5 AWS Services And Money-Making Tips For Partners

Jared Reimer, president and founder of Cascadeo, an AWS premier consulting partner, breaks down five services and opportunities Amazon Web Services channel partners should be leveraging today.

Cascadeo’s Jared Reimer On Hot AWS Services And Customer Trends

Cascadeo was one of Amazon Web Services’ first certified channel partners, owning a wealth of knowledge about how to make the most money and best leverage AWS innovation in the market today as an MSP.

“AWS, more than anybody in the cloud world, has set the bar for innovation, engineering, scale, operations, platform breadth and depth. It’s amazing really—there’s nothing like it,” said Jared Reimer, president and founder of Cascadeo, which made CRN’s 2022 Elite MSP 150 list.

The Mercer Island, Wash.-based cloud DevOps specialist has been an AWS partner for over 15 years with over 200 certified professionals.

Founded in 2006, Cascadeo is a premier consulting partner on the AWS Partner Network with a huge focus on cloud migrations, automation, cloud optimization, infrastructure architecture and managed and professional services. The company recently doubled down on its Amazon partnership via a strategic collaboration with AWS aimed at accelerating enterprise and mid-market cloud adoption.

Cascadeo is providing a slew of value-added cloud services with expectations of growing its AWS business by “at least” 33 percent this year versus 2021.

AWS still has a substantial lead from a technology standpoint, in most regards, over the rest of the industry. They innovate in parallel at a speed that I rarely have seen ever, anywhere in the world,” said Reimer, an IT expert with over three decades of top industry experience. “They’re just getting started. I don’t think that AWS’ growth and uptake is unsustainable, I think it’s the opposite.”

Hot services include AWS Connect, an easy-to-use omnichannel cloud contact center service, and Amazon DevOps Guru, a machine learning-powered service that improves application operational performance and availability.

From offerings like AWS Connect and DevOps Guru to how to leverage the AWS Marketplace, Reimer tells CRN five red-hot AWS services and opportunities channel partners should be taking advantage of right now.

“Customers can procure Cascadeo services through the AWS Marketplace just as easily as they can by buying direct from us. If they do that, there’s this whole expedited workflow around procurement,” said Reimer.

DevOps Guru For ‘Flip-The-Switch’ Cloud Insights

AWS has a service called DevOps Guru. This is the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to cloud operations. So instead of building your own monitoring systems and alerting systems, then hiring engineers to watch them and interpret the results, and having engineering teams try to understand the relationships between different systems and different signals coming out of these monitoring systems—they’ve turned that into a ‘flip-the-switch’ service.

[With DevOps Guru] the customer can turn it on, and within a matter of a day or two, start getting insights about their cloud deployment.

It’s insights on different things like: How efficient is it? How’s your database performing? Are there bottlenecks? Are there things that are going to fail in the future that we can anticipate and take corrective action about? These insights are so powerful, and so valuable, and they save you so much time, money and toil, that you’d be silly not to buy it.

A lot of companies haven’t discovered this yet. It’s like continuing to fly the airplane by hand when there’s an autopilot button that can help radically reduce pilot workload. Yes, you still need the pilot, but the pilot doesn’t have to sit there and hand fly day in, day out and never make a mistake. So these kinds of tools and technologies are going to be massively powerful in the years ahead. We’re really seeing the tip of the iceberg with that.

AWS Connect Services

The technology behind AWS Connect is astounding because it combines artificial intelligence, machine learning, large training data sets, insights from other call center operations, and integrates Connect seamlessly with the rest of the platform.

So your ability to do really amazing things in voice and in text, went from, ‘It’s an oddball thing’ to ‘Everybody can do it if they’re on the platform.’ It’s an AWS service component that is telephony-centric.

Pretend you’re an airline. You call in and they can look up your flight, they can change your flight over the phone with a robot—all of that systems integration is really hard to do. AWS has made it another pluggable component in the AWS ecosystem. So if you’re building on their platform, and then one day you decide that you want to have voice interconnect with that, or SMS interconnect, or whatever—all of the primitives are already there to hook right into the framework. So instead of having to figure out how to glue your PDX to your legacy app, you just bolt on the service. Now your cloud app can interact with people and things out on the phone system and the networks.

For things like call centers, this is really amazing.

For example, it can do real-time analysis of the conversation between the call center worker and the customer. They can in real time, get a transcription of it, and even do sentiment analysis around: Was the customer happy? Were they sad? Were they angry? Were they yelling at the call center agent? Did they hang up in frustration? You can infer a lot about how that conversation went, even if you don’t read every word of the transcription, because there are indicators in the way we speak and the words we use that signal emotion.

So this is next level, because most call centers, at best, they just record these things and once in a while a supervisor listens to a recording at random. This is next level. This is real time data about how you’re doing, how your customers are feeling, etc.

Data Analytics Services ‘Is More Important Than Ever’

Most businesses need to become data-centric businesses where they understand the state of their business, their customers and their performance.

Like what the banks do with credit, is they know what credit card to offer you, when to make the offer, they know how much credit to pre-approve, they know what you’re likely to buy, they know when you’re ready to buy a bigger home—they can infer all of that through data. That’s why the credit card industry is sort of centered around that because you can profile the customer and offer them things that they might not have thought to ask for.

But more broadly, every business needs to have that kind of visibility because their competition will have it. So even if you’re not personally that interested in it, competitive pressure will force you to do it. So getting good at analytics now is critical.

Cloud platforms make that much easier because they give you all the primitives you need. You don’t have to go build your own Hadoop cluster and hire an army of data scientists to do the work.

If you use the platforms correctly, you can do it all in the sky. And you can do it with mere mortals instead of the very rare, true data scientist-type people that are in super high demand. So data analytics, AI, machine learning—that whole world is more important than ever, and it’s just getting started. That’s going to be an area of hyper growth for years to come.

Sell Services Via AWS Marketplace To Boost Speed

So the AWS Marketplace not only offers licenses, it offers professionally managed services. So customers can procure Cascadeo services through the AWS Marketplace, just as easily as they can by buying direct from us. If they do that, there’s this whole expedited workflow around procurement.

So if you’re already on AWS, which a huge percentage of companies are, it’s often easier to buy licenses and services through Marketplace because you’re already there. You’re not having to go onboard a new vendor. You’re not having to go through the whole contracting and approvals process to get a new vendor approved. So yeah, the AWS Marketplace is fantastic.

It wasn’t originally, I think, intended for services. I think it was really intended originally for product—like buying your software licenses or your virtual firewall appliances—that kind of thing. But we are in there. If you go into Marketplace and search for Cascadeo, you can find our offerings there and you can buy it right through AWS.

Adding Value On Top Of AWS Is Key

You have to add value on top of it. Reselling AWS is not enough. If you are used to the resale model, you can resell AWS. You can become a reseller and make margin on the resale of AWS services to your customers. But usually, you need to add some value to the customer to get them to want to do that rather than by direct.

Our strategy is we’re going to add value on top of it and give you things that you wouldn’t get if you bought direct from Amazon. So for example, we might give you complimentary consulting, like a well-architected review of your cloud architecture, cloud scalability and cloud cost efficiency. We would do that from the perspective of the customer, rather than from the cloud providers perspective—meaning we would help them spend less on cloud rather than more.

We offer our software platform, which is called Cascadeo.io, free to all of our resale customers. So they get a complex analytics and operations platform that they wouldn’t otherwise had known to buy or build or ask for. We deliver that at zero cost to them even if all they do is just buy AWS resale or even if they have no other relationship with us, like they don’t use professional services or managed services.

But Cascadeo at its core, the thing that makes us special is: cloud-first, cloud-native professional services and managed services.

Professional services is usually design, engineering, migration, automation, helping companies containerize, move workloads, automate deployments and re-architect for cloud. So that’s elite engineering.

For managed services, we do whatever the customer needs us to do. Usually that’s infrastructure operations, but sometimes it goes all the way up to application-level operations. We guarantee, through SLAs, a certain amount of application uptime and we are the primary responsible party for operating that application, scaling it, managing it, backing it up, patching it and deploying it.