AWS Alphabet Soup

Brian Denker on Feb 11, 2019

Pull up a chair and pour yourself a cup of Amazon's Alphabet Soup! Follow along as Brian Denker grabs his notes and gives you the ABC's of AWS by the spoonfull!


“Great news team! AWS just told me that EDS has been enabled on our MP account. Now we can get enhanced customer information from our reports in AMMP or use CAS to automatically run them and download them from our S3 bucket!”


If this makes sense to you, then you probably don’t need to read on, but if you’re new to Amazon and the AWS Marketplace, you have probably heard these acronyms tossed around without fully understanding them. No fear, your confusion ends here. Let me be your guide through AWS’s Acronym soup!


We all know what AWS stands for: Amazon Web Services. Back in the early 2000’s, it was a new idea brought to Bezos when Andrew Jassy was looking for a way to standardize and monetize the unused compute that Amazon had in reserves to support their growing e-commerce system. It was the brilliant idea that created the 300 billion dollar cloud business we all know today.


In 2012, AWS realized that there was a new generation of builders joining the workforce. This crop of developers grew up on smartphones and Instagram and expected immediate access to not only servers via AWS, but also to the enterprise software that they used to build their new applications with. Traditionally developers would have to contact a sales team, involve procurement, negotiate an MSA and sign up for a contract for a year or more. This process from start to finish could easily take months, and it was nothing short of tedious. But with a new generation came new demands: these buyers wanted access immediately and without hassle. So, Amazon did what it does best by responding to new market needs before anyone else; in April of 2012 the AWS MarketplaceMP” was available to the public.


MP was yet another fantastic idea. It let builders have access to enterprise software immediately and pay for it by the hour if they so chose. In fact, they could use it for a day, a month or heck, even a year. It was the perfect extension of AWS and has since created the new Cloud Software Economy. From the time of that initial release in 2012, AWS has led the way in cloud marketplace, pioneering new business models and engineering enhancements that enable an entirely new way of procuring enterprise software.


The catch? While the idea was amazing for buyers, it created some challenges for the independent software vendors (often referred to as “ISVs”–how’s that for another acronym?!). In response to the changing market, ISVs had to learn not only how to price their product differently but also how to recognize revenue differently. They needed more information about their buyers than was traditionally collected, and new ways to compile and integrate reports. So, again, Amazon took the feedback of the market and to meet the needs of the vendors, AWS created two new programs: Enhanced Data Sharing (EDS) and Commerce Analytic Services (CAS).


ISVs were looking for ways to receive more detailed records of who purchased their software, so AWS released Enhanced Data Sharing, or “EDS” for short. Traditionally AWS hadn’t provided specific details of each purchase, but by meeting a few new identified requirements such as providing annual pricing, ISVs agreeing to compensate account executives on MP purchases, and insurance that customers’ information would not be sold, AWS today offers a free opt-in option to the EDS program. Sidenote: The EDS program is required to enable and create Private Offers in Amazon’s Marketplace Management Portal, “AMMP”, giving vendors the ability to offer custom pricing and terms to buyers on annual and multi-year contracts. This opt-in is becoming more and more relevant for AWS sellers today.


Further, vendors were looking for an automated way to pull their customer and financial reports from AWS once the transactions occurred either by public or private offer options. In direct response, AWS released Commerce Analytic Services, or “CAS“, with a full set of API’s for vendors to connect to, giving vendors the ability to automatically access and run all of the Marketplace reports. While some vendors fear CAS requires deep understanding of the available reports, it is not true; it just requires either a bit of effort or technology that abstracts this effort. Cool fact: In order to accelerate the consumption of CAS reports, we at Tackle have released our Downstream Marketplace platform which is available for purchase on the AWS Marketplace itself, giving vendors an easy way to access their customer information and sales reports via CAS without any engineering effort.


As the Cloud Software Economy accelerates, vendors and buyers alike are continuing to look to AWS for ways to streamline their procurement and purchase processes. A more recently released program, Enterprise Contracts for Marketplace or “ECMP”, is quickly being adopted across both enterprises and vendors. EMCP allows both parties to pre-review and pre-agree to legal terms. The best part of it is that if both the buyer and seller are members of this program, no legal review is required and the purchase can be done immediately. It’s like Amazon Prime for software!


As we look towards the future, we see an exciting and bright future in the acceleration of how enterprises acquire technology for their projects (and likely leading to a horizon of more acronyms!). When companies are measured on growth and speed to market, and margins can be calculated in basis points, every edge is considered important. Learn the language of Marketplace, embrace the new Cloud Software Economy and start leveraging a stronger and faster journey to market.


I hope you enjoyed the soup!

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