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10 AWS Channel Issues Raised By Partners

Amazon Web Services partners told CRN they would like to see the cloud computing market leader address a number of pressing issues, including channel conflict with AWS Professional Services consultants, a framework for smaller partners to engage with AWS and escalation issues that are impacting partners.

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Some AWS Premier Partners say they invest a lot of real dollars into not only their growth, but AWS’ growth, and they would like to see AWS differentiate between them and partners that are more static and benefit from “the rising tide, floats all boats” instead of driving business. They want to see improvements in their financial returns from AWS. They receive the same margins as other MSPs, regardless of what the others have invested, and there’s no special incentives for AWS Premier Partners beyond the name.

One of the things that we have always advocated for and made it pretty clear to our partners is that when we work with our partners, we do give financial support, but if that’s the sole source of revenue for that partner, it’s probably not going to lead to something that they like. We’ve always said, “We want you to build on top of AWS and build that additional value for the customers, and that’s how you need to think about growing your business. When you continue to build that value, customers will see it, our sales teams will see it and then that will generally lead to more business for you.”

Partners who have done a really good job in transforming their portfolio of services or products to be more differentiated and relevant for the cloud…are the partners that will continue to grow regardless of the financial benefits that we offer. However, we did make changes to our financial benefits recently for partners who are reselling AWS, and...the feedback so far has been very positive from our partners. And they’re saying, “You know what? I love the fact that you’re recognizing those partners who are out there bringing opportunities to AWS and you are giving us additional incentive to do that. And we really like the fact that you’re also recognizing those partners who are working hard every day with the customers to continue to help customers be successful.”

When the customers are successful, obviously their usage of AWS will go up. And when the usage of AWS goes up, we will compensate them. That’s the PGR that we recently rolled out — the Partner Growth Rebate. We are continuing to focus on the financial aspect of it to make it more compelling for partners to work with us, however, we prefer to spend more time with our partners to help them differentiate. And partners may not recognize or appreciate it, but we have a lot of people in our business who are spending real time working with those partners to help build the necessary solutions or help build the capabilities. And, of course, the partners also have to invest, but we’re investing real money to actually help them become differentiated. Hopefully they really see value in that, because we think it’s really valuable.

The financial aspects of it: It’s not just the rebates that we provide our partners. We have a lot of different go-to-market, sales-related programs and something like the Migration Acceleration Program (MAP). We see more and more partners who are leveraging MAP to go and grow new opportunities and close opportunities with their customers. And we made a change recently where we’re investing more into those partners for doing the initial work. Not only are we providing platform credits, but we’re also providing real cash to our partners for doing that work. And so the other programs like MAP or also what we call the Partner Opportunity Acceleration funding that we provide — these are all real money that we’re providing our partners to help them grow their business. There may be some partners who say that it’s not enough, but we hear from more and more partners who say, “You guys are really helping me build a profitable business.” It’s always sort of a balance, but I do think that we’re doing a lot for many of our partners to grow their business.

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