AWS Public Sector Blog

Building a profitable AWS public sector partner business

In the past few years, governments, schools, hospitals, and many public sector entities have had to scale and accelerate their digital transformation rapidly with limited resources. As the world continues to wrestle with challenges such as the pandemic, geopolitical crises, and economic uncertainties, public sector customers are responding to the growing demand of innovation.

In my time managing the Amazon Web Services (AWS) public sector partner team for the United Kingdom and Ireland (UK&I), I’ve worked with a wide range of partners in the region. Our team’s goal is to help partners be profitable while accelerating digital transformation for UK&I public sector customers.

As I’ve built the UK&I public sector partner team, we have observed less and less customers wanting to solely use their internal resources for their digital transformation. They need guidance, support, services, and solutions from their partners. This creates an immense opportunity for AWS Partners to support public sector customers’ missions while building successful, profitable businesses.

A 2022 study by Canalys, sponsored by AWS, found that partners with diversified offerings to meet customers’ requirements can achieve a $6.40 multiplier per $1 of AWS sold, enabling partners to build thriving businesses.

How can AWS Partners achieve this multiplier, while helping public sector customers achieve their mission-critical transformation? In my experience working with partners, six key areas of opportunity have emerged that AWS Partners can focus on.

When looking at the different areas a partner can help a customer on their journey, we break it down into six ways. The first three—plan and design, build and migrate, and run and operate—are the stages of a customer’s journey that require consulting, and professional and managed services from partners. Technical and commercial optimization are key to maximising cost savings in moving to the cloud. The fifth way is utilising solutions from our ISV partners to help in these areas and finally partners package their solutions to benefit multiple public sector customers.

Figure 1. How the six areas of opportunity for AWS Services Partners to build a profitable business integrate together.

1. Plan and design

Partners can provide public sector customers with consulting services at the early stages of their journey—providing insight, direction, and priorities the customer should undertake along their digital transformations. This can often also demonstrate the financial benefits of moving to the cloud. AWS Partner Bytes helps customers like Eastleigh Borough Council at this planning stage by using the Cloudamize reporting tool. This tool helps customers understand the capacity of their current environment and provides an accurate migration plan and sizing estimation for their new cloud environment. Funding programs are available to AWS Partners to help drive innovation and development of solutions at this stage by utilising proof of concepts.

2. Build and migrate

Customers need the skills and expertise from their partners to implement the plan and design, as well as for building cloud environments and migrating legacy data. AWS Partners provide a wide range of professional services to customers to help them with their migrations. For example, the UK Health Security Agency enlisted AWS global healthcare partner of the year, BJSS, to build an environment to improve and enhance security, resiliency, and operational control and visibility of their services. Other partners specialise in the migrations they offer. For example, Lemongrass specialises in SAP cloud transformations and recently migrated the Transport for London’s SAP environment, which had been running on-premises for over 18 years, to AWS. Providing seamless business transition with near-zero downtime and disruption. AWS Partners can take advantage of a wide variety of AWS programs and funding opportunities to support customers’ migrations. For instance, AWS Partner Kainos utilised the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) to migrate petabytes of data for Genomics England (GEL). Building on AWS with the help of its partners, GEL optimized its high-performance computing architecture for both cost and speed. Researchers can now perform common tasks that previously took 25 hours in just 23 seconds.

3. Run and operate

In the Cloud Realities podcast from Capgemini, recorded live at AWS re:Invent 2022, Dimitris Perdikou, head of engineering at UK Home Office, discusses their early adoption of the cloud at scale and how they worked with AWS Partners. He describes managed services as “getting someone, who is an expert in something else, and giving them the problem.” Customers often prefer their partner to effectively manage their cloud environments, providing cost and performance optimisation, through to routine maintenance and development, while supporting compliance with security regulations and policies.

The study by Canalys found that 30-40% gross profit margins are generated by managed services, providing a fantastic opportunity for partners.

4. Optimization

Against the backdrop of economic uncertainties, optimization is such an important, multifaceted topic for public sector customers. AWS Partners must proactively help customers reduce their costs, optimizing their technical environments as well as utilising various pricing models. Our partners also need to optimize their own environments for maximum cost savings and profitability. AWS Partner Strategic Blue built a successful business focused predominately on helping customers and partners optimize. They helped University of California San Diego save on average more than $10,000 per month, which could be reinvested in research, innovation, and modernization.

5. Third-party software

Including solutions from AWS software partners as part of your offering can provide additional capability as well as additional revenue. AWS Partner Softcat, for example, use CloudHealth by VMware to help customers optimize. Softcat recently helped UK National Health Service (NHS) Digital gain monthly cost savings of 25%. The AWS Marketplace can help you simplify procurement, provisioning, and governance of third-party software, helping to reduce complexity and cost.

6. Repeatable solutions

Creating solutions suitable for multiple customers reduces operational complexity and increases profitability. For instance, AWS Partner CirrusHQ protected Nottingham College from a ransomware attack. This inspired CirrusHQ to package the solution as Cloud Safeguard for Education. CirrusHQ now sells the solution via AWS Marketplace to numerous colleges and universities.

Developing your focus and your community

As AWS Partners build their businesses, it is important to define focus areas. I often ask AWS Partners “What they want to be famous for?” AWS Partners can establish their industry or vertical focus, use cases, and workload offering to build a long term, profitable partner business. Developing your own community of partners can help you expand your capabilities and offerings to your customers. Collaboration among our partners has led to numerous successful customer outcomes. A notable example is AWS Partner PA Consulting, who were awarded the AWS EMEA Collaboration Partner of the Year for their successful collaboration with other AWS Partners to deliver the public cloud platform accredited to hold crucial data for a large UK Government Agency.

Using these six strategies as the basis for your partner plan can provide areas of focus and ambition. The AWS Partner teams around the world have a clear goal: help AWS Partners build successful, profitable AWS businesses. Please continue working with your partner manager to discuss these different areas of opportunity and develop a clear plan on how AWS can best help you achieve success.

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