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Amazon Web Services’ Value Chain By @TheEbizWizard | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Amazon’s Cloud Computing Digital Blind Spot

Amazon’s Cloud Computing Digital Blind Spot

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing juggernaut, wrapped up its annual reInvent conference in Las Vegas last week. Host to many thousands of AWS devotees, hundreds of exhibiting partners, and dozens of press and analysts – but not myself. You see, I wasn’t invited.

Not for want of trying, mind you. It didn’t matter that I had attended last year as an analyst, or that I write about them regularly, or even that my opinion of them has generally been quite favorable. You’d think that with my new role as contributor to Forbes on the topic of digital transformation, I’d be a shoe-in for one of the coveted press/analyst passes. Didn’t happen.

Determined not to fall for a sour grapes trap, I spent the week following the goings-on at reInvent anyway, paying special attention to Amazon’s announcements at the show. After all, AWS saves its most significant product launches for reInvent, signaling their strategy for the coming year.

A handful of security and compliance tools. Three new application lifecycle management tools. Yet another cloud-based database. And a container service for all you Docker fans out there. The techies in the crowd went home happy to be sure.

Then it dawned on me. Amazon didn’t exclude me in spite of my focus on digital transformation. They chose not to invite me precisely because my focus is on digital. You see, for better or worse, AWS has no real digital story to tell. And therein lies the true AWS digital story.

Amazon Web Services’ Value Chain

Today, the word digital refers to the fact that human behavior and preferences drive technology use and selection, which in turn drive how companies must interact with their customers. In other words, digital strategies center on the end-user customer.

AWS, however, sees itself primarily as an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud provider, offering cloud infrastructure services to a global community of developers and operations professionals. In fact, AWS’s traditional customer base are Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers who build cloud-based offerings on top of the Amazon infrastructure cloud.

However, Amazon clearly realizes their growth depends upon enterprise customers. Large enterprises – banks, manufacturers, pharmas, insurance companies, etc. – represent AWS’s comparatively newer battleground, as Amazon seeks to expand their already immense cloud business.

This year’s reInvent emphasized the keystone of AWS’s enterprise strategy: target the IT shops. After all, IT is where enterprise developers and ops folks traditionally fit into the organization, and furthermore, enterprise IT has traditionally been responsible for IT infrastructure, as well as security and IT compliance. Placed into this context, this fall’s crop of product announcements make perfect sense.

However, AWS chose not to offer any new products for enterprise digital professionals outside the traditional IT organization. These folks typically work under the Chief Marketing Officer or the Chief Digital Officer, or sometimes under a VP of Ecommerce or similar executive – but regardless of the reporting structure, today’s digital efforts frequently fall outside the traditional IT organization, and focus more on the user experience than on the underlying technology infrastructure.

Digital teams are still able to take advantage of AWS, but not directly. Amazon’s strategy to serve these customers is through an indirect channel, as the following diagram illustrates.

AWS value chain

Amazon Web Services’ Cloud Value Chain

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More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise. As president of Intellyx, Mr. Bloomberg brings his years of thought leadership in the areas of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture, and Service-Oriented Architecture to a global clientele of business executives, architects, software vendors, and Cloud service providers looking to achieve technology-enabled business agility across their organizations and for their customers. His latest book, The Agile Architecture Revolution (John Wiley & Sons, 2013), sets the stage for Mr. Bloomberg’s groundbreaking Agile Architecture vision.

Mr. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for his twelve years at ZapThink, where he created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) SOA course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, the leading SOA advisory and analysis firm, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011. He now runs the successor to the LZA program, the Bloomberg Agile Architecture Course, around the world.

Mr. Bloomberg is a frequent conference speaker and prolific writer. He has published over 500 articles, spoken at over 300 conferences, Webinars, and other events, and has been quoted in the press over 1,400 times as the leading expert on agile approaches to architecture in the enterprise.

Mr. Bloomberg’s previous book, Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (John Wiley & Sons, 2006, coauthored with Ron Schmelzer), is recognized as the leading business book on Service Orientation. He also co-authored the books XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996).

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting).