I am a veteran of past enterprise IT vendor partner networks that reigned during their respective era’s of influence. Novell was the kingpin in the late 1980′s through the mid 1990′s. Microsoft, learning from Novell’s partner eco-system success and ultimately displacing Novell at the top, ruled up until a few years ago. Microsoft’s partner network is waning because a migration from on-premises to SaaS, powered by cloud computing, is quickly and dramatically changing the status quo relationships between customer, VAR partner and IT vendor.
The old three tiered hierarchy is undergoing change. The advent of the cloud will not render partner eco-systems irrelevant, but they will not be the same as in the past. Enter Amazon’s Partner Network. This is an example of a modest first step toward inserting cloud technologies into the existing IT VAR partner eco-system. The Amazon partner network has two tracks: Product and Consulting.
The Product track is designed to for ISV’s that develop a product on AWS with air cover support from Amazon to help make all AWS powered applications be successful. The Consulting track will support the more traditional VAR with tools to help enterprises utilize AWS cloud resources in what will probably be a decade long migration to the cloud. Hybrid operations will be commonplace, and that operating mode requires specialized consulting practices to ensure success.