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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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One of the things that was brought up is AWS’ “escalation culture,” which partners said can hurt their brands internally with AWS. If there’s an issue and a customer gets worried, it gets escalated with AWS regional sales leaders, and partners become collateral damage. They asked for a clear escalation process where the partner gets notified first.

The partner is right for saying that we do have a culture of escalating fast inside the company, because we think moving fast is important, especially around escalation. There are many organizations where the speed of communication and how quickly it travels within the organization for good news is really fast, but (for) bad news is really slow. We would prefer to have bad news travel faster than good news in our company, because that’s the only way we continue to get better.

The escalation culture is that we know that speed matters to our business, we know that speed matters to our partners and to our customers. And so, whenever we see issues that remotely provide a signal of a customer not having a great experience, we would much rather know that and (have that become) a false positive than having false negatives. We say it’s okay for our sales teams and for my organization, too, (to say), “Hey, escalate.” And if it turns out that it wasn’t really an issue, it’s okay. We would much rather err on that side, than not hearing about it at all.

But for the partners to say that they weren’t notified of it before it was escalated, then I think we just have to be more thoughtful about making sure that the person who’s escalating makes it clear to the partner that we’re sharing this information internally. I would say, generally…there may be some instances where things were moving so quickly that we just didn’t take the time to communicate to our partners. But…in the vast majority of the cases, we are communicating, and we train our partner development managers who are managing these partners and also the field teams, that, “Hey, we work as one team.” It’s not like us versus them. It’s one team when we go in front of our customer. So as one team, we have to make sure that we’re always communicating well together. That feedback is helpful, because then we’re able to understand that we have room for improvement and we’ll continue to get better at it. But again, I will say that we like the culture of escalation inside Amazon.

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