AWS Partner GM: 5 New Offerings To ‘Accelerate’ Channel Sales

‘From a solution provider or reseller perspective, the opportunities are really endless,’ Jeff Kratz, general manager of AWS’ Worldwide Public Sector Partners and Programs tells CRN.

AWS’ Jeff Kratz: We’re Focusing On Channel ‘Simplification, Predictability And Profitability’

Amazon Web Services has unveiled five new channel partner offerings aimed at accelerating sales and customer deals in the public sector around containers, Internet of Things and more.

Jeff Kratz, general manager of AWS’ Worldwide Public Sector Partners and Programs, told CRN that there’s never been a better time to be an AWS channel partner.

“From a solution provider or reseller perspective, the opportunities are really endless,” said Kratz in an interview with CRN. “There’s no better time to be in the business than right now. … I had the opportunity to be a channel partner myself. The number of tools, resources, go-to-market activities, support, MDF and the customer demand right now is just staggering. Really, there is no better time to be involved in this business. I say that from a perspective of: the customers are hungry for solutions. They want to move with speed.”

Many of the new AWS solutions revolve around providing partners with new training, resources and accelerators to “accelerate” services sales and customer wins in the public sector—from federal and local governments to healthcare, said Kratz.

“We’re being very proactive in listening to what our partners are asking for on programs and on simplification,” he said. “The three big words that we keep on focusing on is simplification, predictability and profitability. That is what the focus for us is right now in the channel.”

The Seattle-based cloud leader is growing sales at high speed, now running at a whopping $74 billion annual run rate.

AWS recently reported first quarter sales of $18.4 billion, representing an increase of 37 percent year over year, as the cloud computing kingpin continues to drive revenue to new heights. Additionally, AWS reported operating income of $6.5 billion in the quarter, up from $4.2 billion for the same period one year before.

AWS’ Jeff Kratz helps break down five new offerings AWS recently unveiled that its more than 100,000-strong partner ecosystem should know about.

Solution Spark For Public Sector Partners Will ‘Jumpstart’ Sales

After a successful nine-month pilot, AWS is set to launch its new Solution Spark for Public Sector Partners program.

The new program provides training and resources to partners to build on top of AWS solutions to solve common customer problems in the public sector. Through Solution Spark for Public Sector Partners, the channel has access to new and developing solutions, promotion on AWS solution pages, and go-to-market support such as joint planning, marketing development funds (MDF) and sales support.

“Partners are going to be able to leverage all of these key assets to accelerate proof of concepts and accelerate customer deployment. Because customers perspectives have changed because of COVID,” said Kratz. “We’re seeing governments that act startups in so many different ways, and they want things now. They want to move with speed.”

The program, which goes into effect in July, aims at helping the channel build solutions that address public sector mission needs by providing partners the ability build on top of the AWS open-source software to jumpstart their solutions offerings.

“The core focus is to provide open-source software in key verticals areas—jumpstarting what a solution provider is offering locally. What we’re providing are the building blocks and the code to, first of all, help get them started. We include with that training, and the resources to build and further customized on top of AWS,” said Kratz.

Container Rapid Adoption Assistance

AWS’ new Container Rapid Adoption Assistance program offers technical expertise and hands-on guidance to partners to help accelerate container solution deployments on behalf of public sector customers.

“I am thrilled about this one because my solution architects at our partners got me so excited because there’s a big shift right now,” said Kratz. “They’re seeing a shift to containers from EC2 instances and more. What they were asking for is more technical assistance. So we’re providing that technical engagement on containers.”

Kraft says containerization provides a boost in application quality, portability, agility, security, fault isolation and efficiency.

“We want to provide the technical expertise to the channel on leading areas that we’re seeing customers shift—well in advance of customers moving at volume. So we’re seeing a shift with our customers already on containers,” he said. “We don’t have enough partners who really understand how their customers design applications with containers. So we’re providing that service to them.”

The new Container Rapid Adoption Assistance program comes after AWS’ successful 2020 rapid adoption program for artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as AWS’ 2021 Internet of Things (IoT) rapid adoption program.

Smart City Competency

AWS is launching a new Smart City Competency to deliver best-in-class partner recommendations to AWS customers and partner community to build and deploy innovative smart city solutions.

“Smart cities is something I’m really excited about because the number of workloads for smart cities just boggles the brain,” said Kraft. “It’s not just traffic automation, but also fleet management. So we’re seeing opportunities for operations and maintenance of a city fleet of cars to garbage pickups to academics. For example, instead of students having multiple devices and badges to get to the gym to the library and other places, there’s so much opportunities there for IoT in a campus.”

The new Smart City Competency will allow customers to quickly identify highly specialized AWS Partners who can help accelerate and optimize city reforms, improve quality of life for citizens, and drive economic growth.

“It’s a credential that they can cite as a differentiator in working with customers. It’s a focused area that we can bring the right technical programs, go-to-market activities, MDF, to help drive the demand locally for the shift that’s occurring,” said Kraft. “Also, it’s never just on the front part of the device, but the data that’s being generated for database migrations is staggering. In fact, we’ve seen over the last little bit of time—650,000 databases move to AWS from on-premise. So IoT is a leader for lots of different workloads which provide solution partners opportunity to drive incremental business.”

The new Smart City Competency will become available later this year.

Accelerated Development Framework Shortens From Up To Two Years To A Few Months

AWS’ worldwide public sector Accelerated Development Framework is being improved with the goal of condensing the timeframe for partners to become go-to-market ready from between 18 to 24 months into just four to six months.

Partners that leverage the company’s Amazon Partner Network (APN) Services and Software Paths achieving additional partner benefits.

“When we announced the different Software Paths and the opportunities with APN to unlock new benefits for the partners, things were taking a little bit longer. With all the best of intentions, they were taking on average of 18 to 24 months to get ready, to have the success, the technical abilities, the upskilling of resources, the go-to-market focus, and more. So what we did by listening to our partners, we wanted to simplify the opportunities. So that’s where the accelerated development framework really was born out of,” said Kratz.

The framework has now expanded to help more partners achieve this faster and even provides upskilling to AWS distributors to help more partners on their development journey.

“We’ve been really excited to see our partners accelerate their progress through the APN network upgrading to the more advanced tiers,” Kratz said. “Those partners who want to grow really fast, we’re putting the right expertise, the right programs together to accelerate the partner being able to go-to-market.”

Expanding The ATO On AWS Program To ‘Accelerate’ Government Wins

The company’s Authority to Operate (ATO) on AWS program helps channel partners obtain the accreditations needed and required to serve federal, state and local governments.

“The program itself is where we provide the technical assistance, the compliance assistance, the documentation, really taking [AWS’] twelve years of experience in understanding how cloud, specifically, gets authorized to meet the compliance standards for government to go ahead and buy it,” said Kratz. “So we channeled that over a decade of experience with the technical resources, with the capture and contract resources, to help our partners and accelerate that process so that they can self into it.”

The program helps AWS partners accelerate their ability to sell proactively to meet their public sector customers’ authorization needs in architecting, configuring, deploying and integrating tools and controls.

AWS is now expanding its ATO on AWS program to support every region around the globe including now in Canada, Australia and the U.K., to name a few.

Additionally, the company launched its Global Security and Compliance Acceleration (GSCA) initiative to expand the ATO on AWS Partner Program globally with localized security/compliance partners. It identifies partners in regions across the globe that have a core competency and capability to both support and accelerate AWS customers in their journey to meet differing public and private sector regulations and compliance frameworks.