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AWS NZ's new Kiwi boss ramps up channels, welcomes Rackspace

AWS NZ's new Kiwi boss ramps up channels, welcomes Rackspace

AWS welcomes partner Rackspace and its "modern managed services" to NZ

Nick Walton (AWS)

Nick Walton (AWS)

Credit: AWS

Fresh from running AWS' ASEAN region for four years, Nick Walton returned home in January to manage the local business only to run straight into the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Amazon Web Services' (AWS) new NZ managing director, Walton returned with an agenda: to further build AWS' New Zealand channels and partnerships, which he described as a "pivotal part of the business".

Walton told Reseller News during the AWS Summit Online conference last week that the channel was how the company was going to service customers.

"I had an opportunity over last few months to meet with partners – there are some some sensational partners with very strong capabilities," he said.

AWS had doubled down in that area and is investing in teams, programmes and channels.

Walton said AWS' Marketplace was one example, providing Kiwi ISVs with a new global channel to market.

I'm really excited about what that does for those companies," Walton said. Companies like Aportio can now get a channel to market globally with 260,000 unique visitors a month."

The programme comes at a key time, with software exports and technology exports even more pivotal to help New Zealand recover after the pandemic, he added.

Walton said Marketplace was much more than a brochure, with AWS "absolutely" co-selling and helping ISVs go to market both domestically and internationally.

Walton has now been with AWS for nine years after shifting across from Microsoft in 2011. He started in Australia as regional sales manager before winning promotion to lead the AWS enterprise business and then again to lead ASEAN.

Over that time, he has seen cloud evolve from the early days when it was about elastic infrastructure – that attracted early Kiwi customers such as e-commerce company Fishpond.

That evolution has seen cloud become much more with the convergence of micro services, modern development practices such as DevOps and cloud. 

"When those three things came together, six or eight years ago, it was a huge leap forward for companies to develop software and innovate and experiment at a pace not previously possible," Walton said.

The pace of change has certainly not slowed, with the deployment of next generation applications such as AI, voice and computer vision among a huge catalogue of cloud-based services.

For customers, that evolution still provides three different ways and reasons to engage with AWS.

"It's really exciting being back in NZ and seeing that democratisation of technology. You can leverage AWS’ scale and innovative services we deliver and it doesn’t matter whether you are in Invercargill or Mosgiel or Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, you have access to the same cutting edge tech as people in the Bay area, Israel or London," Walton said.

"For me what's really exciting is seeing that combination of Kiwi ingenuity with that democratised access to the scale and capability of AWS. It's a potent mix and you see amazing things happen."

Familiar companies such as Xero and Soul Machines have been experiencing those benefits for a while but others are now as well, including Orion Health which is using the power of the cloud to pivot and address the challenges presented by the current pandemic.

Another customer, Customer Radar, is using AWS to develop a contactless check in capability to allow people to sign into a retail store from their own device rather than a shared one.

One other potentially significant development is the arrival of Rackspace on these shores earlier this month.

Rackspace already claimed 119 customers in New Zealand, including the likes of Kathmandu and Carters.

In addition to offering support to its existing customer network and fostering and strengthening new channel relationships, Rackspace plans to go to market as an "unbiased strategic adviser" on the best cloud platforms for specific business needs .

"We are also focused on building relationships with any vendors or resellers who would like to take the Rackspace solutions to market either directly or in collaboration with us throughout New Zealand," newly appointed country manager Ian Kerr said.

Walton described Rackspace as a great partner of AWS.

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