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Third parties prove worth through AWS Competency Program

It's nearly impossible to whittle down the list of AWS technology and consulting partners without some guidance. AWS competencies help distinguish experienced vendors.

Choosing a third-party vendor -- be it a tool provider, technology integrator or managed service provider -- requires thorough planning and research. And it can be a daunting task in the AWS ecosystem, which has more than 1,000 technology and consulting partners throughout various segments. Customers can turn to the AWS Competency Program to find well-established, knowledgeable partners.

The AWS Competency Program recognizes AWS partners who have demonstrated technical proficiency and proven customer success in one or more specialized areas. To qualify for any AWS competency, partners must complete an application and satisfy a detailed set of requirements, including demonstrated success with client references.

Customers use competencies to identify which AWS partners meet baselines for experience and capabilities, explained Gartner VP and distinguished analyst Lydia Leong. "I think they are excellent for marketing and, for partners who have the resources to achieve the competencies, worthwhile," she said.

Pam Miller, director of partnering research at IDC, agreed. In the AWS partner ecosystem, "it is absolutely key" because demonstrating deeper and more fine-tuned competencies is how to get more business. "AWS has done a good job with competency; they have taken it to the next level," she said.

Vendors embrace the AWS Competency Program, as it pushes their names to the top of many customer short lists.

For example, the AWS environment requires both high-level strategic skills and expertise in specific services. Available competencies cover those topics and help train both salespeople and engineers. These competencies can be critical to enterprises looking for help overcoming an IT challenge.

"When a customer is considering among partners to implement a particular solution, competencies are an important way to understand which one has the depth needed," Miller said. Competencies provide confidence that the partner tool or service will be appropriate and able to provide value, she added.

And because the AWS platform has become so complex, no single person is an expert. AWS customers can use the program to identify individuals or companies with a particular competency.

Partners support competency challenge

Vendors embrace the AWS Competency Program, as it pushes their names to the top of many customer short lists. Rackspace, for instance, is an audited AWS Managed Service Provider and AWS DevOps Competency partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN). The service provider announced over the summer that it has more than 300 architects and engineers who have achieved professional and associate AWS certifications.

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Cloudamize, a cloud infrastructure analytics platform, obtained Advanced Partner status in the APN and in AWS Migration Competency. And Logicworks, an AWS Premier Consulting Partner in the APN and a member of the AWS Managed Services Program, has been recognized for its APN Migration Competency.

The AWS Competency Program accomplishes two main objectives: It provides third-party validation to customers that prove a company can do what it says, and it helps build stronger relationships with the AWS partner team. Customers want to know that managed services providers -- or any AWS partner -- isn't simply monitoring hardware or providing add-on services. They want to know the partner will integrate deeply with IT teams to develop comprehensive and custom cloud environments.

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