AWS Competencies Launch In Travel, Energy, Mainframe Migration

The cloud provider announced at AWS re:Invent 2020 that it’s also expanding its AWS Public Safety and Disaster Competency to technology partners.


Amazon Web Services is introducing new competencies for partners to validate their expertise in travel and hospitality, energy and mainframe migrations.

The cloud provider also is expanding its AWS Public Safety and Disaster Competency to technology partners.

The AWS Competency Program is a core area in which AWS partners -- systems integrators, managed service providers and independent software vendors (ISVs) – can differentiate their businesses by validating their technical proficiency and customer success in specific workloads, industries or use cases.

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AWS customers seek out partners that have developed that deep expertise and skills, according to Sandy Carter, AWS’ vice president of global public sector partners and programs

“Competencies help you really showcase your specialty,” Carter said yesterday during the partner keynote session at the AWS Re:Invent 2020 conference. “Partners with competencies meet a high bar.”

AWS competency partners get benefits such as increased visibility with customers and AWS field teams, go-to-market support with co-branded marketing and digital campaigns, access to market development funds and discounts, and business promotion.

The AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency is available now, while the AWS Energy and Mainframe Migration Competencies are slated to be available early next year.

AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency

AWS launched its Travel and Hospitality Competency with 27 partners, including consulting partners Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte, Mphasis, Onica, Slalom, TensorIoT and Wavicle Data Solutions.

The travel and hospital industry is preparing for long-term transformation after being hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic, Carter said.

“There are so many challenges that can only be addressed by technology and transformation,” she said, noting an IDC Future of Industry report indicated 59 percent of companies in travel and hospitality will have a higher IT spend in 2021.

AWS Advanced Technology Partner Reltio, a Redwood Shores, Calif.-based SaaS company, has earned the new competency, which founder and chief technology officer Manish Sood called an “important industry initiative for a sector faced with unprecedented business disruption.”

Reltio offers a cloud-native, master data management platform for enterprise data at scale that helps organizations connect with travelers and guests.

“By using this data, travel and hospitality innovators are quickly adapting business models and introducing new products and services, while protecting customer relationships which will benefit them once the pandemic abates,” Sood said.

AWS also highlighted the work of cloud-native services provider Onica with Southwest Airlines. The San Antonio, Tex.-based Onica, which is owned by Rackspace Technology, is another inaugural partner with the competency. The AWS Premier Consulting and Managed Service Provider has a total of 15 AWS competencies.

“This is by far the most challenging time that Southwest Airlines has faced, but we‘re not shrinking from the challenge,” said Lauren Woods, managing director of technology platforms for the Dallas-based airline. “Instead, we see it as an opportunity to improve our technical health and emerge stronger at the end.”

Southwest Airlines “scrappy collection of applications” was starting to feel like technical debt, so the airline decided to take advantage of the cloud.

“But unlike a lot of enterprise businesses, we didn’t start with the data center migration,” Woods said. “Instead, we were looking to create a new development and delivery platform for our complex application ecosystem. We wanted partners that had deep skills in the AWS platform and could help us reskill our people to modernize our applications, and we found that in Onica. We rallied our efforts around re-architecting OpsSuite, a major application that had been plagued with cold starts, manual deployment and static infrastructure.”

Working with Onica, Southwest learned to utilize Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) to support its flight scheduling, gate assignments, airplane turn productivity and the optimization of our network. Southwest used to require large teams to deploy new features and updates overnight on a monthly or even quarterly basis, but now it can test and deploy updates multiple times a week, during the day and at a fraction of the cost, according to Woods.

“Following our success with OpsSuite, we started several other projects and began to expand our AWS footprint,” she said. “In addition to Onica, we engage with other great AWS partners, utilizing their specialization and expertise to continue to learn and grow our own AWS experience.”

AWS Energy Competency

The AWS Energy Competency was announced as energy companies around the world are accelerating their technology adoption to help reduce capital and operating expenses and minimize their carbon footprints, Carter said. They’re using tools including cloud computing, the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence/machine learning that help them drive operational efficiency for their oil and gas assets and develop a sustainable renewable asset portfolio.

“They‘re seeking out highly specialized companies to help them do this,” Carter said. “This new competency will feature best-in-class consulting and technology partners. And it includes geophysical and reservoir analysis, production operations, pipeline operations, optimization of solar and wind, and so much more.”

AWS Mainframe Migration Competency

AWS Mainframe Migration Competency partners must demonstrate their expertise and experience in migrating mainframe applications and data to AWS.

More than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies still run business-critical applications on mainframes, and many companies and institutions still possess legacy mainframes in their data centers, according to AWS.

“Due to the slow development cycle of mainframes, more companies are migrating to the cloud to enable rapid development and innovation,” AWS said in a blog post announcing the new competency. “Furthermore, as mainframe subject matter experts retire and leave the workforce, these companies face an increasing skills gap.”

Three AWS Consulting Partners are pre-qualified for the AWS Mainframe Migration consulting category: Deloitte, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. Four AWS ISV Partners have pre-qualified for the AWS Mainframe Migration technology category: Blu Age, Micro Focus, Modern Systems and TSRI.

AWS Public Safety And Disaster Response Competency

The extension of the AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency to technology partners or ISVs takes effect this week. AWS had debuted the industry vertical competency for consulting partners only at last year’s re:Invent.

“One of the most talked about competencies last year was our Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency for consulting partners,” Carter said. “It helped customers create safer and more resilient communities. Given the vital importance of this competency, we set out to give more partners access to the same resources.”

Envisage Technologies, HERE Technologies, Juvare, SOMA Global and Unleash Live are among the 16 AWS technology launch partners for the competency.

AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency partners have worked with governments, first responders, police departments and disaster response teams, and they‘ve leveraged their solutions in each phase of a disaster: prepare, respond and recover, Carter said.

Maxar Technologies, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, earned the competency last year. The Westminster, Colo.-based company specializes in earth intelligence and space-based technology solutions. Its work helping customer Team Rubicon, a veteran-led, disaster relief organization based in Los Angeles, has included releasing pre- and post-hurricane satellite imagery through its open data program when Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas last year.

“Maxar provided Team Rubicon access to its SecureWatch platform that was hosted on AWS, so that volunteers could use that free event satellite imaging in their disaster response efforts,” Carter said. “That helps them to deploy those first response teams in natural disasters.”

AWS’ other industry vertical competencies are in education, financial services, government, healthcare, industrial software, life sciences, nonprofit and retail.

AWS currently has a total 13 solutions-area competencies, including containers, data and analytics, DevOps, digital workplaces, IoT, machine learning, networking and security. Its workload competencies are for Microsoft Workloads, Oracle, software as a service and SAP.