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AWS: Cloud Is ‘The New Norm’ In World Of Agile Development

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Cloud is causing a ‘changing of the guard’ and enabling businesses to pick and choose what best works for them, AWS declares

It probably won’t surprise you to hear this, but Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a big fan of cloud computing.

The world’s biggest public cloud provider currently boasts a $14 billion (£11bn) revenue run rate and is growing at around 43 percent year-on-year and credits a “changing of the guard” for helping to foster this emphatic growth.

“Cloud is the new norm”, declared AWS’ UK chief Gavin Jackson in front of 6,000 customers and partners at the company’s London Summit. “It’s unparalleled as a paradigm from any other technology shift we’ve ever seen in history.”

AWS Summit London

World of change

As we well know, the rapid rise of cloud and the accompanying shift in business models has resulted in traditional IT vendors being outmanoeuvred by modern, agile startups focused on customer service.

“Old guard companies are not growing as fast as they used to and in many cases are actually declining,” Jackson said. “And you see them being replaced by new guard companies, who are becoming the new normal partners for our customers.

“This should be a really clear indicator as to how people are thinking about their investments in technology, but also as clear indicator as to how people are thinking about investments in talent and skills, with the centre of gravity really shifting up towards these cloud companies.”

This point about skills led Jackson onto AWS re:Start, the cloud training programme launched in January for young people and military veterans and their families.

AWS partnered with the Ministry of Defence and the Prince’s Trust to create the free programme, which aims to tackle the growing skills gap in the UK by giving people an avenue into a technology career.

“It’s estimated that the digital skills gap is costing Britain £63 billion in lost GDP and I see, from speaking to AWS customers, there’s a real hunger to get more technical talent. AWS re:Start is helping by retraining motivated people who otherwise wouldn’t have found their way into technology.

“The goal is to initially train 1,000 people and then place them into 1,000 work experience placements or apprenticeships or full time jobs.”

Companies such as Sage, Splunk, the BBC and Direct Line have already used the programme to get hold of new talent and, with the need for skills showing no signs of slowing, it’s a trend that is almost certain to continue.

Take your pick

Jackson was followed on stage by Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, who spoke about how cloud computing has brought about a new world of agile development where customers are able to choose exactly how they build and develop software.

“This is a new world of IT, we’re doing things differently now as IT professionals from five or ten years ago,” he said. “Cloud is dramatically changing the way we’re operating and building software.

“Development now is very different. When you think about resources whether it’s hardware or decisions around operating systems and packaging, all of those constraints have gone out of the window. Now you’re free to develop in the way that you really like to develop.”

This freedom of choice is enabling organisations to be more agile than ever, an essential component of today’s fast-paced business world.

And, unlike the traditional world of IT, they can actually have a say in what is offered to them. AWS is constantly receiving feedback from customers about what they want, which impacts the future development of features and services.

“That’s core to AWS’ mission,” Vogels explained. “When we started we knew that we were going to change the way that IT was being run, change the way that applications are developed and we also knew that you would be the experts in knowing how you want to build your applications or run your systems.

“We decided to give you a toolbox instead of telling you how to develop your software,” he added, highlighting the importance of systems that have no constraints so customers can “build for the future in new ways.

“We build our systems in such a way, with so much freedom, that you can build the way you want to build. AWS gives you super powers.”

Quiz: How much do you know about AWS?