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Use cloud to innovate like startups: AWS

Use cloud to innovate like startups: AWS

“It is difficult in this day and age to compete if you are not agile and move fast,” said Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services senior vice president.

Andy Jassy
Andy Jassy

Enterprises are flocking to the cloud to turn capital into a variable expense and scale services on demand.

But what’s really getting them excited is its ability to help them work on simultaneous projects and behave more like startups, says Amazon Web Services’ senior VP, Andy Jassy.

Startups work on multiple projects that differentiate the business and have been doing so from the beginning, he told attendees at AWS’ re:Invent conference in Las Vegas.

“Enterprises have to realise they have to move fast like startups or be left behind. If you talk to developers, their managers and CIOs, he said what they like about the cloud is that it gives them freedom and control of their destiny.

“You get to take your scarce resource – software development engineers who instead of doing the heavy lifting on infrastructure, can work on how to differentiate your business.”

You get to take your scarce resource – software development engineers who instead of doing the heavy lifting on infrastructure, can work on how to differentiate your business

Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services


“The cloud gives them the freedom to build unfettered,” he said. “It is difficult in this day and age to compete if you are not agile and move fast. Cloud makes that possible.”

Read more: It's showtime for IT leadership

The cloud is about very much giving builders [developers] the freedom over their own destiny, Jassy said.

“It has given them hope if they come up with an idea individually or as a group that can change the business, they can make it happen.”

Developers did not study computer science to do the same thing over and over again, they are creators and have many ideas locked inside their heads ready to be unleashed, he said.

The same is true for CIOs who have to make sure their companies use infrastructure in a secure and orderly fashion, said Jassy.

Read more: IT teams: How to remain an organisational asset in this 'digital or die' era

“They did not take the job to do the same thing over and over again…they sure don’t like to tell their builders ‘no’ on a consistent basis when their builders have ideas on how they can change that business.

“This is why people are so passionate about the cloud. This is why the cloud is growing so quickly. Once builders get a taste of this, they are not going back to the old way of doing things.”

Jassy told attendees that AWS now has more than 1 million active customers and had experienced dramatic growth in recent quarters. The company has hit US$7.3 billion in revenue and has grown 81 per cent year-on-year, Jassy said.

Customers range from startups like Pinterest, financial services firms such as CBA and Suncorp, and technology giants, Adobe, Netflix, and Samsung.

Read more: The secrets of today's successful digital leaders

“We have also built a very substantial public sector customer base, which now includes 2000 governments worldwide, 5000 academic institutions and 18,000 not for profits,” said Jassy.

During his keynote, Jassy also introduced customers including financial services firm, Capital One and industrial conglomerate, GE who discussed their migrations to the cloud.

Rob Alexander of Capital One
Rob Alexander of Capital One

We are 100 per cent Agile shop and we employ DevOps [methodologies] to speed our software delivery.”

Rob Alexander, Capital One

Read more: The next tech-enabled transformation: ‘Programmable economy’


Rob Alexander, CIO of Capital One, said the organisation needs to build ‘amazing digital experiences’ for its customers and needs an elastic cloud solution to meet processing demands during busy periods.

“We want to be in the business of building great apps for our customers, not in investing in large infrastructure,” said Alexander.

“We have to model ourselves on the best technology companies out there,” he said. "We have an open source first philosophy. We are 100 per cent Agile shop and we employ DevOps [methodologies] to speed our software delivery.”

Innovating quickly is vital so the organisation is using AWS public cloud services to host its mobile banking app.

“Security is also important for us as finance attracts the worst cyber criminals. We are more secure in the public cloud than in our own data centre,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Jim Fowler, CIO of GE, said the company has been undergoing its biggest transformation in its 140-year history, and AWS is one of their partners in this shift.

The world is changing, industrial companies have to become digital to thrive, he said.

Read more: Building an ICT leadership bench: A tech bootcamp for Kiwi teens

GE’s goal is to become a world-class digital industrial company with a plan to generate $15 billion in revenue from software by 2020.

“That will make us become one of the top 10 software companies in the world,” said Fowler.

Jim Fowler of GE
Jim Fowler of GE

This is no longer an experiment, no longer a test. The cloud has gone from probable to inevitable.

Jim Fowler, GE

Read more: Building blocks of leadership


Over the next three years, the company will migrate more than 9000 workloads and 34 of its own data centres into AWS data centres. GE will run services it values the most, its ‘secret sauce that differentiates us’ in four on-premise data centres.

“Everything else goes to AWS. We intend to move over 60 per cent of our global workloads to AWS,” Fowler said.

“For us, this is no longer an experiment, no longer a test. The cloud has gone from probable to inevitable.”

Divina Paredes attended re:Invent 2015 in Las Vegas as a guest of AWS.

Send news tips and comments to divina_paredes@idg.co.nz

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz

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