Four Components for a Significant Digital Transformation from AWS CEO Andy Jassy


I started December 2019 with a fairly short trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend this year’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent. How I love AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who keeps on emphasizing that AWS re:Invent is not a marketing and sales conference, but rather a learning-education conference. And as a technologist, indeed, I learned a lot from the conference.

Jassy started his keynote showing how AWS startup customers are reinventing virtually every industry. Enterprises and governments are transforming themselves and their industries. More than 7,000 government agencies, 10,000 academic institutions, and over 25,000 non-profits are using AWS worldwide according to Andy Jassy.  

Startups like Grab, Lyft, Uber, Airbnb, and Peloton have completely disrupted long-standing industries largely from a standing start on top of AWS, making the larger companies start their move on to the cloud.

“How can we reinvent our business and our customer experience so that we can be meaningful and sustainable over a long period of time? And transformation can mean transforming yourself or can mean transforming to meet new technology situations or opportunities,” AWS CEO Andy Jassy asked the attendees.

These are the differentiators between the companies who actually made a digital transformation and those who just talked about it:

Senior leadership team conviction and alignment.

When there are a big change and a big transformation that you have to make, you don’t want to procrastinate; it does not get easier if you wait (as the ditch might get deeper). You need a senior management level alignment.

Top-down aggressive goals.

This will force the organization to move faster than organically they would normally would. It is easy to go a long period of time dipping your toe in the water if you don’t have an aggressive goal and the organization knows that this is a priority that the digital transformation should happen.

Train your builders.

You need to train people. It’s not that hard to use the cloud, but it takes a little bit of training.

Don’t let paralysis stop you before you start.

You have to make sure that you don’t allow the organization to get paralyzed if you haven’t been able to figure out how to move every last work. Companies realized that so many workloads are relatively easy to be moved on to the cloud.

Jassy stressed that these four components for a significant digital transformation are not technical in nature, but much more about leadership.