By Tarcisio Terci, Specialization Programs Lead – AWS
By Saad Ahmed Khan, Sr. Partner Management Solution Architect – AWS
By Deema Hassan, Partner Development Manager – AWS
By Rajesh Soman, CEO – Integra Technologies

To succeed with cloud adoption in today’s complex IT environment and continue to advance in the future, customers can team up with an AWS Competency Partner.

AWS Competency Partners are specialized in building software or delivering services across specific industries, use cases, and workloads. To achieve an AWS Competency and earn an AWS Specialization badge, partners undergo a rigorous assessment of their expertise and technical capabilities.

As a result, customers benefit from an easier way to find the right partner to support their business growth and innovation. Guidance from these skilled professionals can lead to better business and bigger results.

For AWS Partners, attaining an AWS Competency is a great achievement. In this post, we’ll share best practices for partners applying for an AWS Competency and explore how Integra Technologies approached the application process to help improve its migration practice on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Integra Technologies is an AWS Specialization Partner with Competencies in Migration and DevOps. It has the capabilities to deliver a wide range of AWS consulting services, including elastic hybrid compute environment architecture, backup and disaster recovery, and AWS cloud migration for both Microsoft Windows and Linux platforms.

AWS Specialization: Proven Customer Success

Whether it’s to modernize their business, expand into an innovative new territory, or grow their solution—customers rely on the technical expertise and proven customer success of AWS Specialization Partners to achieve their desired business outcomes.

According to a recent Canalys study, 87% of customers rank AWS Specializations like Competencies as a top-three selection criteria when selecting a partner. Canalys estimates that partners’ access to US $307.2 billion of the US $512.0 billion AWS Partner economy is significantly dependent on the number of specializations they hold. Without these specializations, partners will not make it to the customer’s procurement process.

Learn more about AWS Specialization programs >

Getting Ready for the Competency Application

To get started, the requirements for achieving an AWS Competency are well documented and can be found in AWS Partner Central (login required). Check out the different Competencies you can apply for on the AWS Competency Program page.

Once you’ve chosen your specialization, refer to the Validation Checklist designed for your AWS Partner Path, either Services or Software. This checklist helps you determine the necessary requirements.

IntegraTechnologies-Unlocking Efficiency-With-AWS Competency-Program-Migration

Figure 1 – AWS Competency Validation Checklists.

We strongly recommended you work with your Partner Development Manager (PDM) and Partner Solutions Architect (PSA) right from the start and schedule a regular cadence. They are experts in the AWS Specialization process and can share valuable feedback before you apply for an AWS Competency.

Example: Integra’s Requirements

When Integra Technologies applied for the Migration Services Competency, it needed to meet several initial requirements before it could complete the application. Note that the following list provides a few examples and is not exhaustive:

  • Partners must be in the “Validated” stage of the AWS Services Path and have reached Advanced or Premier Tier.
  • Provide details about four (4) complex migration projects executed for different customers within the last three (3) years. These projects can include migration-only or migrate and modernize projects.
  • Share at least two (2) publicly available case studies and two (2) anonymous cases studies, describing how you used AWS to help solve a specific customer challenge related to migration. See the Public Case Study Guide in AWS Partner Central (login required) for best practices.
  • In cases where you cannot publicly name customers due to the sensitive nature of the customer engagements, you may choose to anonymize the public case study. Anonymized public case study details will be published by AWS, but the customer’s name will remain private.
  • Certify a specific number of individuals on AWS. Some AWS Competencies, such as Migration, require a minimum number of AWS-certified individuals.
  • Partners must conduct a self-assessment of their compliance to the requirements of the AWS Migration Services Validation Checklist.

Addressing the Gaps

If this is your first AWS Competency application, it’s likely there will be areas in the validation checklist where improvements can be made to meet requirements.

It’s important to address these gaps by working on the necessary documentation, and re-evaluating how your organization approaches validation projects. This may involve resourcing areas across your business such as people, processes, technology operations, documentation, security, support methodology, and more.

Collaborating with your Partner Solutions Architect is recommended to address any gaps in your validation checklist.

After checking that you have met all of the requirements, complete the checklist and send it to your PDM and/or PSA for initial validation.

Submission, Review, and Audit

After your AWS representatives have validated your submission, it’s time to submit the application to the AWS Competency team in AWS Partner Central. To do so, follow the step-by-step instructions in the Specialization Program Guide (login required).

The application process takes a few weeks, during which AWS will conduct internal reviews and an external audit. Once this is complete, AWS will inform you of the status of your application.

When it comes to the audit, preparation and rehearsal are key. We recommend all relevant team members—including sales, pre-sales, business, and technical—attend the audit, which covers all aspects of the practice and not just technology. Be ready for in-depth discussions and provide detailed explanations along with supporting evidence.

This is an online audit, and you can schedule it using your preferred collaboration tool; Amazon Chime is available.

After completing the audit process, AWS will inform you about the decision on your application. If approved, you’ll receive a welcome email. If not approved, you will receive specific feedback to address any gaps in the application and can re-apply at any time.

How the Application Process Helped Integra

Integra Technologies aligned its migration practice with the AWS Prescriptive Guidance for migrations within a year, and prepared for the Competency application in around four months.

“Obtaining an AWS Competency is not the end goal, but rather an opportunity to excel in your chosen practice,” said Shiljith Sreedharan, COO at Integra. “By the end of the application process and subsequent award, we had completely transformed our migration practice. From doing ad-hoc migrations to following a process-oriented, outcome-based migration strategy, we are now able to do many large migrations reliably, repeatedly.

Although Integra Technologies already had successful migration and DevOps practices, working towards their AWS Competency application made both more scalable.

“We make use of AWS tools that help us succeed in our migration projects,” added Sreedharan. “Using these tools along with the processes and controls enables us to do migrations at scale, reducing the time and effort by more than 50%.”

Best Practices for a Successful Application

Start with the Customer Examples:

  • Do you have the right delivery model and practice?
  • Do you have at least four (4) delivered projects in last 18-36 months?
  • Do they qualify as per the requirements?
  • Do you need public customer references?

Create a Real Project Plan:

  • Involve multiple teams and define track owners.
  • Commit to a target deadline.
  • Establish a cadence to track progress.
  • Use the available AWS Competency Calibration Guides in AWS Partner Central (login required).

Ask the Experts:

  • AWS Partner Development Managers and Partner Solutions Architects are there to support you!

Conclusion

Earning an AWS Competency demonstrates your expertise and capabilities, and differentiates your business in the cloud services market. Although the application process does take time and effort, undergoing the rigorous validation is worthwhile for partners looking to advance their AWS practice.

As evidenced by Integra Technologies’ experience, the preparation required for a successful Competency application transforms and matures an organization’s capabilities. Partners that commit to meeting AWS standards and best practices for delivery excellence find the investment pays dividends beyond just attaining the badge. The improvements made across people, processes, and technology improve the quality and consistency of service for customers.

We encourage AWS Partners to consider which Competency aligns closest to your focus area and start preparing your application today. Download the Validation Checklist and lean on your Partner Development Manager and Partner Solutions Architect for guidance throughout the process. With their support and the best practices outlined here, you’ll be ready to highlight your expertise and unlock new opportunities.

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Integra Technologies – AWS Partner Spotlight

Integra Technologies is an AWS Specialization Partner with Competencies in Migration and DevOps. It delivers a wide range of AWS consulting services, including elastic hybrid compute environment architecture, backup and disaster recovery, and migration to the AWS cloud for both Microsoft Windows and Linux platforms.

Contact Integra | Partner Overview