Invisible Infostructure #2 – What Would Amazon Do?

Global public cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft benefit from their economies of scale to provide ever-growing catalogs of advanced cloud IT services. Although many considerations may slow down the rapid uptake of (public) cloud, these catalogs already set the new benchmark to beat in terms of cost effectiveness, flexibility, scalability and speed-to-market. Businesses are expecting powerful services that they can activate themselves with minimal upfront investment and pay for per use. So ask yourself regularly in your data center: “What would Amazon do?”

It’s still an established benchmark for any application developer building a web shop: before starting to discuss structure, activity flow and layout, you take a look at the world’s leading example and see what’s hot. What would Amazon do?

Well, they are doing it again. And this time it’s about IT infrastructure and – soon – applications.

With their ever-growing catalog of infastructure services from the cloud and their rapdily expanding AWS (Amazon Web Services) marketplace, Amazon shows any IT department what they are up against in the forthcoming years: a neatly organized, easily accessible catalog of open, highly standardized, secure IT services, ready to deploy in seconds, paid per use, all on one invoice. And – of course – at incredibly competitive prices: in its 6 years of existence AWS managed to lower prices almost 40 times, all in the best tradition of the highly optimized retailer that they are.

I have often discussed with our clients how quickly – and through what steps – they could benefit from the public cloud. And the same advice would be coming back over and over again: “We’re not saying your entire IT landscape should be on Amazon Web Services next year. But for sure, they are quickly defining a new normal in terms of how fast, easily and cost effectively you should be able to deploy new solutions.”

That benchmark became even more tangible and solid with the launch of the ASW marketplace in 2012. Go to the marketplace yourself and browse around a bit. Will your IT department be able to provide the same catalog, with the same self-service, usage-based pricing and deployment in minutes? And even more important: are your prices more or less on par with what Amazon is offering?

Amazon Web Services is taking a retail perspective on IT: it simply aims to provide high volumes of excellent quality at low prices and uses its impressive growth to further sharpen its proposition. It’s not a coincidence that the AWS marketplace starts to resemble the Amazon webshop more and more and you can only imagine what will happen when even more business applications become available (did anybody say recommendation engine?) through the very same marketplace.

For now, the bar has been raised. We are not saying the internal IT marketplace of your organization should be just as good as Amazon’s (or that of Microsoft, Rackspace or any other sizable competitor for that matter).

Not yet, that is.

But a new normal has already been defined and we’d all better have a good look. Happy shopping.

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2014 update series. See the overview here.