“AWS Partner Experience Transformation” is a blog series on updates to the AWS Partner Programs, AWS Marketplace, and AWS Partner Central.

By Priya Bains, Head of Partner Brand and Content Strategy – AWS Partner Network

At AWS re:Invent 2023, we announced 10 enhancements we’re rolling out across our AWS Partner programs and services to drive partners to new heights of productivity and profitability.

Earlier this year, we embarked on the journey to transform the partner experience—to help you expand your opportunities at every stage of your AWS journey and propel you to move across and up the AWS Partner Profitability Framework from wherever your starting point is. In July, we shared a roadmap of these enhancements.

Our mission is to make the AWS Partner Network (APN) with AWS Marketplace your preferred route to market and empower you to deliver differentiated value to millions of Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers, helping you to win more, win bigger, and win faster.

We’re aligning the AWS Partner experience—including programs, incentives, and enablement—around AWS services and the partner business models: business outcome solutions, technology solutions, managed services, services, and resell. These enhancements are aimed at providing you more relevant and prescriptive guidance, where you need it, in a consistent and predictable manner. Your profitability, along with helping you drive new business, is our number one goal.

1. Introducing Solution Building Enablement

Customers are increasingly looking for business outcome solutions as technology spend shifts to the line of business (LOB) buyer. To help you build and validate your solutions with AWS, we’re introducing Solution Building Enablement for all partners at no cost.

At re:Invent 2022, we launched a preview of the Partner Solution Factory with self-serve templates and guidance. After testing these self-serve templates and framework with AWS Partners across different use cases and geographies, we’re expanding it to all partners.

Solution Building Enablement provides prescriptive steps to build and validate industry and/or use case solutions. It includes reference architecture, validated open-source codes, and go-to-market (GTM) resources.

Starting immediately, Solution Building Enablement is available in AWS Partner Central (login required), under the “Guides” section of the Resources tab.

2. Fostering Multi-Party Engagements to Accelerate Business Outcomes

Profitability comes from delivering differentiated value to customers—giving them the best possible solution to their business problem. Customers today are seeking integrated solutions that deliver measurable outcomes, and these typically involve multiple components (software, hardware, consulting, implementation) and/or organizations.

According to Gartner Forecast Analysis, global IT spending is forecast to reach $4.5 trillion in 2023—with industry LOB buyers representing the largest group of tech buyers (41%). Working backwards from the customer’s needs, we’re providing ways for you to accelerate business outcome solutions by:

  • Harnessing multi-partner collaborations through Partner Matchmaking events to develop innovative business outcome solutions that can be built with technology from one or more partners and delivered by a single partner or in collaboration with other partners.
  • Standardizing collaboration, solution development, and GTM processes with a formal Strategic Collaboration Agreement (SCA).

Together, our partners have delivered critical business outcomes for productivity, cost avoidance, quality, and growth across major market segments like healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing and automotive, energy and utilities, telco, financial services, and retail. These include Cognizant’s Customer Concierge with Amazon Just Walk out, Generative AI-based solutions addressing Aircraft on Ground (AOG) time from Infosys, STMicroelectronics Edge-AI solution, and Enterprise Knowledge Management from TensorIoT.

In 2024, we’ll continue to invest in multi-partner engagements with technology and services partners through Partner Matchmaking events and Partner Summits. Submit your interest to participate in the Partner Matchmaking events and learn more about our partners’ success with customers delivering Business Outcome Solutions.

3. Curated Programs and Experience for Partners with Technology Solutions

For technology solution partners building their own IP on or with AWS services, we’re making it easier to leverage our programs—simplifying the requirements to unlock greater benefits. We’ve aligned core ISV programs to help you build, market, and sell solutions in AWS Marketplace to expand your customer reach and generate incremental revenue streams. Updates include:

  • Curated programs for ISVs leveraged across commercial and public sector partners. These include AWS SaaS Factory, Partner Transformation Program, Global Startup and AWS Marketplace Startup, Think Big for Small Business, and ISV Accelerate.
  • Improved Software Path experience in AWS Partner Central, with automated tasks and next step recommendations.
  • Simplified specific program requirements within and across programs to reduce administrative burden.
  • Formalized way for ISVs, including mid-to-late-stage startups, to accelerate GTM and co-sell with AWS with a “better together” narrative.

Start engaging with the new Software Path experience today in AWS Partner Central (login required).

4. Enhanced Program for Managed Service Providers

AWS Managed Service providers (MSPs) are trusted partners that customers retain on an ongoing basis for the continuous administration, management, optimization, support, and change management of the full or partial lifecycle of an end customer’s IT infrastructure, platforms, and/or applications. Based on a cloud customer survey AWS ran in September, MSPs are one of the top three influencers (internal and external) of a customer’s purchase decisions.

Based on feedback from extensive interviews with our MSPs, we’re enhancing the MSP program to help you build and grow additional managed service revenue streams. With learnings from the private preview underway, we’ll launch the enhanced MSP program in Q2 2024.

To be added to the waitlist for the private preview, fill out the form available on the AWS MSP program website.

5. Enhanced Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) for Services Partners

To help customers achieve migration goals and enable our partners to elevate delivery of migration projects, accelerate modernization, and scale investments to large deals, we’re revising the current Migration Acceleration Program (MAP).

The standard MAP construct will be available to services partners with the Migration Competency or relevant workload specialization. Additionally, we’re:

  • Simplifying the experience for partners with a cash and/or credit combination investment.
  • Streamlining the approval process in the Partner Funding Portal.
  • Right-sizing the investment for lift-and-shift migrations.
  • Introducing additional incentives where additional funding is needed above the lift-and-shift, including greenfield and modernization.

MAP changes will be reflected in the Partner Funding Portal in AWS Partner Central by mid-2024 to ensure we provide ample time for partners to transition.

6. Expanded Benefits for Resellers

We’re introducing benefits and key enhancements to enable AWS Solution Providers and AWS Distributors to up-level resell capabilities, including:

  • Foundational Technical Review (FTR) to help you adopt AWS best practices when reselling AWS services.
  • Customer Engagement Incentive (CEI) with the addition for Grow discount to improve reseller profitability and reward AWS revenue growth from end customers in the early stages of AWS adoption.
  • Public Sector Discount when reselling against government end-customer opportunities.
  • Simplifying incentive structure by transitioning the Partner Growth Rebate (PGR) from credits to discounts for eligible Solution Providers and Distributors.
  • Relaunching Partner-Led Support with scalable pricing as you grow your AWS footprint, along with an expanded portfolio of benefits that leverage the extensive cloud expertise of AWS Support, including new AWS Diagnostic Tools.

New Solution Providers will undergo the FTR as they apply for the AWS Solution Provider Program. All authorized Solution Providers will benefit from simplified discount payments and improved profitability in Q1 2024.

7. AWS PartnerEquip: A New Benefit for Specialization Partners

To better understand key factors that customers consider while selecting and differentiating their partners, we commissioned an independent study with Canalys, a leading global technology analyst firm.

Canalys predicts the value of the AWS Partner economy is estimated to be up to $512 billion. Moreover, 83% of customers rank AWS Specializations as a top-three partner selection criteria, and 74% of customers review their partners certifications at least twice a year to verify they are continuing to upskill in high-demand domains.

For this reason, AWS is continuing to refine and grow our portfolio of 100+ Specializations. We’re centralizing AWS Competency, AWS Service Delivery, and AWS Service Ready programs under one umbrella brand: AWS Specializations.

This will make it easy for customers to discover AWS Specialization Partners based on their needs, while streamlining the requirements for partners and making it easier to utilize benefits.

To help deepen and standardize your engagement with AWS GTM teams, we’re excited to announce the AWS PartnerEquip series, which consolidates and simplifies the four benefits provided to Specialization Partners: APN Immersion Days, Roadmap transparency, SMB Cloud Academy, and Deeper Learning virtual events. The series will include virtual and live events starting early 2024. PartnerEquip Live will have 13 tracks spanning three regions.

Additionally, we’re highlighting Specializations within AWS Marketplace Vendor Insights starting with AWS Security Competency and Level 1 MSSP Competency to make it easier for customers to find the right solution and partner. This is our first step to integrating the Specializations and AWS Marketplace experience to accelerate GTM motions.

8. Enhancements to Expand Customer Reach with AWS Marketplace

To help you build self-service revenue streams in AWS Marketplace and drive profitability, we’re simplifying and reducing listing fees in 2024, including a reduction of fees.

Additionally, you can now set up the SaaS Quick Launch feature to help reduce time-to-value for customers buying SaaS products in AWS Marketplace, by enabling them to buy, configure, and launch your SaaS products on AWS in minutes.

The new AWS Partner Central CRM Connector allows you to manage both ACE and AWS Marketplace Private Offers and resale authorizations from within a single Salesforce app. Partners now have more options than ever to manage their end-to-end AWS business, including our new multi-purpose CRM Connector, third-party tools like those from Labra, Worspan, and Tackle, or direct API integrations.

9. Unified Experience Across AWS Marketplace, Programs, and AWS Partner Central

AWS Partner Central is used by more than 130,000 partners, with 2 million registered users. The AWS Partner Central enhancements shared earlier this month transform how AWS Partners engage with the APN and AWS Marketplace to drive efficiencies and discoverability with customers—from registering in AWS Partner Central and onboarding, to setting up an AWS Marketplace profile, product listings, and go-to-market readiness.

The simple, personalized, and value-added experience is designed to accelerate your engagement with AWS and obtain partner program benefits faster. This includes a self-guided partner journey with automated tasks, product and account linking between AWS Marketplace and AWS Partner Central, improved partner analytics, new co-sell experience with APN Customer Engagements (ACE), and an enhanced search and content navigation.

This experience is now available to AWS Partners in the Software Path and ISV programs. The same features, benefits, and tools will be expanded to additional Partner Paths and programs in 2024.

10. Tools to Drive Efficiency and Maximize Your Investments with AWS

Partners have asked for ways to scale and improve efficiency and operations. We’re investing in tools and features to provide a seamless experience that helps you engage with these programs and benefits, including:

  • Up-levelling Partner Analytics Dashboard to provide a single pane of glass that tracks performance across your AWS business, including sales pipeline health and insights, AWS Marketplace engagement score, insights on new investments, soon-to-expire cash fund requests, and marketing campaign effectiveness.
  • New Business Planning tool to accelerate collaboration and co-selling with AWS. This will centralize and standardize business planning process and template to track it digitally in the AWS Partner Central experience—removing the need to have multiple conversations with different AWS teams or access multiple systems. We’re releasing this in phases for partners with mature AWS businesses, and will continue to scale it across different business models throughout 2024.

Looking Ahead

In 2024, we’ll continue to ensure that AWS Marketplace and our AWS Partner programs provide demonstrated pathways to success—helping you drive greater customer value and profitability.

There’s an exciting journey ahead, and we’re thrilled to be on it together!

Stay tuned for more updates via the “AWS Partner Experience Transformation” blog series. Additionally, check out the latest enhancements to AWS Marketplace, programs, and AWS Partner Central in our What’s New posts.