A strategic collaboration has been announced between international business platform Xero and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to bolster small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Australia and New Zealand. The partnership is set to empower SMBs with digital capabilities by leveraging cloud technology, thus potentially unlocking advantageous economic opportunities across the region. These two countries' economies are significantly driven by SMBs, representing roughly 97% of all businesses.
Recent research by Xero and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research indicated that SMEs could elevate Australia's GDP by as much as A$181 billion annually by adopting digital technology fully. Correspondingly, New Zealand could see an annual GDP increase of up to NZ$7.8 billion. The objective of the AWS-Xero alliance is to help SMEs seize this fiscal potential and make meaningful advances in both countries' digital economies.
To assist in achieving this, Xero intends to offer AWS Lift through its App Store. AWS Lift, launched in February 2021, is a programme expressly designed to propel SMBs on their digital transformation mission. The initiative provides a starter pack of AWS credits (up to US$83,500) for 12 months, providing access to over 240 AWS technology services. This includes machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), known for their extensive global cloud infrastructure and deep functionality.
This endeavour aims at modernising operations and transitioning from traditional on-premises data stores to a fully managed cloud platform. This shift offers superior security, resilience, and scalability. In doing so, SMBs will have access to support from AWS and its global community of partners. These entities bring differentiated solutions, skills, and capabilities to support organisations of all sizes on their digital transformation journey.
Jeremy Butteriss, EGM Ecosystem and Partnerships at Xero, commented on the partnership, saying, "At Xero, we enable small businesses and their advisors to operate efficiently using our cloud accounting platform. We know that small businesses do better when supported by technology, so we are proud to support small businesses and our ecosystem community to get started on their digital transformation journey leveraging AWS’s broad and deep set of services through the AWS Lift program, available directly via the Xero App Store."
Proponents of the cloud's transformative power, several Australian and New Zealand SMBs are already reaping the benefits of digitisation by adopting AWS's flexible scale-as-required offerings. PaySauce, a Wellington-based software company, significantly benefited from AWS Lift in supporting its business expansion and innovation. Asantha Wijeyeratne, CEO and co-founder of PaySauce, stated, "AWS Lift allowed us to get started quickly on AWS and access their comprehensive set of services, global cloud infrastructure, and team of AWS experts to help us rapidly experiment and accelerate our transformation."
The alliance between AWS and Xero is poised to create significant opportunities for SMBs and contribute to the growth and resilience of both Australia and New Zealand's digital economies. Pip Gilbert, Head of Strategy and Operations, AWS New Zealand, emphasised this sentiment explaining, "Business leaders that accelerate their digitisation journey unlock growth, innovation, and cost-optimisation opportunities, while building resilient and agile organisations for tomorrow. By leveraging AWS and Xero, SMBs can get started on the cloud quickly and easily, and leverage advanced services like AI/ML and data analytics to experiment and drive insight-driven transformation."
Since migrating their platform to AWS in 2016, Xero has been a customer and partner of AWS, which facilitated their growth, innovation, and rapid business expansion worldwide. From its inception in 2006, Xero now boasts over 3.95 million global subscribers. Xero recently started experimenting with a generative AI on its customer experience platform, Xero Central. Being an early adopter of the cloud tech service, Amazon Bedrock, they have the advantage of experimenting with different models and leveraging their extensive knowledge base to enhance the support provided to their customers.