Every day, AWS adds 50 new partners to Amazon Partner Network. In last five years, the channel strength has grown five-fold, with several traditional and global SIs and ISVs joining the stream for amplifying the cloud story for AWS
The world’s biggest provider of cloud computing services and Amazon’s profitable division – having a growth rate of 35 per cent and an annual revenue run rate of US$36 billion – Amazon Web Services (AWS) recently concluded eighth edition of the industry’s largest cloud computing conference, re:Invent 2019. With over 65,000 attendees including technology enthusiasts, developers, consultants, technology partners and start-up, 2500 sessions were held at the week-long conference, held in Las Vegas. The scale of the event is getting bigger, which reflects the base of AWS in enterprise, for its cloud offerings across the world.
With millions of customers globally using AWS’ advanced infrastructure, storage, and compute services, this year, two big financial and healthcare giants Goldman Sachs and Cerner Corporation made their presence felt and shared their journey to the cloud.
In a three-hour keynote, Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS announced a plethora of services across its portfolio, covering compute, storage, infrastructure, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Emerging technologies like ML, AI and 5G were among the top discussed ones as he believes that every application and workload will be infused with these technologies. He also made a bold statement that modern companies are not looking for on-premise, paid software licenses and database software and solutions from Microsoft and Oracle. With companies betting big on digital transformation and embracing cloud, AI and ML, AWS is looking at expanding its geographical foorprint and opening new zones, so it can reach out to newer companies and help in their digital transformation journey.
Jassy also reiterated that contribution of AWS’ channel partners and start-ups has been phenomenal in the last five years.
Holistically, AWS has availability of over 175 global services and platforms. With the announcement of new services and enhancements into existing services at re:Invent, each market and country – including India – will see the roll-out of the same in the next six months.
APN gets bigger and stronger
Interestingly, AWS has also seen a big shift among traditional and established global SIs and regional ISVs, who have joined AWS Cloud in the last 18-24 months, and have become AWS’ consulting and technology partners, informed Doug Yeum, Head of AWS Worldwide Channels and Alliances, at the Global Partner Summit Keynote.
With the new services, AWS expects its channel to invest and innovate more with AWS cloud solutions and support customers in digital transformation and growing their businesses. Empathising with the hard work and challenges faced by SIs in building a technology company, he assured partners that AWS is committed to making investment in partners’ success. Some of its leading consulting and technology partners under APN, such as Alfresco,Velocity, F5, Tyler Technologies, App Associates and Amdocs shared their success stories on how they are innovating their businesses, at the same time, helping customers leverage technology and innovate digitally with AWS.
On the partner front, AWS is not only adding born-on-the-cloud and new league of service partners, but also the established and leading partners. This has accelerated the growth of cloud for AWS. Presently, AWS caters to a diversified group of partners, covering established SIs, VARs, public sector partners and management consulting companies.
“Partners have been a key part of our business strategies from the beginning. We did not anticipate such rapid growth of APN when we launched it in 2012. Over the years, we have added numerous consulting and technology partners – an average of 50 new partners every day across the world,” added Yeum, who has been associated with AWS for last six years in different roles. He believes India is a hub for large SIs, ISVs and start-ups that are well established in major markets. Yeum is looking at expanding the partner network and evolving traditional partners to transform digitally.
With cloud being a new norm among SMBs and large enterprises, large SIs and ISVs from India are now becoming AWS partners. Today, not just born-on-the-cloud partners like Blazeclan and ISVs like Druva, even large, established GSIs such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS are working with the AWS.
“We are seeing diversification in APN and more partners are joining it. When we started APN, the vast majority of consulting partners were born-on-the-cloud SIs like Blazeclan, Cloudreach, Classmethod and Megazone. However, now the network has evolved and includes next-gen MSPs,” he continues.
Acknowledging that cloud is transformative and key to enterprise, these large GSIs have started moving their traditional on-premise customers onto cloud. “I expect GSIs will accelerate investment and more such partners will emerge from India. Partners like to work with AWS, because we are customer-obsessed. We don’t ask our partners to sell more in the mid of quarters. We work backward with customers and partners,” he remarks.
Sharing the channel perspective, Milind Borate, Co-Founder & CTO, Druva – one of the Saas based ISVs offering data protection as-a-service on AWS Cloud for the last 10 years – says, “Druva has over 4,000 customers in the US, Europe, and Asia. Our go-to-market strategy involves working together with AWS and its consulting partners and ISVs for giving complete data protection and data recovery to public cloud users.”
Borate added that enterprises in India have not fully gone on public cloud; however, mutual funds and insurance companies have seen good success. “Since the total cost of ownership is much lower in cloud compared to on-premise solutions, we guarantee 50 per cent savings to our customers. Today, less than 10 per cent of our customers are on premise and majority is on cloud,” added Borate.
The core focus of re:Invent 2019 for partners was on three big blocks: Service innovations, geographic footprint expansion and enterprise workload migration opportunities for partners.
New services hail innovation
The pace of innovations at AWS is not slowing down. Currently, it has over 175 services for customers; and every time AWS launches new service, it brings new opportunities for partners. New services like Wavelength, Outposts, Amazon Braket, Amazon Connect, Sage maker Studio and Data Exchange are some of the examples of futuristic services which will push its partners to start innovating and build deep skills around quantum computing, 5G networks and bring more potential for customer growth.
Geo expansion-workloads migration
Customers get excited when AWS enters new regions, as it enables its partners and customers to work more closely and avail services locally. The primary objective of AWS in addition of more regions is to tap enterprises across industries, pushing them start working with AWS and move away from legacy enterprise applications like SAP, VMware, Windows and Oracle, to AWS Cloud.
Giving an example of how AWS has been migrating SAP on-premise workloads to cloud since 2011 with the help of its partners, Yeum says, “Today, we have 5,000 customers using SAP on AWS. We have more customers than any cloud providers. Our wide network of partners has fuelled this growth in SAP migrations. We have wide SAP based HANA service offerings. These investments will lead to new businesses for our partners.”
The key take-away for partners, Yeum pointed out, “Wherever partners are located with expertise, there are many different types of opportunities for all of them to grow with AWS. In my opinion, the biggest opportunity lies in helping customers with their digital transformation journeys, so they can take better advantage of all the innovations that AWS brings to the market.”
Right tools for right job and right partners
With the right tools for the right job, AWS also gives more importance to the right partners. One of the reasons why customers choose to go through APN is that APN helps in identifying the right consulting and technology partners, having dedicated AWS experts, industry and AWS service specialisation, IPs and customers success stories.
“As AWS grows, we will continue to be customer-focused. Ninety per cent of what we build is driven by what matters to customers; whereas, the other 10 per cent includes things we hear from customers. They may not be able to articulate exactly what they want, but we try to read between the lines and invent on their behalf,” Yeum asserted.
AWS in India
While globally, AWS is cracking new grounds for its cloud from mid to large enterprises and startups, back home the cloud story remains steady and growing. Navdeep Manaktala, Director & Head – Digital Native Business, Amazon Internet Services, shared that today AWS Cloud is being used by hundreds of thousands of active customers in India for a broad range of applications, including website hosting, big data analytics, AI, ML, IoT, social games, mobile applications, e-commerce platforms, and running mission-critical business applications like SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft.
The breadth and depth of AWS services have been growing. Manaktala said, “Our Mumbai region will start seeing the roll-out of new services within over the next six months. In the past, our conversation was around storage, compute, networking and database. Now, it has changed to analytics, IoT and cloud.”
There’s a lot of traction in terms of analytics. Citing an example, he informed that Delhivery, one of the largest e-commerce logistics companies in the country, is built all-in on AWS. This is a good example of how analytics is being built on AWS. Lastly, as the cloud journey for AWS keeps getting bigger and deeper with its customers, winning and retaining partners’ trust is also becoming critical. With the launch of new services, competency capabilities for partners and startups, and renewed partner focus, the growth of channel ecosystem will be one of the key pillars of AWS Cloud’s success.
Focus and roadmap for partners
The fireside chat between Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS and Doug Yeum, Head of AWS Worldwide Channels and Alliances, sets the tone and way forward for the channel
Yeum: How important are partners to AWS and how do you see them evolve over the time
Jassy: Since the start of our services, partners have been very strategic to our business. Our customers want to move to cloud with the software they are using and take advantage of new software. They need support in migration to a new world of data. We have a deep focus, working with partner ecosystems, in order to evolve their businesses. It’s a very broad and diverse ecosystem. Our partners have helped customers to move quickly to our services.
Yeum: You have been talking about digital transformation. How can partners think of transforming themselves?
Jassy: In my opinion, senior leaders have to prioritise, as you cannot do everything. You have to make hard decisions for transforming and take a leadership role, take top-down aggressive goals. Some of our top partners made decisions that have changed businesses. Many companies have to think of what they are great at. There are lots of opportunities for our partners to help customers in modernising applications, mass migrations, building data lakes, landing zones, helping customers move away from mainframes, and transition from Windows to Linux. Partners know customers well, which makes them instrumental in helping them move to new technology platforms.
Yeum: What are the top new services partners that should focus on?
Jassy: Companies with modern technology capabilities are not running vast majority of applications workloads using a relational database. They are setting up data lakes, data stores, and the right analytics tools. Tools are now available to help your customers in building ML model and help them in their production. Apart from that, IoT, analytics, ML on the edge are some of the key areas where partners should start exploring new avenues.