“10 Years of Success” is a blog series celebrating a decade of the AWS Partner Network (APN) through stories of partner transformation, collaboration, and customer success.
By Amanda Mock, Program Manager – AWS Partner Network
By Aled Sage, VP Engineering – Cloudsoft
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the AWS Partner Network (APN). To celebrate this important milestone, we’re launching a series of partner transformation stories—“10 Years of Success”—highlighting some of our AWS Partners who have been “all in” and grown with us over the past decade.
As we continue to learn and innovate together, we spoke with some of our partners about the transformation they’ve seen in the industry, how they’ve evolved to better support the ever-growing needs of their customers, and the impact the APN has had on their business.
Cloudsoft empowers digital transformation for their customers with offerings like Cloudsoft AMP (powerful automation software that enables customers to orchestrate and govern services across complex hybrid IT environments), Cloudsoft Tempo (professional and managed services around cloud migration, modernization, and cost optimization), and with various other solutions available in AWS Marketplace.
With AWS Competencies in Microsoft Workloads and DevOps, Cloudsoft supported MAIA’s financial asset management platform to help streamline customers’ processes, grow their AWS DevOps skills, and improve and optimize usage of Amazon Web Services (AWS). MAIA is a cloud-based, multi-asset, front-to-back, fully bespoke solution for today’s dynamic asset manager.
“We chose Cloudsoft because of their deep AWS expertise and experience,” explains Jago Westmacott, Chief Technical Officer for MAIA. “Cloudsoft engineers helped our team understand our AWS architecture and to feel confident in maintaining and further developing it.”
Q&A with Cloudsoft
The AWS Partner Network spoke with Aled Sage, VP Engineering at Cloudsoft, about the growth and evolution they’ve experienced as an AWS Partner since 2012, what resources and APN programs have been most valuable, and how they’re continuing to drive innovation on behalf of their customers.
AWS: What made you decide to become an AWS Partner back in 2012?
Aled Sage: We had been building on and using AWS since Cloudsoft’s inception in 2009. We found ourselves talking to more and more customers about migrating to AWS, and then liaising directly with AWS to support this. So, joining the AWS Partner Network made a lot of sense for us; it meant we could get support from AWS and help our customers in the best way possible.
Being an AWS Partner also helps us showcase our AWS expertise to customers and participate in Competency programs. This helps us deliver great results for our customers and develop our own skills internally.
AWS: Ten years is a long time in the tech world. What changes have you seen in your customers and/or in your industry during that time?
Aled: Cloud has totally changed the industry, both in terms of what’s possible and the access to cloud technologies. Many of the customers we work with today were born in the cloud (and might not exist without it), just as many as those who are now migrating most or all of their IT operations to the cloud.
Today, there’s a greater awareness of the cloud and attitudes towards it have changed, particularly in our enterprise customers. As a result, the conversations we have with customers have changed too. Ten years ago—or even five years ago—the prevailing mindset was a distrust of cloud and a desire to control everything on-premises.
Now, we see a much better understanding of how to use cloud securely, recognition of its agility and speed of innovation, and the drive to adopt cloud as part of digital transformation efforts to compete with disruptors.
We’re also seeing huge demand for cloud-native modernization and cost optimization from both customers who are relatively mature in their AWS usage and those new to AWS. Established customers are seeking to optimize applications they migrated previously to take advantage of managed services that didn’t exist when they first started out.
While new customers (especially enterprise customers) are increasingly seeing the benefit of cloud-native over lift-and-shift, it can sometimes be challenging to overcome legacy mindsets and practices deeply embedded in an organization. DevOps, which was in its infancy 10 years ago, has become a best practice that can help bring cloud-first practices to the fore and make sure customers realize the benefits.
AWS: What transformation and growth has your business gone through in the last 10 years?
Aled: We’ve grown a lot! Since 2012, our software arm has secured major clients in the banking and defense industries. In 2018, we launched Cloudsoft Tempo, our AWS consulting arm, to share our expertise on cloud migration, modernization, and cost optimization. In 2021, we were named as a launch partner for AWS Service Management Connectors for ServiceNow. We continue to work with AWS on this.
With regards to Cloudsoft Tempo’s relationship with AWS, much of that growth has come in the last three years as demand for cloud skills has spiked. Since 2020, we’ve more than doubled the team to meet demand (from 15 to 36), with no signs of slowing down.
AWS: What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome, and how did you evolve and adapt to resolve them?
Aled: As the cloud consultancy marketplace is very competitive, customer awareness is a huge challenge. We’ve had a lot of success with customers who have discovered us through the AWS Partner Solutions Finder. That kind of exposure has been invaluable to us as a growing organization.
In some enterprises, especially those in financial services, stakeholders can be cautious and conservative. Cloud adoption and usage is a journey, and we’ve found that it is as much a communications exercise as it is a technical one—especially in the early stages.
That’s why we’ve continuously evolved our approach from these early-stage communications. We believe our role is to help customers properly evaluate cloud service providers (CSPs) to find the solution that best fits their needs and communicate this to their own internal, non-technical stakeholders.
AWS: How has partnering with AWS grown or evolved for your business since 2012?
Aled: We started solely as a product company. We continue to develop and sell our automation and orchestration software product, Cloudsoft Application Management Platform (Cloudsoft AMP), to large enterprises to orchestrate and govern services across complex enterprise hybrid IT environments.
As we grew the AMP business, we started to sell consultancy services alongside it because complex IT projects are never as simple as buying a tool or product; it requires work to modernize processes and ways of working, and integrate with a myriad of other systems.
We continue to evolve and expand the services we offer and how we sell them, such as in AWS Marketplace. These services include Migration Assessment and Mobilization, Database Modernization, DevOps, Cost Optimization, and support for the ServiceNow Connector.
AWS: What partner resources or programs have you leveraged most effectively to build and differentiate your business?
Aled: The biggest thing is the relationships with people at AWS; for example, our fantastic partner marketing manager, having useful discussions with solutions architects and specialists, and working with account managers to deliver what their customers need.
Partner programs that give us access to AWS funding schemes help us help our customers—from migration funding to modernizing Microsoft workloads on AWS. Competencies such as Microsoft Workloads and DevOps help validate our skills to customers.
For Cloudsoft, case studies have been the most effective in demonstrating our expertise and ability to quickly deliver value. In general, the wide range of AWS resources available, like Well-Architected best practices and Quick Starts, are excellent for staying up-to-date in a fast-changing industry.
AWS: Tell us about your experience collaborating with other AWS Partners on business solutions for your customers.
Aled: We’ve worked with AWS Partners like Fujitsu on innovative solutions to help detect and track COVID-19 using technology. Our Cloudsoft AMP software product is also used alongside Fujitsu’s AIOps to deliver a rock-solid resiliency platform to their customers.
We’ve also worked with Atos to help their enterprise customers modernize their application portfolios and help customers see the art of what’s possible when innovating on AWS.
AWS Partners like Wirehive have worked with us on mutual Well-Architected Reviews. Delivering these for customers has made us realize the importance of an external perspective; so, having Wirehive’s team take a look under our hood was a valuable experience.
AWS: In your opinion, what’s the best part about working with AWS or being an AWS Partner?
Aled: The best part is working in a fast-paced and game-changing sector with a popular and innovative cloud provider. We help our customers transform their businesses using AWS, and seeing our customers innovate faster and modernize the way they deliver software is very rewarding.
Being an AWS Partner is a vital part of doing that. Through our close relationship with AWS, we are able to tell a joint story to our customers. We have the opportunity to learn about innovations and products directly from the people who built them. We can then pass that knowledge and innovation to our customers.
AWS: What do the next few years look like for your organization with AWS? What are you hoping to achieve for continued growth?
Aled: As cloud adoption picks up pace, there is a huge opportunity to help companies who aren’t yet taking advantage of the cloud make the switch. The cloud services market is set to grow massively, and this rapid growth means cloud skills and cost optimization are front-of-mind for customers.
The skills squeeze means that recruiting people with the right cloud skills can be a challenge for many businesses; we want to use the training and development opportunities offered by AWS as we grow our team, and share this with our customers.
We are currently working towards more AWS Competencies, which are a key element in our growth plans for 2022 and beyond. Achieving more Competencies ensures we have validated skills to help our customers as their cloud needs mature. We plan to build on this and continue to leverage the excellent relationships we have with AWS to learn, meet new prospective customers, and get more people comfortable with the cloud.
We will also continue to grow our FinOps practice to help with customer cost optimization concerns. One of the great things about cloud is its flexibility, which gives companies more cost control levers to pull than traditional on-premises models. We’re members and Certified Providers of the FinOps Foundation which has established industry-leading best practices in cost optimization—both technically and culturally.
Sustainability is also in the plans for the next few years. It’s great to see so many companies taking this seriously, and we welcomed the introduction of the Sustainability Pillar to the AWS Well-Architected Framework in 2021. It sparked great conversations with customers about their practices. This is an evolving space and we’re excited to see how we can continue to contribute.
AWS: What is your fondest AWS memory or experience?
Aled: There are quite a few. From a technical perspective, it was probably helping one of our Tier 1 banking customers run their biggest-ever disaster recovery test on AWS. This involved simulating a failure to test the orchestrated failover and recovery for 10,000 virtual machines.
From a personal perspective, Cloudsoft being invited to share the stage at the AWS re:Invent Partner Keynote by Dave McCann (former VP of AWS Migration, Marketplace & Control Services) was a great experience!
About the AWS Partner Network
The AWS Partner Network (APN) is a global community of partners that leverage programs, expertise, and resources to build, market, and sell customer offerings. This diverse network features 100,000 partners from more than 150 countries.
Together, partners and AWS can provide innovative solutions, solve technical challenges, win deals, and deliver value to our mutual customers.
Read Jeff Barr’s blog post about the APN’s anniversary: 10 Years and Going Strong!
See other stories in the APN’s “10 Years of Success” blog series.