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Why $80B AWS Is ‘Partner Obsessed’: Selipsky, Borno Leading The Charge

Mark Haranas

From driving co-selling deals through the channel to upskilling thousands of partners via new training programs, AWS CEO Adam Selipsky and channel chief Ruba Borno are proving that the sky’s the limit when it comes to helping partners succeed.

Why Partners Are Picking AWS Over Cloud Competitors

AWS was a pioneer in cloud computing and has held the leading market-share position for well over a decade.

In the third quarter, the cloud giant won a 34 percent share of the $57.5 billion worldwide cloud services market, up from a 33 percent share in 2021, according to Synergy Research Group.

Microsoft has been the runner-up for several years now, winning 21 percent of the global cloud services market in the third quarter, followed by Google at 11 percent.

Selipsky said one reason channel partners are choosing AWS versus its cloud competitors is because of Amazon’s massive customer base and market dominance across the globe.

“We are, by a significant amount, the largest cloud provider with the largest business and the broadest customer base across all geographies and industries and use cases,” CEO Selipsky said. “And that provides tremendous opportunities for our partners—and a much larger set of opportunities for partners—than they could have with any other cloud provider.”

Other reasons why partners are choosing AWS versus the cloud competition is due to the company’s “significant investments” in its partner ecosystem from both a short- and long-term standpoint. Selipsky points to the amount of funding being pushed toward training partners, particularly systems integrators.

“Customers insist that when personnel from [systems integrators] show up they be really well-trained and really well-qualified. We’ve worked with and invested a lot ourselves alongside those partners to ensure that their staff are both trained and, in many cases, certified on AWS,” he said. “That makes a huge positive difference in customer success because we take the long-term view with customers and with partners.”

‘Bold Ambition Is Not New To AWS’

A new Forrester Total Economic Impact study found AWS partners that invest in transforming their workforce through reskilling, upskilling and retention programs have a 229 percent return on investment and 29 percent higher gross margins.

One partner that has benefited greatly from AWS’ training push is Atos, one of the largest solution providers in the world with 112,000 employees and over $11 billion in revenue.

Michael Liebow, global head of Atos’ OneCloud business for the French channel giant, said AWS has provided a slew of training and certification programs for Atos that drove down costs and increased customer opportunities.

“Their programs have helped defer some of the costs of training our people,” said Liebow. “We’ve been thrilled to have that investment in our people to get more Atos people trained on the Amazon platform.”

Selipsky and Borno are focused on training and upskilling as many partners as possible.

“Bold ambition is not new to AWS, and we’ve taken that same big mentality and applied it to the skills gap,” said Borno. “This effort pays for itself within the first six months for our partners, so we want to help them with that.”

In 2022, AWS expanded its re/Start reskilling programs across the globe, opened an AWS Skills Center in Arlington, Va., to support in-person learning and launched its new AWS Training Partner Social Impact program, which allows partners to offer customers a broad set of AWS skill development options by accessing government and public funding.

In total, AWS has a goal of training 29 million people by 2025. As of October, the company said it has helped over 13 million people thus far gain access to cloud computing skills through its free workforce programs.

Presidio’s Big Bet On AWS

AWS partners are leveraging these training investments to drive more customer wins and AWS sales.

New York-based Presidio, a $5.4 billion solution provider, expects its AWS sales to increase 45 percent this year after AWS helped train around 500 Presidio sales and technical employees to become cloud-practitioner-certified over the span of about eight months.

“We made it mandatory that every field seller had to get cloud practitioner certification,” said Chris Cagnazzi, senior vice president and general manager for Presidio’s Cloud Solutions Group. “We put together the curriculum with AWS, and AWS fully supported doing small groups of classes for us.”

Presidio now has over 1,000 AWS certifications around DevOps, solution architecture, big data, system operations and security.

Historically known as a top Cisco and Dell Technologies partner, Presidio is now also placing a huge bet on AWS. This year, it formed a strategic collaboration partnership with AWS to co-develop new services and products, as well as drive AWS adoption.

Cagnazzi said the move to invest heavily in AWS is due to the company’s channel push, as AWS now views “the channel as a way to truly scale the business.”

For example, Presidio had a customer, a large professional sports conglomerate, looking to add managed services and improve management of its cloud spending. Although AWS was already in the account and could have pushed the customer to use AWS’ own services support team, AWS fully supported Presidio taking the lead with the customer.

“[AWS] did not blink an eye when we went over a full overview of what our strategy was in the client and how we felt that if we worked together, then we could not only drive for great transformation within the client, but we could also increase consumption of the platform,” said Cagnazzi. “They really partnered with us and helped support us in this managed services offering.”

After Presidio won the services deal, the professional sports customer recently awarded Presidio a new $15 million managed and professional services deal this year to help migrate workloads and create new applications.

“We’re doing some really unique things around building an application for a certain device that they use. AWS was super supportive, and I don’t think three or four years ago we would have had that same experience,” said Cagnazzi.

Cagnazzi said the “interlock” between Presidio, its field sellers, AWS and AWS’ Professional Services Organization was “so tightly knit that the motions from the customer were that we were viewed as one company solving a bunch of problems and outcomes for them.”


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Mark Haranas

Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at

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