Content, Channel partner events, Channel partner programs, Channel partners, CSPs, IT distribution, MSP

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Program: SaaS, ISV, MSP Moves Emerge

Amazon's Terry Wise

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner program is getting a massive influx of investment to help fuel cloud growth, the company announced during AWS re:Invent 2017 in Las Vegas.

The investment includes new features for AWS Marketplace to simplify buying and deploying third-party software on AWS. The announcement also included a new AWS Partner Network (APN) programs to help consulting partners and help bolster the SaaS business for independent software vendors (ISVs).

Among the key takeaways: A majority of Fortune 500 companies and more than 90 percent of the Fortune 100 organizations use APN Partners, Amazon asserted.

“In fact, in the past year we have added more than 10,000 new APN Partners to the APN, and more than 160 thousand active AWS customers are using software from AWS Marketplace,” Terry Wise, VP of global alliances for Amazon Web Services, said in a prepared statement.  “To support this growth, we are continuing to invest heavily in the APN Program to ensure that AWS customers have access to the best software and services for AWS and so that our partners can continue to build successful cloud businesses on AWS.”

Side note: ChannelE2E is meeting with Terry Wise at 6:30 p.m. ET today (Wednesday, Nov. 29). Stay tuned for a recap of that interview.

Already, AWS's massive network includes more than 4,300 software listings from more than 1,280 software sellers across 35 categories.

SaaS Push

AWS seems intent on helping partners move to a cloud-based as-a-Service model, having recently added SaaS contracts to the platform. The company recently introduced the ability for sellers to provide private, customer-specific offers. Now, to add to that feature, they’ve rolled out an agreed upon standardized contract template for enterprise level buyers and sellers. The goal is to resolve terms surrounding things like liability, dispute resolution, IP protection, and warranty. Enterprise Contract for AWS Marketplace is currently available for preview to interested enterprise customers.

Adding to that, the new AWS SaaS Factory includes guidance for companies looking to build SaaS solutions on AWS, including training and guidance tools.

The SaaS Accelerate Program will provide support for lead generation and customer proof-of-concepts, as well as additional resources. Both the AWS SaaS Factory and SaaS Accelerate Program will be available early next year.

Updates and Incentives

New features also include Private Image Build, which enables customers to build and run their own custom Amazon Machine Images, combining their own operating system images with installable software from the AWS Marketplace.

There are also a number of new incentive programs. The old Channel Reseller Program is being replaced with The AWS Solution Provider Program in early 2018. It will offer a new, tiered incentive structure that rewards APN consulting partners who demonstrate innovation in areas like migration, managed service provider, and/or DevOps. The program also provides more flexible contracting and support options for APN Partners in key competency areas.

The AWS Competency Program, which identifies partners who demonstrate technical proficiency and customer success in specific workloads, industries, or solutions, is being expanded. Current categories include things like IoT, DevOps, Big Data, Education, Financial Services and more. Now, Networking and Machine Learning have been added to that list.

Partner Program Alternatives

At first glance, the massive AWS re:Invent conference suggests the entire world -- including partners -- is moving to Amazon. Still, a lengthy list of channel-friendly companies has built channel-friendly SaaS marketplaces to help partners find, source, deploy and bill for applications.

Key channel-centric movers include Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, and smaller upstarts like Pax8. Moreover, ConnectWise is building out a software development kit that will ultimately expose more MSP-centric applications in the company's app store.

Still, there's no denying the size and scale of Amazon's own partner efforts. Plus, many of the partners here at AWS re:Invent have their own intellectual property and coding know-how -- two things that many traditional VARs and MSPs lack.

All AWS re:Invent News: Catch more AWS re:Invent conference news & analysis here.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.