2nd Watch CEO: 5 Positive AWS Trends Heading Into 2023

‘What we’ve really seen manifesting is a change in demeanor. It shows me there’s a lot of goodness to come from our perspective,’ says 2nd Watch CEO Doug Schneider.

2nd Watch CEO Doug Schneider is betting big on Amazon Web Services in 2023 after witnessing several key channel improvements this year as AWS leaders say the cloud giant is now “partner obsessed.”

Schneider said the Seattle-based solution provider will continue to “invest heavily” with AWS in 2023 due in part to its revamped channel strategy led by worldwide channel leader Ruba Borno.

“What we’ve really seen manifesting is a change in demeanor. It shows me there’s a lot of goodness to come from our perspective,” said Schneider, who has helmed AWS Premium Partner 2nd Watch for over eight years.

[Related: The 10 Biggest AWS News Stories Of 2022]

AWS Momentum At 2nd Watch

AWS sales at 2nd Watch are expected to increase at a “very, very healthy double-digit” rate in 2022 thanks to collaboration with AWS that is at an all-time high.

“AWS has almost established themselves as the de facto public cloud provider for a lot of businesses,” said Schneider. “So if you think about a multi-cloud world, it’s hard to imagine anyone with a multi-cloud posture where they’re not going to have AWS as a big part of their mix.”

For its most recent third quarter, AWS generated $20.5 billion in sales, representing an increase of 27 percent year over year.

If AWS witnesses similar growth rates next year, the company will likely surpass $100 billion in annual revenue in 2023.

The cloud giant continues to be the dominant worldwide market-share cloud leader, owning 34 percent share of the market.

“AWS capabilities are phenomenal, but also overwhelming. The challenge and the opportunity for AWS partners is you have to start getting more intentional and specific around where you’re going to play in this massive platform,” said Schneider. “Then I think that allows you to actually have a stronger relationship with AWS.”

2nd Watch CEO Schneider talks to CRN about five AWS trends that have him excited about what’s in store for 2023.

Co-Sell Motion Hitting New Heights

[AWS and 2nd Watch] recently strategized together around an account and executed on a co-sell effort with the customer.

The co-sell motion in this case was a great land opportunity. So we both landed in the account with a co-sell motion. Then AWS thought what they liked to see is get forced extension by leveraging their partner.

Initially it was like a $100,000 project and now there’s another like $300,000 project that’s coming as well. So that’s what we want to see, and that’s what they want to see.

It’s not just a one and done. It’s about co-selling with your partners into these accounts, and then the partner can start to take the ball and expand.

We had been working with AWS professional services before, but I’m going to say it was very oriented towards staff augmentation. They were like, ‘Hello Mr. Partner. I need five people for these kinds of roles. Send me 20 resumes.’

That’s an entirely different conversation and motion than now, ‘Hey, we have an account here that we want to try to penetrate. How do we work with the partner to unlock the opportunity and land in there?’

If they trust the partner, they give them more ownership of the account to really expand it. That’s really exciting.

Channel Conflict Decreasing, Co-Selling Increasing

As a partner, we used to feel like there was just this arising channel opportunity conflict with the way we were building our business in our consulting and professional services teams, and then AWS building a big professional services team with their view of, ‘We want to get customers on-boarded as efficiently and as quickly as we can.’

There was a period of time where it felt like we were not aligned and running into each other more than we should be.

Salespeople were incented maybe to just go sell professional services. There were structures in place that incentivize customers to use Amazon Web Services professional services.

A lot of that is changing.

Now, for the first time ever as a partner, we’re working with some of the AWS professional services organization on designing some very specific go-to-market programs in concert with the partner organization as well.

We’re starting to take a little bit more of an industry-oriented solution. So it’s really becoming a win-win-win. It’s a win for the customer because it’s more of a targeted solution.

We’re starting to find ways to get very explicit about, ‘Let’s focus on a couple things to start working together on in the spirit of a co-sell motion. Let’s not turn our backs to each other, but let’s try to work with each other where we can.’

AWS Is More Transparent In Sharing Data, Strategies

They are becoming more transparent.

For example, we recently did a quarterly business review with them. They have a lot of data, right? There’s data that AWS is starting to share with us some more for sure, which is helpful for us.

There are some key actions based on some of that data that they shared with us—I can’t go into the details of it—but that they shared with us that coming out of the quarterly business review that had us saying, ‘This is one of those things that we need to take action based on that data they shared with us.’

So we’re starting to understand even some things that they look at—not just the data that they’re looking at, but how do they think it helps impact your business both in a positive way or a negative way.

We’re starting to see that happen more recently. It’s helpful for both of us.

‘Fearless’ Ruba Borno

Ruba came in and has been very savvy around building channels at scale that are functional.

You have to start framing up the conversation and the intent early on, and she has. I’ve met with Ruba three times now.

She definitely stated her intent early on that, ‘Hey, we recognize that we have opportunities to improve. We’re going to seek to understand what we need to do.’ They’ve started to do that already.

Ruba’s has been fearless in coming in and assessing the situation. She’s fearless on that front. I commend her for that.

It’s not an easy task to assess the situation and be open to understanding the partners and then getting people to reorient themselves

What we’ve really seen manifesting is a change in demeanor. It shows me there’s a lot of goodness to come from our perspective

AWS Pushing Sustainability, Cloud Cost Optimization

It’s great how AWS and [CEO] Adam [Selipsky] are talking about sustainability.

It starts to come into play—not only with just how Amazon chooses to build, run and operate their own data centers and other aspects of their AWS business—but what AWS has always embraced is this idea of helping clients consume more, but they also help them consume less.

The public cloud itself has a lot of moving parts—hundreds of thousands of features and functions.

When your public cloud real estate and footprint get bigger, every major company has a degree of inefficiency in what they’re consuming. So that does have an impact because basically they’re consuming more than they need to when you get down to the basics.

AWS is super supportive in our efforts and how we work with clients around what we call cloud economics and optimizing their spend.

So it’s actually great to see them even think about sustainability more holistically.

They’ve always embraced people saying, ‘If there’s a more efficient way for you to consume our services, you should.’

You can’t say that about a lot of technology suppliers. They don’t necessarily embrace that notion as much.