WKF: Businesses must ride out the pandemic on cloud: Vogels of Amazon

2020.09.17 19:06:07 | 2020.09.18 09:37:02

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The cloud technology will be pivotal in the transitional times when the pandemic has forced rapid changes in business and individual life styles, according to Werner Vogels, chief technology officer and vice chairman of U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com.

“The cloud is built for uncertain times just like this,” Vogels said in a virtual session at the 21st World Knowledge Forum in Seoul invited to speak on the role of the cloud in a post-pandemic world.

“The role the cloud will play in the future is similar to the role it plays today, that is to enable companies to get their ideas to market more quickly with less risk and the ability to scale their business.”

Vogels noted business leaders need to make serious adjustment to the way they think about technology, culture and innovation, referring to COVID-19 as “a forcing function for significant change” in the way companies create products and organizations hire and develop their workforce.

In the longer term, he said it will change “how a company thinks about culture and organizational structure and who within the organization will have the most impact on its success by democratizing influence to developers, engineers, and builders.”

Vogels stressed “every company in the world is reassessing their business strategy” due to COVID-19. Many of them are accelerating cloud migration and modernization work, and others also are trying to gain the same type of agility to stay competitive and respond to challenges coming their way.

“The pandemic has been devastating but I`m convinced that it would have been much worse were it not for the technology that we have available today,” he emphasized. “The changes I foresee will primarily come about through culture and organizational structure changes with cloud at the center as an enabler to companies doing this (making batter technology decisions).”

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Vogels expected business success will come from “faster innovation cycles” and thus companies should stay innovative, experiment frequently, and embrace risk-taking. To truly make this part of a company’s DNA with workforces becoming more distributed, he advised “microteams” that are small enough to move quickly and efficiently to solve a problem would be ideal in a post-pandemic and increasingly remote world.

“The concept of a company network will be forced to evolve. Cloud technologies that enable companies to secure their IP and assets while enabling their remote workforce will become critically important,” Vogels said, suggesting “take this time to invest in your workforce to get a solid cloud foundation that better future-proofs your business.”

When asked his advice for the Korean companies seeking for digital transformation to stay competitive in the market, Vogels said, “the faster you will be able to be on solid footing for your digital transformation, the better.”

“But as always, it’s now just about technology,” he added, “it is also about cultural change and make sure that you start thinking about how to create a culture of innovation, how to hire the right people that can help you make go through this digital transformation.”

By Lee Ha-yeon

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