AWS is boosting its partner investment in the critical areas of cultivating technical talent and ramping up sales.
The company's actions come as partners seek to build pools of expertise in a difficult labor market and sell their services through new forms of collaboration. AWS Partner Network and AWS Marketplace, which both launched 10 years ago, play a role in the latest phase of channel outreach.
AWS partners cite maintaining IT skills as their top challenge, according to Ruba Borno, vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at AWS. Borno joined AWS from Cisco in December 2021 and has since met with dozens of partners. "Their number one barrier to growth is having sufficient talent," she said.
Investing in cloud skills
AWS now "co-invests" to help partners establish AWS certifications, build specializations and launch practices, Borno said.
"Hiring externally and growing from within are important investments we're making with AWS," said Bob Olwig, executive vice president of global partner alliances at World Wide Technology, a technology services provider based in St. Louis. AWS certifications and specialties provide a framework for gaining expertise, he added, noting key services in high demand include migration and cloud optimization.
AWS, meanwhile, encourages partners to develop specific cloud skills such as security services. The company's Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) Competency, launched in August 2021, has tapped partners such as Accenture, Deloitte and IBM to provide 24/7 monitoring of AWS resources. MSSP competency partners can offer their services on AWS Marketplace.
Some partners include ISV offerings in their security services. IBM, for example, provides security posture management, best practices and compliance services on AWS Marketplace and lists Palo Alto Networks' Prisma Cloud and Check Point's ColorGuard Posture Management as associated software products.
WWT generated $48 million in AWS Marketplace sales in 2021. Olwig said the marketplace will remain an important focus for the company, citing its core business with cybersecurity ISVs such as CrowdStrike and Palo Alto Networks as well as Cisco and NetApp.