Cloud // Cloud Storage
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4/25/2009
12:32 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
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Amazon Says CIO Interest In Its Cloud Services Is Surging

Amazon says CIO interest is rising rapidly in its enterprise-caliber Amazon Web Services, and that commitment for the new business starts at "the very highest levels of the company."

Amazon says CIO interest is rising rapidly in its enterprise-caliber Amazon Web Services, and that commitment for the new business starts at "the very highest levels of the company."While Amazon clearly acknowledges that its primary customers have been startups and small firms, it's also preparing to become more aggressive in marketing to CIOs are big corporations.

"Small companies typically are more risk-tolerant and they have fewer legacy apps to deal with," said Amazon Web Services vice president of product management and developer services Adam Selipsky, according to PC World. But he added that "one surprise has been how quick enterprise interest has picked up."

This admission by Selipsky follows a thread from late last year when InformationWeek named as its Chief of the Year Amazon CTO Werner Vogels, who emphasized that his role is to be an "external-facing CTO." You can get a strong sense of how Amazon's inevitable move toward the enterprise from this insightful profile of Vogels written late last year by my colleague John Foley:

He not only understands how to architect a global computing cloud consisting of tens of thousands of servers, but also how to engage CTOs, CIOs, and other professionals at customer companies in a discussion of how that architecture could potentially change the way they approach IT.

Amazon aspires to be "the earth's most customer-centric company." Vogels' job description as "an external-facing technologist" isn't just consistent with that mission statement, it's cutting edge. Too many CIOs, CTOs, and IT organizations as a whole remain internally focused. They get treated like a cost center because they are a cost center--they don't venture outside their organizations. Vogels, in contrast, is constantly on the road talking with customers about what Amazon can do to address their computing needs in its data centers, then reporting back to the rest of the AWS team with ideas on how to make that happen. If you think Vogels' situation is different because he works for a "vendor," think again. CIOs and CTOs in a variety of industries must get better at articulating the business value of their technology to customers. Vogels even talks about Amazon building a "customer-oriented architecture."

Meanwhile, Selipsky insisted the whole Web Services push for Amazon is not a peripheral interest for the company, which of course began as an online retailer. "Internally we're committed to this business at the very highest levels of the company," Selipsky said in the PC World article. "We believe this can become a financially meaningful business for Amazon."

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