Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the heart of the Australia and New Zealand economies, representing about 97% of all businesses in both countries. Digitising small businesses across the region can create significant economic opportunities. Recent research from global small business platform, Xero, and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) found that SMBs could increase Aotearoa’s GDP by up to NZ$7.8 billion (A$7.2 billion) each year by using cloud-based tools to improve productivity. In Australia, research suggests that if all SMEs fully embraced digital technology, they could unlock another A$181 billion in revenue.

Marvel Stadium in Melbourne becomes the Southern Hemisphere’s first stadium to use Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology to eliminate checkout lines, so fans can grab refreshments and get back to the game faster.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Xero have a shared vision to help SMBs unlock this opportunity and advance the digital economies of both countries. To support this, we are collaborating to offer AWS Lift through the Xero App Store, to help Xero’s small business customers and ecosystem community leverage the power of the cloud to digitally transform their business.

Launched in February this year, AWS Lift is a program that helps SMBs to kickstart their digital transformation journey by offering a starter pack of AWS Credits* over 12 months to help them get started on the cloud. SMBs can access these credits, up to US$83,500, to try out over 240 AWS technology services including machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), using its extensive global cloud infrastructure and deep functionality.

SMBs can also use AWS Lift to modernise operations and move from legacy on-premises data stores to a fully managed cloud platform offering world-class security, resilience, and the ability to quickly scale. SMBs receive support from AWS and a global community of AWS Partners, who have specialised skills, capabilities, and differentiated solutions for organisations from every industry and of every size to work towards digital transformation.

New services and announcements, including Amazon Q, a new type of generative AI assistant specifically for work, next generation AWS-designed chips, and more.

“At Xero, we enable small businesses and their advisors to operate efficiently using our cloud accounting platform,” said Jeremy Butteriss, EGM ecosystem and partnerships at Xero. “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.”

Empowering SMB digitisation with the cloud

In Australia and New Zealand, SMBs such as Lovisa (retail), Kontentlabs (education), Beyond Essential (healthcare), are already tapping the power of the cloud to digitise their businesses, while having the flexibility to scale as needed with AWS’s pay-as-you-go options.

For PaySauce, a Kiwi software company based in Wellington that provides payroll solutions for small and micro employers, AWS Lift was instrumental in supporting business growth and innovation.

“As a SaaS company looking to expand across New Zealand and Australia, we need access to world-class technology to help us rapidly innovate and scale to support our growth,” said Asantha Wijeyeratne, CEO and co-founder of PaySauce. “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.”

For Auckland-based HyperCinema, the world’s first live AI cinema where audiences are the star of a movie, AWS Lift helped them bring their innovation to life quickly.

“Built on AWS’s infrastructure, we have pioneered a world-first in AI entertainment and brought this unique innovation to market more rapidly than expected,” said Tarver Graham, CEO, Gladeye, which co-founded HyperCinema. “We were able to leverage a range of AWS services and infrastructure, which provided us with the scale and distributed compute capability to operate at ultra-high speeds and deliver a smooth movie-going experience to our audience. We received exceptional technical support and guidance for what is a highly complex service, and we’re excited about the possibilities of our collaboration as we continue to push the boundaries of AI entertainment globally.”

AWS Lift to support digital transformation in Aotearoa with AWS Credits of up to US$83,500.

“The digital economy has created new opportunities for SMBs in Australia and New Zealand,” said Pip Gilbert, head of strategy and operations, AWS New Zealand. “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.”

Xero has been a long-term customer and partner of AWS since migrating their platform to AWS in 2016, which has enabled them to scale, innovate, and rapidly grow their business globally. From a startup in New Zealand in 2006, they now have more than 3.95 million subscribers globally.

Recently, Xero announced it was experimenting with a generative AI in its customer experience platform, Xero Central. As an early adopter of cloud tech Amazon Bedrock, a service to build, scale, and accelerate the development of generative AI applications, Xero has the advantage of experimenting with different foundation models and large language models, plus Xero’s extensive knowledge base to enhance the support provided to customers.

For more information on getting started with AWS Lift through Xero, please visit the Xero App Store*.

*This offer is part of AWS Lift, separate terms and conditions and eligibility criteria apply.