Mastering AWS's Partner Philosophy: Maximizing Impact to Secure Strategic Investment

Show Notes

On this week’s episode of the Investible Partnerships™ podcast, we talk to Chris Casey, General Manager AWS Partners, APJ at Amazon Web Services. Chris pulls back the curtain on AWS's partner philosophy and how partners can best leverage ecosystem insights to deliver differentiated solutions. He shares how partners can cultivate the "intuition" needed to specialize in high-potential areas with AWS and  insights into balancing relevance and value through clear value propositions and long-term alignment with AWS goals.

Key Takeaways

00:00 - Introduction

01:04 Partner impact and industry-specific use cases with AWS.

05:26 Partner impact and value in a large tech company's ecosystem.

10:32 Partnering with AWS and prioritizing goals.

15:57 Building long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with AWS.

22:41 Partnering with AWS and creating successful alliances.

27:49 Balancing sales and partner teams' goals at AWS.

33:03 Leveraging AWS Marketplace analytics for partners.

38:57 Evaluating investments in partnerships for business growth.

43:49 The Partnerships Fast Five

"An investible partnership for us is one that provides clear differentiated value to our mutual end customers with well defined, well constructed, and well used mechanisms, to keep the teams as aligned as possible."

"You have to drive results and clearly show that there is additive benefit that you bring which creates more value for our customer."


0:00 Des Russell  

Hey, Chris, and welcome to the investible partnerships podcast. It's so good to have you here and joining the conversation, helping our audience learn about how you are being a driver of partner impact at AWS or Amazon Web Services. So let's first get to know a little bit about you, your background, how you got into partnerships, what you're doing in your worldwide role at Amazon Web Services. So over to you.

1:04  Chris Casey

Des, thanks for having me. It's great to be here. And I'm super excited with the opportunity to chat to your listeners. So thank you for setting us up.

So I was originally from Australia. So you could probably hear the accent Oh, hopefully you still can I currently live in New York and with AWS, I look after our industry technology partnerships. So what that means is partnering with companies where their intellectual property is pretty specialized to one industry. And our team focuses on all of AWS strategic industries.

So that's everyone from partners like Amagi, and media and entertainment and Guidewire, and insurance all the way through to here technologies in automotive, or GE Healthcare in the healthcare and life sciences space. But really like what we focus on doing is helping achieve very industry specific use cases and workloads that can be run on the AWS cloud through these partners.

So we take a very long term point of view with the partners, and I'm sure we'll talk about that a little bit today as to how we can deliver these outcomes, because you're talking about pretty complex and regulated industries, that customers who are using these solutions have to operate in. As I said, originally from Australia, I got a wife and two young kids. So they kept me busy outside of work. But you know, I moved to New York about 12 years ago and have loved every minute of that. I do miss home a little bit too. So it's, it's exciting to chat to you and some of the listeners in the in the region.

2:04 Des Russell  

Excellent, excellent. So 12 years in New York, you haven't been with AWS all that time. What were you doing before AWS and what's that interesting part, because there's always this interest in parts of how people get into the partnership, partnership land, as we call it. So, talk to us a little bit about that.

3:03 Chris Casey  

Yeah, I didn't grow up wanting to be a partner leader. I didn't have that as my Halloween costume or anything like that. Yeah. Although I don't even know what that costume would be. But I worked at KPMG. So I was doing consulting for a while I worked with them in Australia and then moved over to the US with them.

It was great experience, working with a lot of financial services companies primarily and helping them with whatever they were doing in terms of regulatory or risk transformation that sort of led me to more down a technology path with them, and then have the opportunity to move over to Bloomberg, which, in addition to a TV channel is a pretty large financial services software company, and worked there for four years. And that's really where I got a little bit more of an understanding of how a technology company thinks about growing their business and growing their revenue. And that was also at the time when some of the cloud adoption was taking off.

That was in 2014. Obviously, AWS had been around for a while. You were I think at Microsoft at that time. That was really where that was ramping. And to be honest, software companies at that stage are sort of figuring out like this a friend or foe or frenemy, like how, how do I think about cloud? And I think really, that, you know, if you fast forward 10 years now, it seems like a no brainer.

But in the 10 years since then, really like Cloud and some of the hyperscalers is helping technology companies go to market and grow their revenue. We've obviously seen an exponential amount of growth there. And that's really where I get a flavour of how partnering or partnerships can really help mutually benefit to different companies, and then sort of have landed with the AWS Marketplace, the AWS data exchange and the partner team here at AWS and have sort of gone to the other side of that equation, if you want to think about that going from a software company to one of the hyper scalars.

So the short answer is have sort of fell into the role, but through experience and really learning from a lot of colleagues and the professionals I've interacted with, about how to be successful individually in these different roles, but also importantly, how to make the company successful through partnerships.

5:25 Des Russell

Great man. And when I think about it, I think about as partnership leaders where, you know, let's take  remove the art and science conversation and put that to one side right now. But when we think about the ability to have an impact, and we call this, being a driver of partner impact, which is the impact that you've been able to drive within your partner ecosystem, either individually or with multiple types of partners, or multiple partner relationships. For me, let’s remove the art and science and let's just talk about two key points, this point around relevance and value, and maximizing your relevance and value.

And I kind of feel that these are two key levers that as a partnership professional, you're always trying to kind of pull at the right time and with the right strength. So when you think about maximizing relevance and value, to be a drive upon impact with your partnerships, where you've got technology, partnerships, industry partnerships, and highly specialized, do you have a framework that you use or a methodology that you use to understand the number one the viability of the partnership number to understand the opportunity that their partnership may present? And have you got a way to kind of put that thinking together for our audience?

7:00 Chris Casey  

Yeah, sure. So there's a bit to unpack that. Certainly, it AWS and Amazon, we have pretty structured planning processes that we go through every six months, to formulate our operational plans, and really from for my organization's role, that's about furnishing the customer demand signals within each of the different industries.

You know, we listen through our sales team that are talking to those customers about what they're trying to achieve with the cloud. We then synthesize that into some common themes across each industry. And then each theme will have some specific use cases within that industry. And for as broad and as large as AWS is, we've got more than 100,000 partners, from 150 countries, 70% of those domiciled outside of the US.

So it's a huge partner ecosystem. And there's millions of activated US customers. from an industry perspective, ironically, all of that synthesizes down to about 50 unique themes and about 170 use cases. So just very broad. Yeah, yeah. But for the customer base that it is and the partner base it is you can like keep it pretty simple.

And then really what we do then is work with our partners, then to identify to be very honest, where there's differentiating value proposition for their solutions running on AWS, and really identifying for them where there might be some capability gaps, that we don't really have either AWS native service or an existing partner solution that is fit for purpose for that use case for those customers. Or, and this is where like, there's a high level of trust that's needed between any partner or partnerships, where we might be over capitalized in a certain place, like where there might be already, you know, a bunch of incumbent partners that are already working with AWS or any of the other hyperscalers, where we can be a bit more proactive and transparent to a new prospective partner that like, Listen, if they're making a trade off decision on their roadmap, you know, from the AWS perspective, we believe there might be a bigger opportunity for them that they can capture value faster in this sector over this sector. And that's really where I think, you know, having that level of prescriptive guidance, or at least trying to achieve that it's not an exact science.

And you know, I've over simplified that for you there. But our partners really appreciate that level of guidance and perspective from us and would ask for it more and more and more frequently, which I think is a really healthy thing. And from the AWS perspective, like starting with what's the differentiated value proposition really, really helps our AWS salespeople when we're trying to talk to them about all of the different AWS technologies that are available to them, plus all the partner solutions, really making sure that they're positioning to our mutual end customers.

So really clear tangible benefits for them about why they might be looking at a partner solution running on AWS. So that's kind of the overall mental model. Maybe getting to the question behind your question, though, we have very structured mechanisms with our partners, to actually make sure that we can discuss ideate, iterate, and then implement those things.

10:32 Des Russell  

So there's so much that you've unpacked there as well. So I'm going to double click on a few things. Yeah, the first thing is the role, what is the AWS partner business's role in trying to articulate that with their particular use cases, because I think what we often miss the richness that you as a vendor have in terms of customer signals, customer intent, the research that's going on into product development, etc, particularly at an industry level.

And then on the other side, where we've got this ask of partners is, we need you to go and pick an industry, we need your particular customer segment, we need you to pick a particular technology alignment, that you can go maybe deeper and specialize then. And often those questions for a partner is very, it's very challenging, maybe not in your segment where you have a lot of these, let's call it GSIs, or global partners, or very specialized partners. But when we think about the 100,000 partners that you do have, and we think about probably 60% of them, are not those GSIs or those, those SI partners, what guidance would you have for other leaders to really try and make that connection around or help partners understand where they should specialize? And why they should specialize? Is it a purely a data driven decision? Or is there something else that you need to understand with partners to be able to get to their point with them

12:22 Chris Casey  

So things that they're certainly like, I think maybe maybe like, if I can wrap it up into one, one area where I would, I would recommend people focus on and then there's multiple components to it, the two things that I mentioned, we've really seen our most successful partners, lean into business planning with AWS, as a holistic, inclusive, and very detailed process.

So what I mean by that is, you know, we can make it very transparent as to like, here are some of the themes and use cases across all of the different customers in industry as the example you and I are talking about, yeah, we can send that list out.

If we're not then going through that list and diligently as part of our mutual plan that we're putting together with you as an AWS partner, or prospective partner, and identifying where their matches in terms of your business priority as a systems integrator or as an ISV, who's trying to work with AWS.

And Des it’s like funny, silly little things like a partner might say, we want to go to market with you in Malaysia. Well, okay. We don't have a region in Malaysia yet. We are launching a region in Malaysia. So is that the best focus for Q1 of next year? Or is that something that we're putting a little bit on the longer term?

Likewise, we have many partners say to us, you know, we'd love your help expanding into North America, okay, that's great. But if you as a partner don't have a sales team in North America, or relationship with redistributor, or a reseller in North America, like, we're probably not set up for success there anyway. So it's not really a plan we've got there, we've got like a sort of pipe dream that we want more

14:11 Des Russell  

A bit of a bit of a longer term strategy that we want to work towards, or what's the immediate thing that we want to get done right now.

14:20 Chris Casey  

And those things are great that we're aligning on some NorthStar’s of like, what does it look like in three to five years, but don't kid yourself that that's a plan for next year to deliver tangible outcomes and ultimately revenue for your business?

In Q1, or, you know, even throughout 2024? If you're thinking about those plans for next year, and there's a lot of times where, you know, you would say hindsight is 2020. But, yeah, you go through that planning process.

You've put things in the plan that really, we were set up for failure right from the start there and then we wonder why halfway through the year we're not hitting some of the goals that we would Yeah, we're more hopes rather than a well thought out goal. So yes, it can be a data driven approach. But it's also the willingness to have, what might be some of those harder conversations up front.

And I think that's probably the biggest misconception that maybe partners might have of AWS and our hyperscale are like, being prescriptive, being clear on what we should and should not prioritize. Like we talk about ruthless prioritization here at Amazon.

We deliberately use those words together, right. Prioritizing, easy ruthless prioritization is you've got a list of 10 things that you want done, and you would love to do all 10 of those things like it truly pains you to drop a few off the list. Yeah, that's why it's ruthless prioritization and doing that with partners. I think maybe there's a misconception out there that like AWS doesn't value that feedback or that level of true partnership. But it couldn't be further from the truth and those are our most successful partners.

15:57 Des Russell  

think I think it's, I think it's like, if I think back of my time with Microsoft, there was often those conversations, which is, Oh, really? Are you working in the best interest of my business? Or are you working in the best interests of your own business, and I think that there is a myth there.

I think the myth is you and your partners, will always have economic needs that you need to fulfill through the partnership. But at the same time, it's really been about being super clear about what it is you are actually able to achieve versus what you are trying to achieve.

And I think if you can separate those two, and be ruthless about really, there's the economics that we're trying to achieve here, then you can have a more fruitful partnership bit I do agree with you, I think, I think there is a there is a myth that, you know, there is a big myth around us across anyone that's partnering.

17:03 Chris Casey  

Yeah. And I think like asking, you know, be proactive, and pointed with the questions that you have for any large partner or hyperscale partner you're trying to work with, like, ask them the questions like, Where are the customer demand signals where you see a current gap that we might be able to fulfill? Like, if you're asking those questions, rather than like, how can you help me go to market in this specific geography, what you're doing there is you're automatically putting yourself in a position as a partner of like, How can I add value to you hyper scalar? Because it's, it's clear to AWS, how like AWS might be able to add value to, you know, the partner business because of our very large customer base. But that's why it's a partnership, right.

17:55 Des Russell  

Exactly. And, you know, there's this there's this other point, that's kind of I think, we go back to maximizing relevance and value is this, what would you use as you’re a senior leader? What would you have? Would you have partners saying to you, and building plans that are so tightly aligned to AWS, has plans both rear be your customer segment or your product prioritization, that when you change those partners have to pivot at the same time?

Or would you rather have partners that are super clear on their success and can kind of take those threads that you're giving them in terms of the data, that customer segment where you're focusing your priorities, and combine that into their success? Like, what works better for you?

18:48 Chris Casey  

The latter in the long term? For sure. Yeah. Because I think, yeah, you and I, I've mentioned multiple times in this, this podcast already, like mutually beneficial. And I think for the long term, those partners, listen, at the end of the day, like we were looking to invest, you know, many years, if not decades, with some of these partners to support our customers and what they're trying to achieve using AWS as technology.

So it's not going to be mutually beneficial to our customers and our mutual end customers. If someone's and a partner is chopping and changing with the wind every six months in terms of maybe AWS has priorities or specific priorities in a specific technology aspect in a specific industry. So in the long term, like to make sure that a partner has some flexibility tactically, to adjust, like where we're prioritizing go to market, but it has to be mutually beneficial for that partners business where it's sustainable for them in the long term, in terms of their cost of sale and their margins. Because, you know, we want our partners to be successful.

We want them to become more profitable. And we want them to improve their costs of sale and reduce the customer acquisition costs that they have on AWS for the long term, not just in a quarter. Yeah, exactly.

20:14 Des Russell  

Yeah, exactly. So bringing it back down, what would you if you had a definition for an investible  partnership? What would the definition be that you'd give to give to that?

20:27 Chris Casey  

An investible  partnership for us is one that provides clear differentiated value to our mutual and customers with well defined, well-constructed, and well used mechanisms, to keep the teams as aligned as possible.

20:46 Des Russell

Love it, love it. Love it, love it. So let's talk about the you know, we talked about those mechanism. We talked about this mutually beneficial, we talked about this long term. It's think about this long term, there's long term view that you take to partnerships, particularly in your in your role. When you think about this long term view, is this a long term view?

Is it a focus on actually trying to help you break through particular customer segments? I kind of call this intuition, which is vendor intuition. So there's this intuition that you have, from an AWS perspective as to where this industry is going, where market opportunities kind of going. And then there's partners that are trying to read these particular signals.

And understand, well, if, if this vendor, AWS if this vendor is making a bet now on automotive as an example, yes, there's a lot happening in the automotive industry. But what is the intuition that I need to draw from that? Or how can I draw that intuition?

Is it about having really strong relationships with people at AWS in different segments, and being able to draw on those signals? Or, or how should partners sort of cultivate some of the intuition that they need to understand where you are heading, and what they should be thinking about in their long term relationship with you.

22:41 Chris Casey  

So Amazon and AWS has culture is it's pretty unique. It's pretty well publicized that it's, yeah, we try very hard here to minimize bureaucracy and leave a lot of teams, we call them two pizza teams, which is a group of people that can be fed by two pizzas.

And like really empowering those teams to operate with autonomy and empowerment, that makes it really hard if you're a partner to just be trying to find who's who in the zoo as to like who might be in the path to success for you. Now, we do that by design, because we think it indexes further on speed and execution for our mutual end customers.

But that's really why the AWS partner organization exists and, and leaning on your partner development manager, as a partner or prospective partner for AWS, you know, it's part of their role to help you navigate the AWS ecosystem, because by design and unapologetically, like there isn't just like one really simple org chart or like request that you can log and then suddenly everyone around the world at AWS will pick it up and respond to that's by design, because we want those teams, as I said, to be able to execute really quick.

So what I would recommend to partners is be very clear on the differentiated value proposition their product has to a specific customer or set of customers in an industry. Ideally, if you have customer references, or you know something publicly that we can articulate to teams internally, like here's an implementation, or here's a successful implementation that we've done with a customer that's like this in an industry, those are always really helpful.

And then being very specific on that plan that we just talked about at the start because the spray and pray approach here is going to be very time consuming for your alliances and channel resources, and probably not going to drive the impact that you want.

So where we see the most successful partners is they're very willing to open up and ask those hard questions that we talked about earlier. They're very clear on what their value their solution trends or in the case of an SI implementation and the value proposition that they've done as delivered to customers in the past, or if you're, if you're starting out fresh in an industry, you're very transparent with that. But you're clear as to why you think the solution is differentiated.

And then you're very clear and prescriptive on what you want to achieve when those are the partners that culturally just like, mesh. So well, with AWS clickers, we're so data driven, we're so goals orientated. We're very specific on what we want to achieve, but unapologetically don't care how we go and achieve it. And that's where like, I think the most successful partners or prospective partners can really lean into that cultural match. Yeah,

25:44 Des Russell

Yeah, I love it. When I think about that, I think that there's, if you think below, if you have to think about a partner operating model, and yet to think about, Well, if 10, you know, how do I get how do I get exactly what you have described, in terms of their tight, alignment, tied to engagement, there's these two things that we think about in investible  partnerships that partners, vendors can't teach partners, partners need to be able to teach this themselves or find out and these two things are, you've got to have currency, you're got to have relevant currency, which is relevant currency with where your vendors at where the market set, and you've got to, you know, that currency goes into your go to market, your value proposition, the technical skills that you have aligned to that are at the particular point in time, that's going to allow you to create some really strong impact in the in the market with your vendor. So relevant currency.

And the second thing is being decisive in the in the action that they can take in their business. And when we say being decisive, it's not about it's not about being decisive in going to make a decision and stick with it. It's about being able to have a well thought-out decision-making process that says, my vendors told me we're moving in this direction, I've used these signals this intuition to understand why they move in there, I can put that to one side, I can now position, my business or my technology business and where we're heading.

And I can make a really quick decision that kind of gets , are we in our way out? Is that where we're going, or actually, we can add x to what you're doing in this particular industry. So it's those two things which are, which are really clear. And then there's there is a third thing, but that's kind of linked to it, which is there's been being clear about how they operate their own business.

But that's more on an operational piece, which we don't really get to in the partnership space. So in building these, industry partnerships, no doubt what you are doing globally, is you've got partners, you've got customers, you've got sales teams, surrounded by or customers, sales teams, surrounding your customers and driving that internally, and they are goaled, particularly differently to your partner team, who are building these partner plans, building these partner long term plans, and trying to kind of bring the customer at the center and bring the sales and partner teams together. We spoke about it in Denver, when we met in Denver a couple of months ago, we spoke about this healthy tension between the sales, internal sales, direct sales teams, as well as partner teams and our audience on the invisible partnerships podcast are exactly these. Yes, their vendors, but they're also direct SaaS companies are now building partner programs, and they've got to balance this view of gold differently. But mutually we're trying to get to that same customer. How do you think about that? And how do you resolve that tension at AWS?

29:08 Chris Casey

Great question. So I think there's a few different ways we do it. But certainly goals and incentives is fundamentally like how we do it at scale. So we have very specific incentives and goals for our customer sales team, to make it as undifferentiated for them as possible as selling like a native AWS solution or a partner solution that runs on AWS.

Because you want to make sure that like and we have a leadership principle at Amazon that that would dictate that everyone at Amazon should do this. But we want to make sure that the goals and incentives for our sales team matching that leadership principle in that they need to be focused on delivering whatever the best outcome is for the end customer.

And if that happens to be a partner solution that's running on an AWS or, or a native AWS service, like whichever one the customer chooses, you want to make sure there's no active disincentives for the sales team there. And then also, in terms of the programs that we have, you know, we do a whole bunch of work. As you can imagine, on enabling training our sales teams on AWS, native technology that we build, we want to make sure that they have the same access when they need to draw upon it, and the same experience that they have with AWS native services when they might need some more information on best practices in terms of architectures of implementing a partner solution.

And so that's why we do things like foundational technology reviews with our partners, to make sure that when end customer is looking at a partner solution, as opposed to an AWS native one, that it has gone through some form of review from a Solutions Architect at AWS, to make sure it's been optimized for the cloud. And if it's software as a service, you know, there's been a review on where the data is residing, and what controls and governance is in place.

So for a partner of AWS, like making sure you've got an operational process where you can be as responsive as possible, like we're not asking for like, one hour SLA s here. But you know, if any of our sales teams or their customers are asking them questions about a partner solution, you know, we want to make sure that we can connect that customer to the right stakeholders that are partners ASAP.

So we can get them a first class experience in terms of assessing and then onboarding a solution. So I think those are some of the fundamentals, Des about that process. The other aspect, though, and that's by design was to why our AWS partnership organization exists, is, you know, sales teams on variable compensation, and they have annual quotas, and they have to hit those annual quotas. And, you know, we're getting towards the end of the year.

And so, you know, sometimes people are looking for short term revenue, that's okay, that's, that's important for any business to have people that are hunters, and you know, are going to get the revenue when you need it in a given quarter. But you also want to balance like that short term point of view with a longer-term point of view where you want people that are thinking 2024 2025 2026. So if there is an optimal solution for a customer that they implement, now, that might take three years to ramp up in terms of full usage. But that is going to be the best, durable, long-term solution for that customer. We don't want to have short-term incentives outweigh or discourage that. So that's why that healthy tension is by design. And it should probably be by design, too, in terms in terms of some of the partners that we work with, or software companies that might be listening to this podcast.

33:02 Des Russell

I really think it's important, it's ultimately, we have a short-term revenue goal. And the short-term revenue goal, if you just think is the next 90 days, because that's the quarter. And we can build a 12-month , 24-month plan. But at the same time, you still need to operate in this. In these cycles, we call these momentum cycles, you have a momentum cycle, typically 90 days is a good one. And absolutely, if you're in any business, you need to make revenue and revenue has got to be one of those pieces of that sort of thing.

That kind of thinking is quite like how anyone would be running, running their business as well wanted to touch on, we've had Google AWS and Microsoft caught the results recently. And one of the points their kind of hit me was I think it's more than $100 billion of cloud commits in each of the organizations that came through.

So I think AWS was like $80 billion in pre cloud commits their customers have, which is, you know, if we kind of think about it, these customers have brought a specific cloud commitment to run particular workloads, is it financial incentives around their piece, and they kind of feels to me like there's going to be this whole move from partners to kind of go, well, let's follow the money. And let's just go find those customers with those cloud commits.

Do you think you'd like How should partners think about this when we think you've got customers that have cloud commits, you've got AWS teams that are trying to get those customers, consumers cloud commits, how's your partners think about having a conversation with AWS around that? Is it just a normal positioning of the partner value proposition.

But they've got what they might have in the marketplace, which is something that they should be doing differently because I can imagine it's going to be crowded in the number of partners that are trying to go in to help those customers consume.

35:12 Chris Casey  

Yeah, it's a great question. So, one of the things that we've introduced and we're continuing to expand on it within the AWS partner organization has a whole bunch of analytics and insights for partners, just around the topic in general of like helping us triage and prioritize the target customer list.

So, we've actually started a lot of this technology in the context of the AWS Marketplace, and more recently have expanded this. But we do run analytics for partners on target customer propensity to buy. And we run that to give partners a list of who we think are the highest potential prospects out of the list, versus the ones that might be on the lower end without disclosing any of the underlying customer data, because obviously, that's, that's sensitive and proprietary.

But it really helps partners, sort of understand like, from an AWS perspective, beyond like, just commitments to AWS, but like, if it's an AWS Marketplace, potential customer, like have they purchased from AWS Marketplace before. So therefore, like you know that the procurement teams of this customer are very familiar with the process, taking into account a bunch of different parameters to come up with those scores, that we eventually get back to partners that help them stack rank, like where their sales team should be focusing on, really leaning in and aligning with the AWS sales team. So, we can focus our attention.

So, we already have a whole lot of those analytics that we've made available to partners, we've actually got a similar type of analytic that we make available to our sales team. So that's actually helping match a potential partner solution for a customer use case or a customer problem that their customer is trying to solve.

So, we're actually trying to help solve this for the sales team where like, their customer might be like, hey, I need a new solution for KYC and AML, on AWS, who's the partner? Think about it from our sales teams perspective, they go, oh, I don't know. Let me go to the AWS Marketplace to try and find something. Well, we're giving them some insight and analytic tools to help them best fit partner solutions for their customer use cases.

37:30 Des Russell  

So, suppose from a marketplace point of view, treating their marketplace as their landing zone for a AWS seller or a customer coming into understand what solutions there are, you know, partners should be probably be thinking a little bit more about the how they structure that marketplace, offering what that marketplace offering really, really entails.

What are you seeing, are you seeing pretty much vanilla text, or you're seeing partners think quite clearly and cleverly about what they are positioning on that marketplace to differentiate or stand out?

38:16 Chris Casey

Definitely the latter. And there's actually a whole bunch of materials which are publicly available, we can put them in the show notes or something does show, you know about a training academy we have that really articulates to partners, what helps make their listing stand out what's best practices in terms of stuff that in our opinion, you should just have on your listing, to make it really simple and easy for not only potential customers to find your solution, but importantly, after they've found it, you know, there's a whole bunch of compliance and legal and procurement processes that they need to go through.

And AWS Marketplace is fantastic, because it automates a bunch of those steps. But it you know, there's inherently some back and forth questions that a legal department or a compliance department might have about a piece of software.

And we've launched features like vendor insights that, you know, allows those prospective buyers to download things like compliance reports like SOC SS stations. But there's many more things that I'm sure many of our vendors that might listen to this podcast are like we've answered this questionnaire 1000 times for every prospective customer. But the more you can do that upfront, I mean, it's just removing that time in that procurement cycle as much as you possibly can. So yeah, there's a bunch of best practices that we can share with the team. Great.

39:41 Des Russell  

I'll grab some of that and we'll put that in the show notes. So, one of the things that every partnership leader has to do is go find some investments for run in particular partner initiatives or investments in partners.

If you are going to be refolding a long-term vision for a partner, a long-term plan for partner like you're doing the industry team. No doubt, there's an engineering investment, there's a go to market investments, there's probably investments that are there that you can capitalize on. But there's probably assets that you need to take back to the business, particularly if you're on a breakthrough or privatize a particular industry.

Now, this is really, it's a tough, it's a tough conversation for anyone in partnerships to have with the rest of the business. How do you take a business case forward for investments in in partnerships? Maybe what is is a couple of things that you should be thinking about all the time, and what makes a good investment that you take forward? Versus a bad investment that you take forward?

40:52 Chris Casey    

I really try and keep this simple. It's what's the impact to the business? And I think a lot of people like go to revenue, there is like the initial answer. That's ideal if you could tie it back to revenue or incremental usage. But for us, like, you need to be able to succinctly answer and I mean succinctly to like, to the CEO, if they asked that question, like, what's the impact to the business? succinctly answer that in a few sentences.

So for us, that might be there is a brand new cohort of line of business users that we would love to have running those systems on AWS, but we can't with our partnership with XYZ, partner that we're currently like, thinking about doing something with, it might be as simple as well, there is a very large opportunity with a cohort of customers in a specific geography where this systems integrator, you know, is the incumbent, they have all the relationships with these customers, we're launching a region there.

And so we think partnership with this company is the best way for us to scale AWS adoption is quickly but if you can't, like put that in a paragraph, yeah, the rest of your business case is probably going to be a hard slog to get approved. And you know, we do we have a very structured process here, as you can imagine about how we get those approved. And beyond that, like, you know, one paragraph, you know, we do go into different levels of detail on like, do we have alignment with the leadership of the partner, like, are they committed, long term to this partnership, just because just because the piece of paper says five years, yeah, like, what's the leadership commitment, are they and you can get some interesting signals out of it?

Like we typically for our most strategic partners, like to do quarterly business reviews, where we're getting the team together for an hour, it's like on a zoom call. So it's not like there's a travel or expense budget to just go over? How's the partnership going? Where do we need to make pivots? Where are we at in terms of some of our key metrics? And what are some of the positive business trends and some of the headwinds we're facing? If you've got a partner that's not willing to commit to for one-hour meetings a year? Yeah, then you're getting a little bit of a signal there that like, yeah, maybe that that mutual commitment, and to the point we've been talking about before the mutual benefit? Yeah, there's some little warning signs. So there's a whole bunch of detail in terms of how we assess a business case, but fundamentally made if you can't say like, what, what's the what's the measurement of the impact of this to the business? You're missing the point? Yeah,

43:38 Des Russell  

Absolutely. Get those fundamentals right. And you'll probably have a good number one opportunity for getting that investment. But number two, opportunity for best success as well. I like that. Excellent. Chris, it's been a great conversation. And I know we could go on forever, but I want to bring it home. And I like to do things a little bit differently. And we've got a game that we like to play on the investible partnerships podcast. It's called the partnerships Fast Five.

So all I'm going to do is I'm going to give you five I'm going to start five sentences, and I want you to finish them with a one word with a one word or one or two word answer. You don't need to tell me why just whatever comes to mind. You just fire it through. And there's no winners or losers, but they might be the best answers published at the end. Cool, ready to go.

Okay, let's go first one.

Partnerships thrive on..

Chris Casey  

Being mutually beneficial

Des Russell

Partnerships embody…

Chris Casey  

The ultimate form of customer obsession.

Des Russell

Through partnerships you can…

Chris Casey

Expand your network and your impact.

Des Russell

Partnerships spark…

Chris Casey

Transformational innovation.

Des Russell

And lastly, partnerships succeed through…

Chris Casey  

This one easy mechanisms, not just good intentions.

45:08 Des Russell  

Love it. Excellent. Chris, you've been an absolute brilliant guest. I've loved the conversation. And thank you so much for giving up your busy time and schedule, particularly at the end of the calendar year. So for our audience that want to connect with you and learn a little bit more about what you do in your industry role and you as a partnership, professional, how best could they connect with you?

45:42 Chris Casey  

Probably on LinkedIn the easiest, we can put the link to my profile in the show notes to where you can reach me through Des I'm sure he'll be happy to connect me with any of you. But in all seriousness, there's thank you for the invite today and importantly, thank you for doing this.

I think we need more,  as the partnership role and ecosystem and chief partner officers sort of title has continued to grow like the more of professional networks, connecting people and sharing best practices are needed. So awesome work on putting all this together and thanks to you and the team and Investible  Partnerships.

46:19 Des Russell  

Thank you for listening to investible  partnerships. Subscribe wherever you listen and visit investible  partnerships.com. For the transcripts of today's show

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