Jeff Bezos never looked so buff. By November 2000, it was becoming clear that the IT infrastructure of fast-growing Amazon.com was, in our words, "in serious need of bulking up." To drive that point home, we superimposed Bezos's smiling face on the body of Charles Atlas and put a cartoon image of the Amazon CEO on the cover of our magazine. At the time, Amazon had doubled tech spending over nine months, from $102 million to $200 million. The money was going toward a new data warehouse, logistics and marketing software, Web infrastructure and a second data center. The upgrades were needed to support the company's booming Web-based retail operations, but they also became the foundation of a new business, Amazon Web Services. Amazon had just begun "decoupling" system components to let other e-commerce companies integrate AWS's site features into their own sites. By 2003, Amazon would draft a business plan for sharing more of its functionality as services through APIs. The next year, it introduced its first public cloud offering, Simple Queue Service. Today, Amazon still doesn't break out the revenue it generates from cloud and other IT-based services, but analysts put it above $2 billion annually.
The Business of Going DigitalDigital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.