Amazon Web Services kicked off its 2014 AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday with a keynote to the company's partners informing them that 2015 will bring twice the spending on its partner ecosystem, ramped up business support for partners and a number of new technological training opportunities.
Terri Wise, AWS global partners and alliances chief, told the Amazon Partner Network (APN) -- ISVs and solution providers -- that AWS will double its investments in its partner ecosystem in 2015. The bulk of that additional funding will be in the form of go-to-market programs that offer potential customers free usage to "test drive" their workloads on Amazon's infrastructure, as well as in subsidizing professional services efforts focused on customer engagement.
APN members also heard that Amazon plans on expanding partner programs in 2015 with new certifications, specialized competencies and global growth.
Wise told CRN after the keynote that Amazon is "evolving our programs," both in requirements and in support, especially for higher-tier partners.
"We're putting much more of an emphasis on certifications. No surprise, customers want partners to show up with deep skills," Wise told CRN.
SVP Andy Jassy, in the keynote, told partners, "this is the biggest technology shift in our lifetimes, what's going on with the cloud."
Jassy, who more than eight years ago wrote the AWS business plan, and in a sense crafted the blueprint for the public cloud market, thanked attendees of the APN keynote for "how strategic to our business and our customers our partner ecosystem is."
"We always envisioned having a vibrant, large ecosystem of system integrators and technology partners was going to be critical to our business" because Amazon knew customers would need help in planning and executing their moves to the cloud, Jassy said.
He recounted 14 leadership principles that guide the AWS business, one of which is to think broadly and strategically "and look around corners and see the way in which things are headed."
APN has grown 75 percent in the last year. Growth goals for the current year are focused on partner competency, commitment and innovation with the platform, and not just on increased numbers, Wise said.
"The channel is becoming super important in this space. I really want to make sure it's the value-added channel," Wise told CRN.
Solution providers can't count on subsisting on revenues from margins, which are dropping continually along with prices, and must deliver new capabilities on top of the platform.
NEXT: An Evolving Partner Program