It may be seem obvious to many by now, but it bears repeating because it seems not enough companies get it. By its nature, the cloud drives the speed and agility organizations require to innovate today.
That was the message Andy Jassy had this week during a live onstage interview in Washington, DC. Jassy talked about the elements of successful organizational change, and even though he had a stake in the message, what he said was broadly applicable.
Jassy talked about the importance of experimentation in innovation. Before the cloud, if an employee wanted to try something, it would involve a convoluted process of requesting a server from the IT department and justifying the need.
It could take weeks or even months to get the server — and the request could have been simply denied. The cloud eliminated all of that. With infrastructure services like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud (to name the best known options), the same employee could now go online and potentially access not just one server, but thousands of servers in a few minutes.
"The rate at which you can innovate in the cloud will rapidly accelerate," he said.
With that lag time gone, it opens up the freedom to experiment that is so crucial to driving innovation. If the experiment fails, Jassy says you simply give up the server space to another experiment or project, or you shut down the servers and save the money.
That kind of elastic access gives employees tremendous latitude to take chances and try some stuff that would have been unthinkable in the old days before Infrastructure as a Service.
Moving the whole organization
Jassy acknowledged that a lot of the conversations regarding the cloud are no longer about whether a company goes to the cloud, but how quickly they get there. He says large organizations by their nature tend to have institutional inertia, and making big decisions like deciding to move large chunks of your workload to the cloud takes a leader with some guts to push the organization outside of its comfort zone.
Jassy explained that getting out of that organizational rut takes concerted senior staff alignment and an aggressive top-down goal to move more quickly than they normally would.
He used GE as an example of a company (one I've used in the past too) that decided it was going all-in on the cloud and has been making strides to implement that vision. Along the way, Jassy says the company has learned valuable lessons about what works and what doesn't.
Regardless of where your organization may be today, Jassy predicted that in the next 10 to 20 years, most organizations won't run their own data centers anymore, and those that do will have a much a much smaller footprint.
Even though Jassy is selling cloud services, he's also someone who has observed the space since its inception, and he sees the way this is trending. The question is will your company be ahead of that trend or running behind chasing it.
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