AWS Partner Network — the requirements before and after re:Invent 2018 — Get Ready Checklist
AWS re:Invent 2018 was full of exciting announcements. I have even had the honor, with Epsagon, to be announced as an AWS Launch Partner on Dr. Werner Vogels’ keynote. Being Launch Partners, was one of the key milestones in Epsagon’s “AWS Partner Journey”.
Where there are many posts about the AWS newly released products, in this post, I would like to discuss the announcement of the new updates to the APN tiers, that affects every partner and potential partner. These updates were presented on the annual Global Partner Summit during re:Invent (see the recorded section). I will share here all the things I think a Technology Partner should know in order to be prepared and comply fully and efficiently. Also, I will discuss below how the new requirements can help your company.
APN tiers’ changes — Highlights:
- Increased AWS direct revenue which is required for each of the tiers. Alternately, submission of “Launch Opportunities” (see below).
- AWS Technical Certifications shall be obtained.
- Public customers references are now required for both tiers.
- Customer satisfaction — customers’ responses shall be obtained.
- Technical Product Validation shall be completed (for the Advanced tier only).
Changes to the APN tiers’ requirements
In general, AWS toughened the criteria in each of the partners’ tiers. For existing partners, this may be seen as an unnecessary hurdle. My first reaction was — oh no, I just completed all of the necessary requirements a few months ago, why do I have to invest more time in meeting the new criteria??
— BUT — after giving it some thought — I think that the new requirements help to differentiate the partners who demonstrated, as you will soon see, technical proficiency and proved customer success.
So after I shared my take on these changes, I will go ahead and discuss in detail the Program updates for Technology Partners.
I will provide below some sort of a checklist of the updated requirements for each tier and indicate which requirements are new and which remained the same so it would be helpful for both potential and existing partners. I will first list the requirements that haven’t been changed, and then I will go through the NEW additional requirements.
This is where you start your APN journey. The name “select” was announced in re:Invent and replaced the name “standard.”
Requirements which haven’t been changed
- Annual APN Program fee — an annual fee of $2,500 shall be paid to AWS (will be fully returned in $3,500 of AWS Credits — we have got the coupon within a month or so).
- Product in GA — you should have at least one product in general availability. If your product is being used by customers (not necessary for paying customers) in production, that should do.
- AWS support level — AWS Support Level shall be Developer-level support or more.
- Sign AWS mutual NDA (pretty standard).
NEW ADDITIONAL requirements
- AWS Technical Certification — to obtain the “Select” status, you have to obtain one AWS Technical Certification (Associate, Professional or Speciality level).
- Direct Revenue OR Launch Opportunities — your AWS annual billing should be $15K, OR you should have at least three “launched opportunities” with a minimum total MRR of $1.5K. In case you are not familiar with the APN Opportunity Management Tool, this is where you launch your opportunities. “Launched opportunities” are your company’s closed-won opportunities. So once you close an opportunity, just submit it through Opportunity Management Tool. The access to this tool is through the APN Partner Central. By using this tool, you can also add unclosed opportunities and, if needed, get related sales and technical support from AWS that will help you to pursue them. Don’t worry! AWS will not contact your potential customers without your permission.
- Public customers references — before the announcement, the requirement was two internal references (references that are submitted to AWS and are not published). Now, the requirement is one public reference. A public reference can be a blog post for instance (see Epsagon’s public customer reference as a reference). This requirement can help in your next step of applying for the Advanced tier. For the advanced tier, as will be detailed below, you would need two public references. One of these two references can be a “reused” reference that you submitted as part of the Select application.
- Customer satisfaction — you should obtain at least five customers responses via “Rate this Partner” bottom within your company’s listing at the APN Partner Solution Finder. *The customer responses don’t have to be obtained from five different customers. A few employees from the same customer can provide responses that will be counted separately.
Requirements which haven’t been changed
- Annual APN Program fee — same as in the Select tier — an annual fee of $2,500 shall be paid to AWS (will be fully returned in $5,000 of AWS Credits).
- Product in GA — you already obtain this requirement for the Select tier.
- AWS support level — AWS Support Level shall be Business-level support.
- Submit Partner business plan — ask your Partner Development contact to send you the relevant plan form. The goal of this plan is to identify specific objective relating to your partnership with AWS.
NEW ADDITIONAL requirements
- AWS Technical Certification — for the advanced tier you need to obtain four AWS Technical Certification (Associate, Professional or Speciality level). The certifications shall be obtained by four different individuals in your company and include a minimum of two certifications which are either “Professional” or “Speciality.”
- Direct Revenue OR Launch Opportunities — your AWS annual billing should be $350K, OR you should have at least 20 launched opportunities with total MRR of $10K. In case you are not familiar with the APN Opportunity Management Tool, see explanation above, under the Select tier.
- Technical Product Validation — your product must pass a Technical Baseline Review. My team at Epsagon completed this validation as part of the Competency program. Essentially, this is a 2-hours call in which AWS Solution Architect will review your applications, infrastructure, security, and operational processes.
- Public customers references — before the announcement, the requirement was six internal references. Now, the requirement is two public references. This requirement can help you to be better prepared for the Competency process, where you need to submit two public references (a blog post for instance) and two internal references. The two public references could be “reused” for the Competency application.
- Customer satisfaction — you should obtain at least 20 customers responses (see explanation above under Select tier).
What is the due date to meet the 2019 APN tier requirements?
Renewal of your current tier
If you want to renew your CURRENT tier, the compliance due date is depended on your Membership Renewal Date (this date is indicated the APN Portal under the “Partner Scorecard”).
If your Membership Renewal Date (can be found on Partner Scorecard) is between today and December 13th, you will be reviewed for compliance at your current APN tier on December 13th. From that day forward, all APN Partners will simply be reviewed for compliance annually on their individual membership renewal date (regardless of when they upgraded to their current tier).
Upgrade to the next tier
If you want to upgrade to the next tier, you will be required to meet the new requirements as of February 1st, 2019.
How can the new requirements help your company?
- You are getting closer to complete the Competency application. Whereas the criteria for the Advanced tier has changed, the requirements for the Competency program remained the same. Therefore, by completing the Advanced requirements, you are almost all set for submitting the Competency application. For the DevOps competency, for instance, the only additional requirement that you will need to work on as an Advanced partner in order to achieve the Competency is two internal customers references (as you already have two public references and you passed the Technical Validation). That’s all!
- Leverage the new and extended benefits which were launched by AWS. With the new requirements, came new benefits! See the extensive list provided by AWS, here.
- Be a part of an exclusive group of partners, that demonstrated technical proficiency and proven customer success.