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Kiwi partners ponder what a new AWS CEO will mean for the channel

Some things might change, others may stay the same.
  • Leon Spencer (New Zealand Reseller News)
  • 05 February, 2021 16:29
Andy Jassy (AWS)

Andy Jassy (AWS)

As Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andy Jassy prepares to take the reins from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, local partners are considering what it will be like dealing with the world’s largest cloud provider under its next leader.

Amazon’s impending leadership transition looks set to bring forth perhaps the most meaningful crossroads for the company since its founding, but how things will shake down for partners of its cloud services subsidiary remains to be seen.

Jassy has been at the helm of AWS from the very beginning, building it up to become the undisputed leader in the cloud infrastructure market. And it’s been in the lead for a long, long time. What’s more, it remains so far ahead of its closest two competitors, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, that it’s likely to remain the top provider for a while.

As yet, no replacement for Jassy has been publicly named. But it is clear that whoever comes in to lead AWS once Jassy takes on Bezos’ job in the third quarter of 2021 will have some big boots to fill and an incredible history of growth and innovation to live up to.  

For Consegna Cloud managing director John Taylor, the departure of Jassy from direct leadership of AWS could in fact result in more, not less, of a focus on Amazon’s cloud business as the architect behind its rise turns his attention to its parent company’s broader business.  

“With his roots in the cloud, we are confident that Jassy will continue to grow the Amazon cloud platform as part of its core business model and continue to invest in cloud innovation,” Taylor told Reseller News.  

“Andy Jassy’s appointment to CEO is further proof of Amazon’s ability to pivot and propel forward.  

“He shaped Amazon Web Services from its inception, ensuring the customer obsession of Amazon was a fundamental driver for what has become the world's largest cloud technology business,” he added.  

John Taylor (Consegna)Credit: Consegna
John Taylor (Consegna)

Taylor suggested that AWS’ recent movements in A/NZ, such as the launch of its first AWS CloudFront content delivery network edge locations in Auckland late last year and the addition of new Availability Zones in Australia, is testament to the company’s continued growth strategy for the region and hopefully foreshadows what will come next from AWS under new leadership.

From the perspective of Mike Jenkins, founder and CEO of cloud and IT managed service provider The Instillery, AWS is still only just getting started on its path do market dominance, regardless of its tenure as the world leader the cloud infrastructure space.

So, what might that mean for local partners?

Jenkins hopes to see a continuation of the tone that has been set by Jassy during the years he has guided AWS from a fledgling operator to a major force in the world of tech.  

“For the AWS channel ecosystem and market penetration spearheaded by the likes of The Instillery here and in Australia, we hope that Andy's legacy of disruption and anti-protectionism continue to be elevated as a key priority for Amazon Web Services,” Jenkins said.  

And Jenkins has some advice for whoever steps into the role soon to be vacated by Jassy: focus on the regions.

“We're excited by this new chapter and will work closely alongside our strategic partners at Amazon Web Services both here in Aotearoa and across the globe as the new leadership is appointed,” he said. “One thing is clear, though, the hyperscale cloud arms race is already leaving many of the traditional local players behind.

“So, alongside Microsoft’s recent DC [data centre] investment in Aotearoa, a substantial commitment from AWS...would open up significant opportunity for both public and private sector cloud adoption with a specific focus on sovereign data – still proving a substantial obstacle for many Kiwi government departments and NZ Māori,” he said.

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From a partner perspective, Jenkins said he would expect AWS’ new leader to continue to focus on a lean approach to continued innovation, following Amazon’s entrenched “Always day 1” mantra.

Although he concedes that the channel may see some changes, such as potential shifts in go-to-market strategy, particularly where strengthening the partner ecosystem would round out elements of the vendor’s customer engagements, as opposed to typical direct AWS-led professional services led engagements.  

“This, coupled with continued investment in the ecosystem of complimentary technology partners, will accelerate growth into complex heterogeneous enterprises,” Jenkins said.  

Mike Jenkins (The Instillery)Credit: The Instillery
Mike Jenkins (The Instillery)

Potential upcoming changes to AWS’ strategy locally and globally notwithstanding, Jenkins is in no doubt that it has been Jassy’s singular leadership of the cloud vendor thus far that has helped to get it to where it is today.  

“Andy has led with such strong conviction and intent. He often spoke about the art of invention and reinvention,” Jenkins said. “And has been ruthless in his execution.

“It's my belief that Jassey is one of the most powerful leaders not just within the cloud and tech sector but in the world of business. He seems to have a unique ability to connect and collaborate with global world and private sector business leaders too,” he said.  

Jenkins and the Instillery team have a fair bit of AWS experience to draw upon, having been a partner of the vendor for several years, and it’s clear that Jassy’s approach has helped to cement the channel as a core factor in AWS’ success.

"He has been a massive champion for AWS’ commitment to channel partners and the evolution of the partner ecosystem,” Jenkins said.

Given Jassy’s history as the visionary leader behind AWS, Jenkins has no doubt he will bring his knack for innovation and business development to his new role heading up Amazon, stamping his own signature on the company as he steps out from behind the shadow of Bezos.  

As for the next CEO of AWS, although it may be too early to guess at a final contender, there are certainly a few worthy suitors, with Jenkins noting the that the likes Matt Garman, current vice president of sales and marketing for AWS, and Peter DeSantis, senior vice president of AWS global infrastructure and customer support, might ultimately battle it out.

That said, although Amazon prides itself on promotion from within, the next AWS CEO could come from somewhere else entirely.

"With Andy running the Amazon business and Jeff seemingly keeping fingers in the pie for ‘special projects’ I would not be surprised to see a high profile external candidate be drafted in as CEO to oversee the evolution of the AWS business in what is such an important time for both the company and its impact of the world,” Jenkins said.