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AWS ‘Doubling Down On Working With Partners’: Ruba Borno

“We want to continue to focus on streamlining partner onboarding and provide more navigation to them to make it easier for partners to navigate the AWS Partner Network and AWS in general,” AWS’ global channel chief Ruba Borno tells CRN.

Amazon Web Services’ new worldwide channel leader Ruba Borno is planning to double down on working with partners, with a focus on streamlining and making it easier for solution providers to navigate the AWS Partner Network as well as the cloud market leader in general.

“We’re truly doubling down on working with partners in service of our customers,” said Borno, vice president of Worldwide Channels and Alliances for AWS. “We want to continue to focus on streamlining partner onboarding and provide more navigation to them to make it easier for partners to navigate the AWS Partner Network and AWS in general. We want to continue to grow co-sell with them and help them transform our customers together.”

Borno plans to help guide partners better around how to drive profitability and tailor the channel experience to partners specific business models, including investing more in the AWS Partner Paths program.

[Related: AWS Summit: 5 New Aurora, IoT TwinMaker And Glue Offerings]

“One of the great things about the breadth of our innovation, the breadth of our customer base, is that we have a lot of insight that we should be using a lot more proactively to guide our partners on the highest return on investment for their time,” she said. “And that’s something that you’ll see us do more of through the Partner Path experience.”

The AWS Partner Paths provide a flexible way to help partners accelerate engagements with AWS as well as navigate through resources, benefits and relevant programs.

“We want to continue down that line of thinking of helping streamline the experience and simplify the experience. We know that we’ve got room to improve on making it simpler to do business with AWS by being a lot more proactive in guiding them,” said Borno.

Ethan Simmons, managing partner at Norwood, Mass.-based AWS partner Pinnacle Technology Partners (PTP), was excited to hear Borno’s strategy of simplifying and streamlining the entire AWS partner experience.

“AWS has moved so fast. They launch so many net new services every year that it’s hard to keep up as a partner. If AWS can help partners scale more at speed, I think that’s where the opportunity is,” said Simmons.

PTP, a longtime AWS partner, has struggled with the complexity of the AWS field environment. Simmons said there are many different people at AWS—from field sellers to partner sales managers—who PTP needs to connect with in order to get deals done. “There’s a lot of different people that you need to talk to and build relationships with in order to start to get stuff done,” he said. “I’m glad to hear Ruba is trying to streamline that because it would be a great thing for us.”

Borno To ‘Tailor The Partner Experience’

Borno said she plans to provide partners with more customer insights. AWS will offer more information and insight to channel partners around their specific vertical expertise and business model.

“What we want to do is actually tailor the partner experience to our partners’ business model. Not only what is it that they’re selling, but which customers they are supporting, and also what’s driving their profitability,” said Borno.

Simmons was bullish about AWS proactively providing insights to help partners drive sales and profitability.

“They obviously have a lot of data on customers and much greater visibility than probably most manufacturers have ever had on their customers as far as what they’re doing, what services they’re using within AWS—that type of insight and visibility they have is greater than anyone else that’s out there,” said Simmons. “As far as just sharing it with partners, the AWS partner program has been pretty good at guiding partners to where there’s higher value opportunity and where you should be focusing your time, both from a technical expertise but then also from a vertical expertise. There’s room for improvement, especially around partner development.”

‘It’s Still Day One’

Ruba Borno hails from networking global market leader Cisco.

She was most recently senior vice president and general manager of Cisco’s global customer experience centers and managed services before joining AWS in November.

Cisco is considered the “gold standard” of partner programs, according to PTP’s Simmons, who also partners with Cisco. Hiring a former Cisco executive in Borno will bring “good things to the AWS Partner Program,” he said.

Borno said with herself at the head of AWS’ channel charge, solution providers will see a commitment “across AWS, top-down,” to its partner community.

She said only a fraction of workloads which could migrate to the cloud are actually in the cloud today, which creates massive amounts of cloud computing transformation opportunities ahead for channel partners.

“From an AWS perspective, as it relates to our partners, it is still day one,” said Borno. “The opportunity ahead of us is significantly greater than what’s behind us. We’ve got more to discover together. You’ll see our continued commitment to our partners.”

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