AWS announces new partner startup program and new retail and public safety competencies

The new APN Global Startup program is aimed at ISV partners, as are changes to Marketplace policies. The new competencies impact both consulting and ISV partners.

Doug Yeum onstage

LAS VEGAS – Wednesday was Global Partner Summit Day at AWS Re:Invent, and Doug Yeum, who became the new head of worldwide channels and alliances at AWS in July, made his first Re:Invent appearance in the channel chief role. While Yeum also talked at length with ChannelBuzz about his philosophies and plans in his new position, during the keynote he laid out what’s new for partners, and re-emphasized AWS’ commitment to them.

“Partners have been a key part of AWS since the early days, but no one could have anticipated how the APN [Amazon Partner Network] has grown,” he told the audience. “We have tens of thousands of consulting partners and tens of thousands of technology partners. We are adding 50 new partners a day.”

Yeum reviewed some of the key new product announcements made the previous day, and noted the scale of channel opportunities around them.

“Partners will come up with innovative ideas around new services like Wavelength [which embeds storage and compute at the edge for 5G networks],” he said. “New business models will be based on this.

“The key takeaway for partners is that wherever you are located, whatever your specialty, there are so many types of opportunities for all of you to grow your business,” Yeum emphasized. “APN partners help customers transform, and the  most successful partners use APN programs to transform.

Yeum then publicly announced the new APN Global Startup program, which he said would help ISV startups achieve their aspirations much more rapidly. 270 partners are already in the program at launch. Yeum indicated that three criteria are required for membership.

“First, they need to have Series A funding or later from a top VC fund,” he said. “Second, they need to run on AWS, with at least one product in GA. And third, they need to make sure that the executive team is committed to the process.”

“The APN Global Startup program is an important program,” Yeum told ChannelBuzz later. “Startups are a different type of partner. Their business is different. They have smaller teams. They have a focus on trying to get to market, and they need support from APN to help them be successful. If we treat them like any other ISV, they may think they will not get value. So doing it this way with them is one of the ways that we are trying to innovate.”

“With this program, we want to help shepherd startups through APN and make sure they are aligned to co-selling resellers,” said Kelly Hartman, Global Head of the AWS Partner Network, whose team builds and runs the global APN programs. “Every partner in the Startup program gets a partner development rep assigned in 24 hours, and works out a business plan that is reviewed annually.”

Dave McCann VP AWS Migration, Marketplace, & Control Services, reviewed recent changes to AWS Marketplace which impact partners, and also made a couple of new announcements.

“Two weeks ago, we launched AWS Data Exchange built on top of Marketplace,” he said. This brings the same kind of benefits to the data industry what Marketplace brought to ISVs, with over 140 data products from wide range of industries and use cases being listed.

“Qualified data providers can reach AWS customers without needing to build and maintain data storage delivery or billing systems,” he emphasized.

McCann then announced some new Marketplace initiatives.

“With new Seller Private Offers for all ISVs, we are now making private offers available to all ISVs as of today,” he said. “ISVs and customers can negotiate custom pricing and terms that are fulfilled in the Marketplace. We are also announcing a new  AWS Marketplace Private Offer fee reduction of 10%.” Consulting Partner Private Offer enhancements were also announced, allowing consulting partners to create Private Offers on the fly, and giving sellers the option of providing Consulting partners wholesale pricing.

Yeum then announced an expansion to the AWS Service Delivery program, which was launched in 2016 to allow consulting partners to identify their specialties. The new AWS Service Ready Program is an integration program which lets customers know what partner software is compatible with AWS services.

“It is designed to reduce time customers spend finding the right partner product,” he said. “Partners receive promotion on AWS service pages and are highlighted to our field service teams.” 24 designations are available through the program to show customers what products are well integrated.

Yeum also unveiled a new addition to the AWS Competency Program.

“We have had customer requests for information about partners with a competency around retail,” he said. Our new AWS Retail Competency will let customers discover products with increased confidence.” Key benefits for partners include promotion in the AWS solution finder, to AWS field sellers, and additional GTM funding.

“We started our Competency Program in 2016, and it was based on a high bar, and demonstration of proven customer success rather than certifications,” Hartman said. “Customer references and technical validation are required. The number of partners with competencies is smaller than in some other companies, because we are looking for people to recommend to our sales teams. It’s not a tiered program – just the best.”

One final new competency was announced by Sandy Carter, AWS VP responsible helping companies leverage their Microsoft assets. The AWS Public Safety &Disaster Response Competency is for consulting partners with a focus around emergency services around preparation, response and recovery. 17 partners have already qualified for the competency.

“This is differentiated from standard disaster response,” Hartman said. “The original concept was around organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross, and partners pointed out its applicability to other areas like hospitals. We had nothing specific in this area before.”

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