AWS has trained nearly 5.5 million people on cloud skills in India:Praveen Sridhar, Head of Partner Business, AWS India and South Asia

Praveen Sridhar

In this insightful interview with CRN India, Praveen Sridhar, Head of Partner Business, AWS India and South Asia, discusses the critical role India plays in AWS’s global strategy. Sridhar sheds light on AWS’s significant investments in the region, the company’s strategic initiatives to support Indian enterprises and SMBs, and the innovative programmes designed to foster successful partnerships. From the launch of the Mumbai and Hyderabad regions to the introduction of cutting-edge generative AI platforms like Amazon Bedrock and Amazon Q, AWS is dedicated to empowering the Indian community and businesses in their digital transformation journey.

Can you provide an overview of AWS’s strategy and investments in India, and explain how these efforts are helping to drive digital transformation for Indian businesses and the community?

I just want to give you a view of what we in AWS are doing here in India. For us, India is not just a focus market; it’s a critical market in terms of our investments and in terms of what we can do for the Indian community and businesses to digitally transform. This is also reflected in the manner in which our investments are flowing into the country. We launched our Mumbai region back in 2016 and our Hyderabad region in late 2022. Between 2016-2022, we have made over $3.7 billion in investments and will continue to invest in India. We have made a commitment of almost $12.7 billion of investments until 2030. This not only reflects the potential of India in terms of adopting technology but also showcases the intent and commitment from AWS in being a partner on that journey.

From our perspective, Indian enterprises and SMBs are adopting technology ubiquitously, which is also reflected in the way many of our generative AI platforms like Amazon Bedrock and Amazon Q are being invested in. Today, you would have noticed that Amazon Bedrock was launched in our Mumbai region. This is going to be a game changer for many companies, especially partners. From a partnership perspective, partners are our foremost and most important force multiplier. We believe that partners have the ability to bring in their industrial knowledge, use case knowledge, and use our technologies to innovate and deliver solutions to our customers. We continue to invest with our partners, and I’m really looking forward to any questions you might have on this topic.

How does AWS prioritise investing in its partners to foster successful businesses, and what specific initiatives or resources does it offer to support their growth?

Amazon has a partner network programme called the APN programme. Within that programme, there are different investment levers available for migration of workloads onto the cloud and modernisation of workloads. Partners can earn competencies, helping them differentiate themselves for particular industrial use scenarios or solution use scenarios. For example, one of the latest competencies is around generative AI. A partner in India, Shellkode, was one of the first to acquire that competency. Since then, they have built many solutions boosting personal productivity, such as an email assistant with multilingual support, Invoice IQ, and a negotiation assistant, which can be adopted by companies that sell over the phone. Shellkode aims to help Indian enterprises and SMBs adopt these technologies and will work with AWS to take them to a global market.

We also have a programme called ISV Accelerate for companies with B2B technology products. They can list their products on the AWS marketplace and seek support from Amazon’s selling community, salespeople, or solution architects to jointly go to a customer and resolve a requirement or solution. We also enter into strategic collaboration agreements with partners who have a long-term view towards solving particular business problems or solutions. For instance, we recently signed an agreement with Rapyder to build out migration and modernisation use cases and generate AI solutions. Another agreement with Minfy Technologies aims to unlock $500 million of business value, focusing on migration, modernisation of platforms, and building generative AI applications for a global market.

AWS in India continues to invest in both technology companies and solution system integrators or consulting partner companies, taking their solutions from India to the world.

Can you provide insights into AWS’s current partner engagement model and the various programmes available for partners to collaborate and thrive within the AWS ecosystem?

The umbrella programme under which we operate is the Amazon Partner Network. Within this, we have competency programmes, the ISV Accelerate programme, a marketplace solution, and the SaaS Factory programme. Indian SaaS companies are gaining traction globally, and we help these companies build architectures and platforms to sell their solutions as SaaS-based products.

Ensuring that partner teams are trained, skilled, and certified on the latest technologies is crucial. AWS has trained nearly 5.5 million people on cloud skills in India. With generative AI becoming more important, through our AI-ready commitment, Amazon plans to train about 2 million individuals globally. We invest in skill development and certification, offering certification voucher programmes to registered partners.

We encourage partners to identify the competency they want to excel in, whether it’s an industry or solution area competency. We provide training programmes, vouchers, and facilities to train their people. For example, HCL Technologies improved developer productivity using our product, Amazon CodeWhisperer, adopted by 50,000 developers within HCL. We also invest in Cloud Centres of Excellence, like the one developed by IBM, and customer innovation hubs, partnering with teams to take AWS solutions to market.

What are the key features and advantages of Amazon Q for both customers and partners, and how does it contribute to enhancing collaboration and efficiency within the AWS community?

Glad to know that Amazon Q has caught your attention. Our generative AI thought process is very comprehensive. Today, generative AI is seen as a transformative but complex and possibly expensive technology to adopt. We aim to demystify and simplify it for easier adoption by breaking it down into three layers.

The first layer is the foundational layer of compute, as generative AI requires a large amount of compute. We have released chipsets like Trainium and Inferentia to make training and inferencing on models more performant and cost-effective. The second layer is the middle layer with services like Amazon Bedrock, which helps orchestrate the use of various large language models and foundational models. The third layer is what the user sees, where Amazon Q operates. Amazon Q uses Amazon Bedrock as its middle layer and Trainium and Inferentia for its compute needs. It serves as a personal productivity assistant for business people and developers, helping them build routine, undifferentiated code. AWS aims to make expensive, complex technologies accessible and intends to do the same with generative AI.


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