to date with AWS offerings: AWS Partners should stay informed about the latest services and offerings from AWS and be able to leverage them to provide better solutions to their customers. They should also have a deep understanding of the customers’ business needs and be able to demonstrate the value of AWS to their customers.
- Focusing on compliance: AWS Public Sector Partners should focus on compliance and security, as the public sector has strict compliance requirements. Public sector partners should have a deep understanding of the specific requirements and regulations that apply to government and public sector organizations, such as compliance with FedRAMP and SOC 2, and be able to provide solutions that meet these requirements. AWS provides a wide range of compliance certifications and services to help public sector partners manage compliance.
Figure 4 – How AWS helps partners grow.
SoftwareOne: Anatomy of an AWS Partner Journey
SoftwareOne is a global provider of software and cloud portfolio management and an AWS Premier Consulting Partner. SoftwareOne offers their customers a wide range of services such as cloud migration, optimization, cost management, and compliance.
SoftwareOne has had success on AWS by leveraging its expertise in software and cloud solutions and by following a number of key strategies, such as:
- Building AWS expertise: SoftwareOne has invested in building deep expertise in AWS technologies by providing training and certification for its employees and by gaining hands-on experience through various projects and implementations. This has allowed the company to provide high-quality solutions and support to its customers.
- Offering a comprehensive set of services: SoftwareOne provides a range of services to its customers, including cloud strategy consulting, implementation, managed services, and optimization. This comprehensive approach helps customers fully leverage the benefits of AWS to achieve their desired outcomes.
- Leveraging its global presence: SoftwareOne has a global presence with offices in more than 80 countries, allowing the company to provide services to customers around the world. This global presence also allows SoftwareOne to provide local support and to comply with the specific requirements of different regions and countries.
- Focusing on specific verticals: SoftwareOne has built a reputation as a trusted partner in specific verticals such as healthcare, retail and manufacturing, as well as specific industries such as finance. This has allowed the company to differentiate itself in the market and to gain recognition for its expertise in these areas.
- Building strong relationships with customers: SoftwareOne has a strong focus on building long-term relationships with its customers, establishing its reputation as a trusted partner and increasing the chances of repeat business.
- Adapting to the market: SoftwareOne has been able to adapt to the market changes and trends by staying up to date on new services and offerings from AWS and how they could benefit their customers.
How to Successfully Build a Partner Relationship with AWS
AWS has identified a set of actions commonly taken by some of our most successful partners throughout their work with us. Businesses new to the APN can follow the recommendations below to start their partner journey with AWS.
- Alignment: Make sure all relevant stakeholders are informed and committed to drive the AWS collaboration.
- Responsibilities: Try to include cross-functional teams (e.g., sales, technical, marketing etc.) to distribute responsibilities and involve more people in the partner journey.
- Products and solutions: Inform your AWS Partner team (PAM and PSA) about product launches to be a visible innovator. Engage PSAs before you’ve begun building, so we can review your use case and recommend the best architecture and AWS services.
- Co-selling: Inform your PAM and the partner team about relevant customer acquisitions. Get proactively in touch when you submit an opportunity through the APN Customer Engagements (ACE) Program.
- Partner plan: Set up a partner plan to highlight what the most important milestones are for you.
- Field ready kit: Work with your AWS PAM and partner team to complete a field ready kit (sales and solutions brief) to enable our sales organization to match you with the right customers if there is an opportunity.
Figure 5 – What do successful AWS Partners do?
This post discussed how the AWS Partner Network (APN) can help you grow and succeed at each stage of your journey with AWS. But joining the APN is just only the beginning. We also addressed what a successful journey for partners looks like on AWS, including some tips to help build a successful relationship with your partner account team.
Figure 6: Joining the APN is only the beginning
As next steps, we offer partners the following tips:
- Build synergy with your AWS Partner Team.
- Quickly identify customer problems and focus on becoming best-in-breed in particular solution areas.
- Become an AWS expert and establish your firm as a thought leader.
- Power-up enablement – Partner with AWS to build an enablement plan that keeps up with your pace of innovation
- Grow geographically – Uncover opportunities to expand into local and global markets, and learn where you could diversify your portfolio or services.
- Increase your marketing footprint – Strategize ways to expand your reach across new audiences, verticals and additional locations/geos.
- Take advantage of APN programs to help you grow your business and reach your target customers.