Amazon.com opened up its online retail marketplace to third-party sellers early on, shaking up the e-commerce industry and extending the company’s influence and reach. Later, the company expanded into a services, matching homeowners with contractors. Now, Amazon is launching another type of marketplace within its lucrative cloud arm, Amazon Web Services.
The company unveiled AWS IQ on Monday to help its cloud customers hire professionals for specific projects. AWS customers can now post a project, solicit bids from experts certified by Amazon, and hire them within the AWS portal. Amazon provides contracts, messaging tools, status updates, and billing.
A business that uses AWS could, for example, post a request for help setting up shared keys and account credentials for its team. AWS-certified experts submit proposals in response to the request and the business can accept the bid that makes the most sense. Payment for services is made through the customer’s AWS account.
Amazon is targeting small- and medium-sized businesses with AWS IQ, part of a broader effort to expand the use of AWS. The service is integrated with existing AWS accounts. The on-demand experts must have an Associate, Professional, or Specialty AWS certification and need to live in the U.S. to participate in the marketplace.
Microsoft Azure, AWS’ largest public cloud competitor, offers its own portal to connect customers with service providers, as well as a marketplace for third-party apps and consulting services.
AWS is a cash cow for Amazon, raking in billions in profits every year. Amazon’s cloud arm posted a record $8.4 billion in net sales and $2.1 billion in operating profits in the second quarter of 2019, though its growth rate is starting to slow.