When we last sat down with Trek10, the company was pursuing its next step in building credibility as an Amazon Web Services (AWS) development partner: the Managed Service Provider (MSP) Partnership program. In February 2018, Trek10 earned their designation as an AWS MSP Partner, which has given a scale-up in South Bend the credibility afforded to multinational tech firms with respect to managing AWS tools and resources for their consulting partners.

“We saw the AWS program as a huge differentiator,” said Kreece Fuchs, vice president at Trek10. “Not every partner has that designation. It’s a way to get Amazon’s approval that Trek10 knows how to support you in your journey.”

What goes into an AWS Partnership?

With new platforms and thousands of updates taking place in AWS every year, many companies need to turn to a partner to keep pace with innovation. Enter Trek10. “Trek10 focuses solely on AWS; we know the industry inside and out,” said Kreece. “Our certified engineers help people build their projects confidently and reduce the chance of failure.”

For companies like Trek10 that consult on AWS products, Amazon runs a program to identify the best consultants and connect them with prospective clients. These AWS partners are certified by Amazon as top performers who possess the right competencies. Within this partner program, companies can apply for more specialized levels of partnership, representing distinctions that set them apart from the myriad consulting firms that work in AWS.

Trek10 proceeded to earn more prestigious partnership designations over time before being able to successfully become an MSP Partner. Out of tens of thousands of registered AWS partners, Trek10 is one of 114 certified AWS MSP Partners worldwide. This certification is given to firms that have a proven track record of cloud infrastructure and application migration services. To accomplish this feat, however, Kreece and the Trek10 team had to prepare their company to pass Amazon’s strict auditing process. The audit requires detailed information on the company’s processes and growth across 15 review sections, including security, customer relationships, AWS expertise and internal controls.

Kreece knew how difficult this kind of process could be. His background is in operations management, and he’s learned lessons from a bookselling company he founded with roommates in 2002, while completing his engineering degree at the University of Notre Dame. “I gained a lot of management experience and operations practice,” he said about his fast-growing company. “We grew from handling one book drive to selling 10 million books a year around the world.” His background included training in operations management principles like Six Sigma, working to perfect company operations. These experiences prepared Kreece to join the company in April 2015 and lead the MSP auditing process.

Audit processes create a road map to success

For the next several years, Trek10 uses the audit’s checklists and processes for decision-making throughout the company, from how to space out work between teams to which vendors the company worked with. They tracked their progress and gathered the evidence they’d need once Amazon officially began its review toward the end of 2017. “We started off with a small number of customers and planned to grow rapidly,” Kreece said. “We used this program to road map a vision for our company and where we wanted to be. It encouraged us to set up proper security and all the other things that needed to be in place to be a good company.”

The focus on the audit has also guided Trek10’s decisions on hiring talent, guidance that carries over into today. “We look for people with a genuine interest in a new way of doing things,” said Kreece. “Showing us that they’ve demonstrated a pattern of taking on and adopting new technologies is key.” The company has worked to hire people who possess the right skill sets across different areas from IT to product development, and that process has also demonstrated to Trek10’s staff the impressive proliferation of AWS-trained talent throughout the marketplace. “There are a lot more people certified with AWS expertise now than even just two years ago,” Kreece shared.

The benefits associated with becoming an MSP Partner are already starting to show after a few months. While their marketing efforts around it are still evolving, Trek10 has been adding larger clients to their ranks thanks to the increased credibility the MSP Partnership provides. Kreece already sees plenty of other opportunities for growth. “The AWS ecosystems are so huge, so you need to keep building your reputation. We’ll continue creating and tracking quantifiable differentiations and building word-of-mouth credibility that will accelerate our growth, especially in our region.”

The company will be responsible for completing the annual renewal process to demonstrate continued competency. The audit regularly undergoes revisions, which Trek10 plans to use to keep them evolving in turn. “95 percent of what the audit reviews is good business sense,” said Kreece. “The audit process is a really good guidepost. It leaves us well positioned to grow our business.” The company is also seeking more operations management certifications from organizations like ISO to continue reaffirming Trek10’s competencies.

If you want to learn more about Trek10’s MSP Partnership and their work in AWS, you can contact the company at info@trek10.com.