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AWS gears up to take A/NZ partners global

Data and analytics, the SMB segment and industry collaboration are other primary concerns for AWS this year.
Davinia Simon (AWS)

Davinia Simon (AWS)

Last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS) threw open the doors to its far-reaching marketplace for local partners and independent software vendors (ISVs) to sell their products and services to a global audience. This year, the company is working to take local players to the world. 

In fact, helping local partners to go global is one of the key “themes” of this year for AWS' head of channel and alliances in Australia and New Zealand, Davinia Simon, who highlights this particular role of AWS in the local market as being ‘critical’ to its overall vision as a company.

“I think deeply about how our AWS Partner Network (APN) can deliver the kind of impact that will put them on a global stage,” Simon told ARN. “I think that’s a critical part of the vision: how do we help our partners go global with AWS?”

In fact, AWS has actually been working to help partners and ISVs in A/NZ go global for a while. In April last year, the cloud giant's move to open its marketplace to ISVs in A/NZ gave those local organisations instant access to a market of 260,000 global end-users.

Australian ISVs including Cloudwave, Dubber, Farrago AI, Raygun, Aportio, Javln, Operata and Versent's Stax subsidiary were among the first regional partners to make their software available on the marketplace.   

In New Zealand, ISVs such as Raygun and Aportio featured on the marketplace from the 3 April launch date, while local AWS specialist Consegna joined as a consulting partner.

While some companies in Australia and New Zealand had already been able to list their services on AWS Marketplace, this was previously only possible if they had entities in the US, the EU or the UK.

The local launch marked the first time that A/NZ ISVs and consulting partners not registered in other regions had access to the AWS Marketplace and AWS Data Exchange.

Moreover, in early December last year, AWS further expanded local access to its marketplace, letting AWS customers find and purchase professional services through a curated catalogue of software, data and services that run on AWS.

New Zealand AWS partner Consegna once again got in early, becoming a foundation provider of quoting and contracting services in the AWS Marketplace.

In Australia, AWS cloud consulting partner Versent was named as a launch partner for the new professional services expansion of the AWS Marketplace.

Combined, these expansions to the AWS Marketplace gave A/NZ partners unprecedented access to AWS’ global audience, an opening to the global market that Simon hopes to leverage further this year.

Among four key themes comprising Simon’s primary areas of focus this year is the desire to help local partners go global. For context, the other themes she wants to push in 2021 are data and analytics, the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) segment and industry collaboration, of which she hopes to see more.

“The four key themes will form a large part of the way that we’ll focus [in 2021], and so we’ll focus on data and analytics, and particularly look at how that can affect the kind of customer experience that our [partners] can offer,” Simon said. “[And we’ll] look at SMB and how we help with our AWS partners to transform SMBs across Australia and New Zealand.

“We’ll look at more industry collaboration; how we can bring that joint expertise to bear, in order to help organisations accelerate their cloud migration journeys,” she added. “And then finally, helping our partners go global, that will continue to be important for us, because it really does have an impact.” 

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Simon, who took over the A/NZ channel and alliances leadership duties when former AWS head of partnerships and alliances Corrie Briscoe stepped into a regional Asia Pacific and Japan role in May last year, has made it very clear that she wants to keep partners at the centre of what AWS does – a factor that should come as little surprise, given the role partners play in AWS’ overall business model.

“One of the things we’re doing is organising ourselves around the partner,” she said. “We do that very deliberately to enhance the partner experience and to make it easy for partners to work with AWS, and we’ll continue to strive to provide the optimal partner experience and we’ll strive for partnering excellence. That’s certainly one thing that we will build on even further in 2021.”

Certainly, the opportunity that last year’s AWS Marketplace expansions affords is just one of the ways the vendor is working to put local partners in the spotlight.

More broadly, Simon said AWS would continue to organise around partners, continue to focus on the partner experience and continue to focus on making it easy for partners to work with AWS wherever it can.  

“We can do that by [using] an operating model where we are taking insights now from the customers and sharing those customers, from the field and what we’re hearing from those customers directly with our partners” she said.

From Simon’s perspective, this approach gives AWS the insight to help it inform exactly where its partners need to spend time, spend their energy and focus on building out the solutions that are meaningful to drive top customer outcomes.  

However, while partners are core to AWS’ activities locally, that doesn't mean that its customer focus has waned in any way. Far from it.  

“We’re never going to change being customer-obsessed, and I certainly will continue to listen to what our customers are telling us,” Simon said.  

And AWS customers are telling the company they want three things, according to Simon: they want to accelerate innovation; they want to increase their agility; and they want to drive down cost savings.

“And we recognise, broadly, across the A/NZ business that it’s our AWS Partner Network that helps our customers do just that, so we feel, and I feel very strongly, that we have to continue to think about that; we have to help our customers be successful, but we’ve got to put a focus on how we deliver outcomes that are meaningful for our customers.  

“It’s not about the size of the project, it’s about the impact of the outcome, and I’m particularly interested in partners that share that long-term belief in customer success, that will continue to be our north star,” she added.