As cloud technologies continue to transform businesses at a rapid pace, organizations need cloud expertise to achieve their goals. However, there’s a critical shortage of talent with the necessary cloud skills according to a survey from 451 Research. Managers expecting to hire their way out of skills problems face a shallow candidate pool. As the skills gap intensifies, so does the workload, giving skilled talent an additional reason to leave for opportunities that foster their development and growth. Business leaders can disrupt this cycle by investing in learning and development for their teams. We frequently hear from leaders at AWS Partner Network (APN) organizations who tell us that focusing on training and certification of their staff has put them in a position to maximize both their own AWS cloud goals, better serve customers, and build a strong, loyal, productive, and profitable organization.
This is precisely why AWS Training and Certification exists.

We commissioned a study from Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), an independent analyst firm, to help us quantify the value to AWS Partners.

According to ESG’s surveying of more than 750 AWS Partner decision makers globally, AWS Partners gain the following operational and business development benefits from AWS Training and Certification programs:

  • More than 90% of AWS Partner organizations say their staff’s participation in AWS Training and Certification puts their company in a better competitive position to succeed over the next three to five years.
  • More than 80% of AWS Partners’ customers care that their staff are AWS Certified.
  • More than 75% reported that AWS Training and AWS Certification helps staff achieve many business benefits, including operational efficiencies for their customers.
  • More than half of AWS Partner organizations surveyed reported that investment in AWS Training and AWS Certification helps them recruit and retain valuable cloud talent.

We will examine each of the findings in more detail, and you can also dive deeper into the full report. Research Insights Paper Commissioned by AWS, Understanding the Value of AWS Training and Certification to AWS Partner Organizations: How Skilling Up and Supporting AWS Certification Contributes to Partner Success, September 2021.


Research Insights Paper Commissioned by AWS

Understanding the Value of AWS Training and Certification to AWS Partner Organizations: How Skilling Up and Supporting AWS Certification Contributes to Partner Success, September 2021

The ESG study is the culmination of responses to two surveys from 761 AWS Partner decision makers responsible for determining their staff’s training or certification needs, with representation across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Organizations surveyed ranged in size from small businesses to enterprises. The first survey focused on topics related to AWS Training (n=292) and the other focused on AWS Certification (n=469). Respondents were asked a series of questions related to the outcomes they’ve observed in their organizations as they upskilled their staff with AWS Training and Certification to drive business outcomes within AWS Partner organizations.

AWS Partners that train and certify their staff gain competitive advantage

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According to the research, AWS Partner decision makers believe that investing in AWS Training and Certification provides several business and operational advantages for their organization.

In fact, more than 90% of AWS Partners say their staff’s participation in AWS Training and AWS Certification puts their company in a better competitive position to succeed over the next three to five years.

Let’s dive deeper into the reported competitive, business advantages for AWS Partners.

1. AWS Partners improve their ability to innovate through building cloud skills.
Another outcome of the report, Partner organizations stated that AWS-trained and AWS Certified staff are able to stay on top of new technologies. More than 75% reported that having AWS-trained and AWS Certified staff improved their organization’s ability to innovate and stay competitive.

2. AWS Partners improve operational efficiency for customers.
AWS Partners also reported gains in operational and business development benefits from AWS Training and Certification programs. More than 75% of organizations reported that AWS Training and AWS Certification helps their staff achieve operational efficiencies for their customers.

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The benefits from AWS Training includes increased proficiency in architecting services, faster completion of customers’ AWS projects, and improved ability to help customers select the right AWS services for their needs. Benefits from AWS certification includes accelerated troubleshooting, faster completion of customers’ AWS projects, faster project migrations, and increase security of AWS implementations.

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3. Improved business development outcomes.
More than three-quarters of respondents reported an improvement in their staff’s ability to communicate the value of AWS to customers after completing AWS Training and the majority of AWS Partners reported having achieved increased customer spend, higher close rates, sales cycle acceleration and improvements in customer retention.

AWS Partners reported similar business benefits of AWS Certification. The majority of Partners surveyed agreed that AWS Certifications deliver business development advantages. Most notably, Partners saw improvement in their staff’s ability to communicate the value of AWS to customers. Many Partners also reported an improvement in customer satisfaction, increased spending from customers, and increased close rates.

Customers care that AWS Partners are AWS Certified

The ESG report also found that it’s not just AWS Partner businesses that see the value in AWS Training and Certification; their customers do as well. In fact, 81% of AWS Partners’ customers care that Partner staff are AWS Certified.

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ESG attributes this customer sentiment to Partners’ proven cloud competencies, increased credibility, and better service resulting from the validated expertise of an AWS Certification, giving customers greater confidence when engaging with an AWS Partner. AWS Certification validates skills and knowledge across 11 technical domains and job roles, helping an organization to stand out and earn customer trust.

Tim FitzGerald, vice president of Global IaaS at Ingram Micro Cloud, said, "Ingram Micro proudly surpassed the 200 AWS Certifications milestone this year with the help of the Training and Certification team at AWS. Building the best cloud infrastructure requires deep technical knowledge and experience and we are committed to constantly strengthening our ability to offer partners and their customers a high level of skill and technical expertise globally. As we continue to build our AWS practice, Ingram Micro is dedicated to not only improving the quantity of skilled associates, but the quality of skill, and are thrilled with the ongoing support we receive from the AWS Training and Certification team to make that possible.”

Attract and retain cloud talent

There is consistent validation from the ESG research that AWS Partners gain many benefits from AWS Training and Certification, and a key one is the ability to attract and retain valuable cloud talent.

As noted above, customers care that their AWS Partners’ teams are AWS-trained and AWS Certified, so it is not surprising that AWS Partners tend to invest in their staff’s training and fund their AWS Certification exam fees. More than half of Partners report that investment in AWS Training and AWS Certification helps them attract and retain valuable talent.

Employees with in-demand skills want to work at organizations that help them hone their abilities. You can attract—and keep—the top talent you need to grow your business by supporting skill growth and providing professional development opportunities.

Thomas Ferguson, global business development manager at Intel said, “To continue to be competitive in the cloud space, it’s imperative to bring technical expertise to your customers and invest in the skills and education of your staff. AWS Training and Certification has been a key metric in our employees’ development and showcases our expertise for our customers. Training for both technical and non-technical employees fosters innovation and collaboration through cloud fluency—when we all speak the same language, we’re more effective at reaching our organizational goals and helping our customers.”

The bottom line

Partners attribute a positive ROI to AWS Training and Certification, including improvements in business and operational efficiencies, and recruitment and retention. ESG also found a notable correlation between AWS Partner teams participating in AWS Training and the profitability of their AWS practice. It’s about setting up your people—and your business—for success, and training and certification does just that, enabling AWS Partners’ staff to better articulate the value of AWS, and build innovative and robust cloud solutions, for customers.

Next steps

AWS Training and Certification helps AWS Partners deepen their AWS knowledge and skills, differentiate their business, and better serve their customers. We offer more than 500 free, self-paced digital courses, as well as on-demand webinars and classroom training courses for business and technical professionals. As your staff onboards, take advantage of our APN Accreditations to confirm foundational understanding of the AWS Cloud. Deepen your team’s skills with in-person or virtual classroom training taught by AWS expert instructors who will provide a hands-on learning environment, offered at a discount to AWS Partners. We also offer free digital and classroom courses designed specifically for AWS Partners in business and technical roles to build the specific AWS knowledge and skills they need to serve their customers. Our 11 industry-recognized AWS Certifications validate AWS knowledge and skills, build credibility and confidence, and make it easier for customers to recognize your expertise. We offer practice exams, exam readiness courses, and ramp up guides to help your staff prepare for AWS Certification.

Learn more about the ESG research and about AWS Partner Training and Certification.