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Terry Wise, Global Vice President, Channels & Alliances at AWS, speaks at the Global Partner Summit at AWS re:Invent 2017. (GeekWire Photo /Tom Krazit)

LAS VEGAS — Amazon Web Services plans to make a few changes to its partner program next year, it told attendees at the Global Partner Summit before the official start of AWS re:Invent 2017, but the details will have to wait.

One thing that Terry Wise, global vice president for channels and alliances at AWS, was able to share Tuesday is that the name of the program is changing: next year partners will work with AWS under the AWS Solution Provider Program, a change to the existing Channel Reseller Program. The switch will also see AWS giving partners a little more leeway in setting contracts with their customers, updating their incentives to better match the current market, and improving support, Wise said.

“Collectively, these three areas are going to give our channel partners substantial opportunity to improve profits in your businesses,” Wise said. He said details will be shared confidentially with partners starting in January, and the changes will officially roll out over the course of 2018.

AWS also launch two new competencies for partners to tout when reselling AWS services for specific technology areas. Partners that have specific expertise in machine learning or networking can now get a stamp of approval from AWS in those areas to help prove those partners have the skills to help end customers.

And it announced that it will extend AWS PrivateLink — a secure way to access AWS services without having to use the public internet that was introduced earlier this month — to partners with SaaS (software as a service) applications on the AWS Marketplace, so their security-oriented customers can also take advantage of this technology. Companies selling their wares in the AWS Marketplace will also now be able to use a standard contract form, which should save time and hassle.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy addresses the Global Partner Summit at AWS re:Invent 2017. (GeekWire Photo / Tom Krazit)

Partners and resellers are an often overlooked but fairly essential part of the enterprise tech market. As in years past, AWS has dedicated a whole section of re:Invent to their needs, taking over a substantial portion of the MGM Grand hotel with a day-long session for partners to learn more about AWS technologies.

They help companies who don’t want to negotiate or work directly with the technology provider — AWS in this case — set up and maintain complex technology infrastructure deployments or hire full-time experts in technology areas that aren’t core to their businesses. Around 90 percent of Fortune 100 companies are using an AWS partner to one extent or another, Wise said.

“We always felt like the partner ecosystem was going to be incredibly strategic to our business,” said AWS CEO Andy Jassy, closing out the morning keynote. “It has been from the start, and it still is today.”

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