“10 Years of Success” is a blog series that celebrates 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 Steve Sell, Director of Cloud Services – Nasstar
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the AWS Partner Network (APN). As we continue our “10 Years of Success” series, we’re highlighting some of our AWS Partners who have grown with us over the past decade.
Up next is Nasstar, an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and Managed Cloud Services Provider (MSP) that helps businesses design, implement, and manage multi-cloud environments across applications, data, and security.
With over 25 years of experience, Nasstar has deep expertise in public cloud infrastructure and system integration. From cloud migration to application modernization and continuous optimization, Nasstar delivers, supports, and optimizes robust cloud solutions for businesses around the world.
With AWS Competencies in Government, Data and Analytics, and DevOps, Nasstar helps customers like Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Rail Delivery Group (RDG) get workloads to the cloud rapidly and with confidence. When RDG needed to digitize the legacy ticketing systems for Great Britain’s railways, they turned to Nasstar for support.
Leveraging AWS serverless applications, Nasstar rearchitected RDG’s transaction management service (TMS) platform to deliver greater scalability, enhanced security, and an improved end-user experience—improving speed of smart ticket collections from two hours to 10 minutes.
“The expertise that Nasstar has gained through working with the rail industry for a long time, alongside their expertise in AWS deployment, means they’re a natural fit for us on this TMS project,” shares John Backway, Head of Central Back Office at Rail Delivery Group.
Q&A with Nasstar
We spoke with Steve Sell, Director of Cloud Services at Nasstar, about the growth and change Nasstar has experienced as an AWS Partner over the last decade, and how they’re leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) to drive innovation and efficiency for customers around the world.
AWS: What made you decide to become an AWS Partner back in 2012?
Steve Sell: Joining the APN in 2012 was an easy decision for us. A key reason why we pioneered the adoption of AWS for significant and strategic projects was due to its maturity and reliability as a hyperscale cloud services provider.
It quickly became clear that cloud computing was the future, and as an IT services provider we knew that we needed to master the world of AWS to remain competitive. Becoming an AWS Partner allowed us to help our customers take steps into the cloud that were not independently available at the time.
We also felt that AWS set the bar in terms of the number of services available, and the speed at which they were released. Additionally, with pricing aligned to demand, we were able to offer our customers the most compelling and competitive solutions to digitally transform their business.
AWS: Ten years is a long time in the tech world. What changes have you seen in your customers and/or your industry during that time?
Steve: During the last 10 years we have seen significant change—both in the industry and within our business. We have seen the evolution of compute power move from hardware to VMware, then from cloud instances to containers, and now to full serverless functions.
This rapid evolution in technology demanded change in the way we think, deliver, and manage solutions to ensure we keep pace and remain at the forefront. While the speed of change has been exciting to witness—and to be a part of—it’s also been overwhelming for customers trying to start their cloud journey.
In the last decade we have seen a big change in the way customers embrace the cloud; from initial concerns over security to leveraging infrastructure as a service (IaaS), to migrating on-premises workloads, to standardization and automation. Customers have leveraged services, such as infrastructure as code (IaC), continuous integration (CI), and continuous deployment (CD) pipelines to truly embrace the nature of the cloud.
As we move into the next decade, we’re seeing a complete change in the industry as organizations move from static to more dynamic workloads that embrace innovation and transform their business. This includes serverless technologies and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data services to help workforce automation and unlock the value of existing data.
AWS: What transformation and growth has your business gone through in the last 10 years?
Steve: As a business that has grown through acquisition, we have seen significant amount of change over the last 10 years. With each acquisition, we have built on our credentials and expertise, gaining valuable skills and services to further evolve “who we are.”
We have also notably seen a significant amount of growth in our customer relationships. Through the years, we have developed long-standing relationships with clients as their innovation partner, thought leader, and trusted advisor for AWS. From early cloud adoption to pioneering serverless transformation, we help customers leverage innovative services to transform and differentiate their businesses.
One change we’ve seen in terms of business growth is that Nasstar has become a cloud-first organization. It’s satisfying to see team members from different education and career backgrounds grow and develop their skills to become AWS subject matter experts our customers love working with.
AWS: What are some challenges you’ve had to overcome, and how did you evolve and adapt to resolve them?
Steve: Some of our most significant challenges recently have been around scale. We have overcome these issues by building a robust and credible cloud center of excellence (CCoE) at the heart of the practice to document processes and procedures. This helps us drive standards and onboard resources at scale.
Additionally, the AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) program, which we are part of, continually raises the bar on standards and driving innovation within the practice.
As the demand for cloud technologies increases, so does the demand for skills and experienced resources, which has been another challenge for us. As a result, we evolved our processes to embed continuous learning and opportunities into our culture. This not only benefits our cloud professionals looking for a rewarding and diverse career, but also helps customers continue evolving in line with the latest innovations.
AWS: How has partnering with AWS grown or evolved for your business since 2012?
Steve: Working with AWS over the last decade has enabled us to embrace the art of what’s possible. We started with early adoption of available services of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and kept up with platform launches, such as Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).
The continuous release of services and enhancements from AWS, combined with great partner support, allowed Nasstar to translate these services into business opportunities and business challenges into cloud solutions—with fantastic results for our customers.
With a diverse customer base and as a business modernization partner, the Nasstar team frequently architects and builds solutions that leverage AWS services. This includes serverless, big data, AI, Internet of Things (IoT), networking, and contact center services.
As our relationship with AWS has evolved, we now also embrace AWS best practices and cloud-native services within the management, monitoring, security, and optimization of solutions. This ensures we continuously grow and deliver value to our customers through our next-generation cloud managed service.
AWS: What APN resources or programs have you leveraged most effectively to build and differentiate your business?
Steve: We have taken advantage of several AWS Partner Programs to help us develop and differentiate our business.
Having AWS Competencies in DevOps, Government, and Data and Analytics, and the AWS Service Delivery designation, allows us to showcase our skills and expertise across different industries and technologies. The AWS MSP designation helps us provide end-to-end AWS solutions across the customer lifecycle. This builds credibility with customers and prospective clients, demonstrating our expertise as a next-generation cloud managed service provider.
At Nasstar, we maximize AWS resources and enablement activities, such as AWS Partner Accreditation courses, training events, AWS GameDays, and technical account management to help develop the skills and performance of our team. As we continue learning, these resources have been embedded into our DNA, enabling us to continuously differentiate our business and the service we provide.
AWS: Tell us about your experience collaborating with other AWS Partners on business solutions for your customers.
Steve: Across the lifespan of working with AWS, we have engaged with several other partners to enhance our service offerings and deliver additional value.
We’ve worked with AWS Partners like Deloitte on multiple occasions. We’ve been engaged to provide AWS architectural thought leadership to develop a niche big data solution for a global pharmaceutical giant. We delivered DevOps expertise to traverse the delivery lifecycle and deliver a high-quality outcome for their end customer’s business.
Additionally, we have worked with Inawisdom to provide specialist architectural and developer skills in the area of big data, and collaborated with ForgeRock to deliver high-value open banking platform solutions, powered by AWS and ForgeRock technology, for financial services customers.
Lastly, we’ve worked with specialist partners, including CloudHealth, Trend Micro, New Relic, and Datadog to provide industry-leading solutions as part of our AWS solutions and managed service.
AWS: In your opinion, what’s the best part about working with AWS or your most favorite aspect of being an AWS Partner?
Steve: Having the ability to deliver reduced costs and risks with true pay-as-you-go scalability, as well as drive sustainability by cutting our carbon footprint, are just a few reasons why it’s exciting to work with AWS. We feel that our relationship helps us deliver long-term business value and social impact.
The professionalism and transparency of the AWS team makes it feel like they are an extension of our own business, with a shared vision of customer obsession.
As our CEO, Wayne Churchill once explained it, working with AWS allows Nasstar to be a progressive business that stays on top of the latest opportunities and optimizations. This shared focus to drive the business forward and continuously improve is what enables us to deliver a truly customer-centric model.
AWS: What do the next few years look like for your organization with AWS? What are you hoping to achieve for continued growth?
Steve: With a rich and diverse heritage, Nasstar is well-positioned to serve new and existing customers across all industries, helping them adopt and unlock the power of AWS.
As a cloud-first company, we will continue striving to help new and existing customers evolve and migrate on-premises and private cloud solutions to the cloud. Working closely with AWS, we aim to grow our portfolio of customers looking for a trusted partner in cloud consultancy, adoption, and modernization.
We will also continue our work as an innovation partner of choice as we focus more and more on the world of application modernization and business transformation. By placing the customer at the heart of everything we do—and through the continued enhancement of our next-generation managed services—we will continue to add value and help customers accelerate their journey to the cloud.
AWS: What is your fondest AWS memory or experience?
Steve: In the last decade, we have encountered many highlights and have had some great experiences as an AWS Partner. Our fondest memories stem from working with AWS professionals and collaborating to drive innovation on behalf of our customers.
While working on a cloud-native car platform for Jaguar Land Rover, we were pushing the limits of serverless features and services, having to fast-track feature releases with the AWS product teams to evolve the joint solution and deliver the desired business outcome to our customers. Today, the platform processes an average of over 125 million transactions a day and is predicted to generate over 800 million transactions per day within five years. This was a huge success and became a market-leading innovative solution in 2019.
The AWS events also hold great memories for us, including this year’s AWS Summit in London. These events are fantastic opportunities for immersing ourselves in the industry. From customers and partners to technology vendors and pioneering talent looking for exciting careers, it’s exciting to be part of a movement driving so much positive change.
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.