Enhancing partner specialisation levels through working backwards from the customer stands tall as a leading priority for Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2020 and beyond, as outlined by new regional channel leader Corrie Briscoe.
Recently appointed as Head of Partner Success across Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ), Singapore-bound Briscoe has kick-started plans to create an ecosystem built on the foundations of in-depth customer knowledge and expertise, delivered through unique IP and services.
Such a focus on customer obsession and partner specialisation represents a continuation of the founding aim of the AWS Partner Network (APN) - which launched in 2012 - and in some respects, that’s the exactly the point. In an industry forever churning out updated partner programs, revamped go-to-market strategies and shifts in channel priorities, the value of consistency is severely underestimated.
“Customer obsession is one of our core leadership principles and we’re committed to this driving our business,” said Briscoe, when speaking exclusively to Channel Asia. “That means partners must have a deep understanding of the needs of their customers and then provide the right capabilities aligned to those needs.
“Our partners are our customers also so the key is to deliver the right enablement and capabilities to our programs, when and where they need it, so they can support their customers.”
Briscoe assumes regional responsibilities following almost two years running the partner business of Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ), having joined AWS in August 2018. With deep ecosystem knowledge - spanning global system integrators (GSIs), independent software vendors (ISVs) and cloud specialists among others - the industry executive has previously held partner leadership roles at Microsoft and Cisco in both Australia and Singapore.
Briscoe - who will relocate back to Singapore from Sydney once travel restrictions ease - has been replaced by Davinia Simon who was previously responsible for leading the enterprise team across New South Wales in Australia.
“Part of my eagerness to move back to APJ was the fact that we had an incredible leader in the A/NZ organisation that was able to step into our channel business,” Briscoe added. “Davinia has been leading our large enterprise sales team so will bring a different perspective to the channel but has a long history of working with partners and a number of our customers.”
While representing a regional extension of Briscoe’s previous trans-Tasman responsibilities, the new role will also prioritise working with technology providers across APJ to build “long-term sustainable businesses” in partnership with AWS.
“I’m impressed by the breadth and scale of our partner network,” observed Briscoe, citing the capabilities of Sydney-based data specialist Intellify as a case in point. “But we need to continually build out specialisation with our partners and we’re seeing great success in this space, such as with Intellify around artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“We also have partners such as VoiceFoundry who have built a business on offering cloud contact centre services and are now seeing huge opportunities with customers.”
A logical next step, acknowledged Briscoe, was to expand such partner capabilities across the wider region.
“We have lots of specialist partners across the entire region already, but we will 100 per cent support expansion also,” she said. “We have been successful with a number of partners expanding from headquartered countries into the wider region and multiple countries.
“This is also due to our infrastructure footprint and the fact that a third of our availability zones sit in APJ, demonstrating our commitment to this region and also the increased customer demand.”
Partners such as Sourced Group are a live example of exporting AWS expertise across the world, having started out in Australia before expanding into Singapore and the wider ASEAN market, in addition to Canada with a strong focus on public sector and financial services.
“This has been driven by the demand of their customers and the need to deliver services as close to the customer as possible,” added Briscoe.
Likewise, partners such as Blazeclan, CloudCover and InfoFabrica, in addition to Cloud Comrade, Powerupcloud Technologies and AsiaPac among many others are also building on the potential of AWS across the region.
As reported by Channel Asia, the impact of Covid-19 has accelerated customer demand for digital technologies to ensure resilient enterprise business operations across Asia Pacific, resulting in cloud-based offerings outshining traditional products.
“We’re seeing customers increase cloud adoption and that’s not only for existing projects that may have already been in motion prior to Covid-19,” Briscoe said. “The fact remains that customers are still looking for cloud to provide agility, security and innovation.
“But more urgent needs also exist such as servicing customers in this current environment and maintaining a high level of customer experience while working remotely. As a result, partners are delivering innovative solutions that have both a business and social impact.”
A spike in adoption is also evident in Malaysia, with G-AsiaPacific - an AWS specialist based in Selangor - reporting growth of 600 per cent since 2014, having only launched the business in 2008.
“Enormous opportunity exists for our partners to go and grab,” Briscoe added. “The fact that 97 per cent of IT spend is currently sitting on-premises, with only three per cent in the cloud, highlights the potential ahead.
“Cloud services are growing at such an accelerated pace and our strategy is focused on continuing to recruit partners that can offer the right skills to meet customer demand, while enabling our current partners within the ecosystem.”
In looking ahead, Briscoe said the immediate focus centres around engaging with partners in all markets across APJ, spending time listening to requirements and assessing how AWS can help drive future business growth.
“Sharing examples across the region to different partners is also extremely valuable,” Briscoe added. “The second element of this is driving the internal team to help our partners build out capabilities through extremely clear field alignment through our selling motion.
“One of the biggest areas of feedback we receive from partners is around our ability to go jointly and together to customers, this is our differentiator and a big part of my role is to ensure we have that alignment."