A recap of our week spent at Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent 2018

The sheer volume of announcements coming from AWS re:Invent last week was staggering. There were a couple of key points articulated by the AWS leadership team that we found interesting for our world in legacy modernization.  We break it down for you in our recap of AWS re:Invent.

There’s a new sheriff in town: the builders

AWS’ keynote presentation led by CEO Andy Jassy was an impressive session. Not shockingly, he chose that platform to communicate dozens of significant news announcements.

Jassy placed particular emphasis on dedicating AWS to improving the lives of “builders,” – a newly defined term which includes engineers, developers, operations specialists, IT managers, and CIOs who increasingly rely on the cloud.

We agree with the notion of builders, and see one of the benefits as getting more collaboration across services and tools. However, while many builders will want to build greenfield applications and take advantage of cutting edge services, the reality is that the starting point to modernize is still a concern that keeps our legacy customers awake at night.

It’s exciting to see these new services and the broader definition of the builder role, but a significant gap still exists between being able to benefit from these services and the need to escape legacy mainframe technologies as the first step in what will become an incremental journey toward the cloud. In fact, apart from a couple of specialized sessions, the term “legacy mainframe” was rarely used.

As the builder role evolves, so too will modernization partners who work to help enterprises kick start the first step in their transformation efforts, which more often than not involves moving away from a legacy mainframe.

AWS: Obsessed with customer input

During his keynote session on Thursday, AWS CTO Dr. Werner Vogels mentioned a data point that was pretty astounding, and really brought home the antithesis of the old technology industry’s adage “build it and they will come.”  AWS has such an active user community that at this point 95 percent of AWS features and services are based on customer feedback. According to AWS and covered in an IT Pro article, a customer-driven approach is baked into the culture at AWS and is even included at the top of its list of Leadership Principles: “Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.”

Thank you to our partner AWS for hosting such a customer-centric and content-rich event! We look forward to returning again next year.

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