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Jeremiah Jenson On AWS ‘Leaning In’ With Distributors: Exclusive

The cloud provider’s new global distribution leader outlines AWS’ expanded focus on using distributors such as Ingram Micro Cloud and TD Synnex to help AWS grow through partners.

Jeremiah Jenson says his new role at Amazon Web Services is a “proof point” of how the cloud computing provider is expanding its use of distributors to help channel partners increase their AWS business.

Jenson, formerly AWS’ resale partners leader for North America, now is leading distribution worldwide for AWS commercial partners in a newly created position.

AWS is “leaning in” with distributors this year—tapping their capabilities, scale and reach—to help on-board partners and expand partners’ capabilities and footprints as it seeks more growth globally, according to Jenson.

“We have investment plans that include head count, increase in coverage, strategic go-to-market plans in terms of how we work with internal AWS stakeholders and sales teams, and the overall global responsibility in terms of coverage, field coverage [and] revenue production for the distribution partners,” Jenson, whose role excludes China, told CRN.

The industry’s top cloud computing provider last week unveiled a new strategic collaboration agreement with IT distributor and solutions aggregator TD Synnex that covers North America, Latin America and the Caribbean. The deal follows an agreement signed last year with distributor Ingram Micro Cloud that includes expansion into new markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Association of Southeastern Asian Nation countries.

While AWS operates in many regions, complexity comes with that, Jenson said, and distributors can help it move faster by adding value to things like billing, including multi-currency billing, and reach where AWS might not have direct support.

“Maybe most importantly, the fact that distribution has had relationships with a lot of these partners for decades, they understand their business intimately,” Jenson said. “The opportunity to partner with them more closely and move faster with what we call downstream sellers with these partnerships really presented an opportunity for us.”

AWS partners want to service their customers, helping them migrate to AWS and transform, in faster, more meaningful ways, and distributors have technical breadth and depth across AWS’ 200-plus services and expertise in how they impact specific industries and partners, according to Jenson.

The focus on distribution is a smart strategy on the part of AWS, said Ethan Simmons, managing partner at Norwood, Mass.-based PTP, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner.

“And having Jenson laser-focused there should give AWS partners further confidence in the AWS plan to scale their growth via channel partners,” Simmons said. “It is also about creating new partners. Cloud computing and related services is still a huge opportunity, and distribution provides AWS the ability to access a partner community that has just started to build cloud practices. This strategy can help make the AWS partner program more relevant to this untapped partner community.”

In his new role, Jenson reports to Chris Sullivan, AWS’ global director of worldwide systems integrators and strategic alliances, who in turn reports to new global channel chief Ruba Borno.

AWS’ decision to put greater focus on distributors stemmed from a supporting paper that Jenson and his colleagues wrote about how the cloud provider could expand more quickly using them.

“As we [went] through our planning processes and the various mechanisms that we have here, we began to look at the data around what the opportunity might tell us,” Jenson said. “There were a number of us that contributed to and wrote a document about how we might be able to go faster with distribution, and that’s how this came about. That’s really the Amazonian culture at work. There was a narrative written, it was read, it was revised, we took feedback, we looked at the opportunity, we looked at data, we listened to partners, we listened to customers. And through that, we saw an opportunity, and the company backed that opportunity by making these investments.”

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