Larger partners say that incentives for AWS account leaders to use AWS Professional Services (ProServe) consultants work against partners. (Those incentives count toward the account leaders’ sales quotas, and they do not receive similar incentives for bringing in partners.)
We have so many different engagements that are going on right now between our field and our partners and also our ProServe team working with our partners. When you have that level of scale, you’re going to have some issues pop up. But I would say, generally, the vast majority of the engagements that we have with our partners is a positive one, especially with our ProServe.
Todd Weatherby runs our professional services organization. We spend a lot of time together thinking about how to improve and how to increase the engagement between (AWS ProServe and partners), but we actually give a lot of work to our partners. That volume of deals...which we give to our partners…has grown significantly, and it grows a lot year over year.
We benefit from our partners, obviously, because our partners provide scale that we sometimes just don’t have. Our professional services organization will never be as big as the collective size of the partners that we work with globally, so we’re always going to have to rely on our partners to come in and support some of the deals and some of the work that our professional services team is doing for our customers. We have so much demand from our customers right now that we’re going to need support from partners.
The way we think about it is that it shouldn’t be either ProServe or partners. We want that to be ProServe and partners, because when they work together, we think we can drive a much better outcome for our customers. And so any chance we have, we’re always thinking about how to have ProServe and our partners working together. Will our sellers sometimes drive with ProServe? Maybe, but there may be a good reason why they do that — either the customer wants ProServe to take more ownership of actually driving that deal and also having our professional services team taking accountability for that, or our professional services team sometimes has deeper knowledge of newer services, for example, like Amazon Connect (AWS’ customer contact center solution). While we have great partners globally supporting Amazon Connect, and the partner community around Amazon Connect continues to grow a lot, there are some areas where our professional services team can do a much better and a faster response to the customers’ needs.
But in many, many cases, we do think that ProServe will always prefer to work with our partners, and so we’re trying to intentionally drive more of that behavior. I don’t think our sellers are doing it for compensation reasons. I think our sellers are doing it because they’re trying to do what’s right for the customers. However…there may be some sellers who are new to AWS, and they may have a different take on it. But when those things come up, we’ll take the right actions to educate them and have them always work backwards from what customers want and make the decision that way.