AWS Technology Partner Journey — A Step by Step Guide
Based on a true story
My APN (AWS Partner Network) journey started in August 2018, not too long after I joined Epsagon, an amazing and super innovative startup that provides observability and cost monitoring platform for serverless applications.
During the process of becoming an AWS partner, I went through the AWS documentation and realized that it is quite challenging to follow. I thought it would be helpful to summarize the key steps and milestones in this “Partner Journey” and create some sort of a step-by-step guide, that will include some practical insights that I learned along the way. As there is a lot of information to cover, I divided this post into three parts.
Part I (in end of this part) — the WHY — why to develop and maintain a partnership with AWS? What is the value?
Part II — the HOW — How to become a partner? In this part, I will present the partner’s tiers, as well as the new partners’ requirements, as recently announced at re:Invent 2018, including the benefits of each tier. Here I will also share some tips on how to expedite the process.
Part III — the DAY AFTER — I’m an advanced partner (!) — now what? In this part, I will share my insights into the APN programs that we use to differentiate our product. In this part, I will discuss the following programs that we take part in — Competency, Marketplace and Solution Space. Also, I will share very interesting initiatives that can be done with AWS, for instance, to be a launch partner for one of the AWS new services or products. See a sneak peek at Epsagon’s blog post about AWS Lambda Layers.
Part I — why become an AWS Partner
To discuss the “WHY,” I’ll start with a short description of how Epsagon is related to services provided by AWS.
In 2014, AWS launched AWS Lambda, which allows companies to build “serverless” applications. Serverless architectures offer dramatic cost savings and increased speed of innovation, yet a lack of visibility and unpredictable costs are threatening mass adoption. This is where Epsagon comes to help, by providing an automated platform which focuses on distributed tracing.
As the serverless space is currently dominated by AWS, Epsagon’s team is focused on serverless applications that run on AWS. We intend to support other cloud vendors in the future, once the demand grows.
Due to the nature of our business, all of Epsagon’s customers are AWS customers that are building applications using AWS Lambda. Therefore, we understood pretty quickly that a partnership with AWS is the right thing to do!
At the beginning of the process, I was a bit skeptical, to be honest. I believe that in any successful partnership both companies should be able to contribute to the other. For me, it was obvious that AWS can help Epsagon (especially after learning about the APN program as will be detailed), but what is the motivation for AWS? AWS is one of the biggest enterprises in the world — how can AWS benefit from a partnership with a startup such as Epsagon?
Well, it seems that Epsagon can indeed provide a great value to AWS. First, as Epsagon helps AWS customers to better track their applications’ performance, these customers can be more confident in expanding their serverless footprint (AWS Lambda usage in this case). This is a great motivation for AWS to partner up! Second, I learned that AWS invests great efforts to support their customer, even if that means that AWS will not be the one to provide the desired solution. So, by locating valuable solutions in the market and validating them, AWS provides their customers a great service.
A great place to start expanding your knowledge — AWS Partner Summit
For anyone that is interested in a partnership with AWS, or already has one, I would recommend attending an AWS Partner Summit. I attended the AWS Tel Aviv Partner Summit on October 2018 and found it VERY useful. I was able to get an overview of the interesting opportunities that AWS has to offer to partners in different stages.
The most important thing that I learned from the summit is that I should work on a PARTNERSHIP PLAN that will help me make the most of this partnership.
On that note, I would like to share one of my favorite slides which were presented in the summit and guides me through this journey. This is the “5 pillars” slide, presented by Arnon Shafir, Technology partner Segment Lead:
After the summit, I put together a detailed plan and started to execute it. By creating the plan, I gained a holistic view of the process, which helped me to execute it efficiently. These are the milestones that we achieved so far here at Epsagon:
In Part II, I will describe HOW.