AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Updated Validation Checklists for AWS Specialization Programs

By Joanne Moore, Sr. AWS Specialization Programs Launch Manager – AWS
By Betty Devich Oblak, Global Program Lead, MSP Program – AWS 
By Jing Ning, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Kathryn Martini, Manager, Global AWS Specialization Programs Benefits – AWS

With more than 130,000 AWS Partners across the globe (as of October 2023), AWS Specializations help customers find a short list of trusted cloud partners with diverse expertise whose knowledge, services, and solutions have been validated by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Whether it’s to modernize their business, expand into an innovative new territory, or grow their solution, customers rely on the technical expertise and proven customer success of AWS Specialization Partners to achieve their desired business outcomes.

According to a Canalys study, 87% of customers rank AWS Specializations as a top three selection criteria when selecting a partner. Additionally, Canalys estimates that partners’ access to US $307.2 billion of the US $512 billion AWS Partner economy is dependent on the number of specializations held. Without these specializations, partners won’t make it to the customer’s procurement process.

As we continue to transform the AWS Partner experience, we’re streamlining requirements for AWS Specialization Programs to make it easier for partners to focus on the technical capabilities customers rely on—while maintaining the high technical bar that gives customers confidence when selecting partners with the right expertise for the job.

We’re excited to share updates to the Validation Checklists (VCL) for AWS Specialization Programs (AWS Competency, Managed Service Provider, Service Delivery, and Service Ready). The updates will drive efficiencies during onboarding, allowing partners to achieve an AWS Specialization faster and making it easier to utilize benefits.

The following updates are effective January 1, 2024.

NEW! Option to Provide Anonymous Customer Case Studies

Partners now have the option to submit anonymous case studies in scenarios where they cannot name a customer due to their contract terms and conditions. The anonymous case study must be publicly available and published by the partner with the customer name omitted.

Case studies submitted as part of an AWS Specialization application may be private or public. Private case studies are reviewed by AWS for validation purposes only. Public case studies are published by the partner in the form of a customer case study, white paper, video, blog post, etc. The case study will be linked in Partner Solutions Finder (PSF).

Public case studies are required for AWS Competency and AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) applications. While optional for AWS Service Ready and AWS Service Delivery applications, partners are encouraged to submit public case studies to showcase their customer success in PSF.

For best practices on writing a public case study—including the new anonymous option—review the Public Case Study Guide in AWS Partner Central (login required).

AWS-Branded Microsite is Now Optional

Microsites are no longer a requirement, but a recommended best practice. Previously, AWS Specialization Partners were required to provide an AWS-branded microsite to highlight their AWS practice relative to the area of AWS Specialization they were applying for (such as industry, use case, workload, or AWS service).

As a best practice, partners are encouraged to build a microsite showcasing their AWS Specialization, to be included in their PSF listing along with their AWS Marketplace listing (if applicable). AWS drives customer traffic to PSF as the primary place for customers to learn more about validated Specialization Partners through global marketing campaigns.

For best practices on building a microsite, review the Microsite Guide in AWS Partner Central (login required).

Thought Leadership Public Content is No Longer Required

To streamline the partner experience, we’re validating partner expertise through the technical validation and case studies. Previously, partners applying for an AWS Competency (industry, use case, or workload Specialization) were required to present three examples of public-facing materials (blog posts, press articles, videos, etc.) specific to the Specialization.

Waiving Common Requirements for Existing AWS Competency Partners

To reduce redundancy, we’re waiving common requirements for partners who have demonstrated compliance with the common requirements within the last 12 months.

For example, the Common AWS Partner Practice Requirements are waived if a partner applying for a Services Competency has achieved another Services Competency in the past 12 months. Similarly, the Common Technical Requirements are waived if a partner applying for a Software Competency has achieved another Software Competency in the past 12 months for the associated offering.

Previously, partners applying for an AWS Competency were required to complete the common requirements section of the Validation Checklist for every application.

Case Study Qualification

To save partners time and effort, the updated VCLs include clear instructions on case study eligibility, including how case studies can be reused to qualify for multiple AWS Specializations if the case study and implementation scope are relevant to those Specializations.

In addition, the partner may use a case study for an affiliate company of the partner if the affiliate is a separate legal entity and the offering is available to outside customers.

Updated AWS MSP Program Validation Checklist

In addition to the updates to the AWS Specialization VCLs, the validation checklist for the AWS Managed Service Provider Program includes consolidated requirements and makes the audit process more efficient for partners.

The updated AWS MSP Program checklist is effective April 1, 2024 and available in AWS Partner Central (login required).

Unlock Benefits as an AWS Specialization Partner

AWS Specialization Partners gain early access to new product roadmaps and unlock more ways to engage with AWS experts, earn financial incentives, and upskill on AWS. Through the AWS PartnerEquip series, announced at re:Invent 2023, partners unlock early access to strategic and confidential content, including feature release previews and demos. Partners worldwide can attend live events in their region or tune in virtually for on-demand content and live Q&As.

Explore benefits available to AWS Competency, Managed Service Provider (MSP), Service Delivery, and Service Ready Partners.

Become an AWS Specialization Partner

Explore AWS Specializations and review the validation requirements for each in AWS Partner Central (login required):

To learn more about how to validate your offerings and get started, review the AWS Specializations Program Guide in AWS Partner Central (login required).