The bane of every successful company, athlete or artist harkens back to the vaudevillian phrase, “What do you do for an encore?” A company like AWS that pioneered cloud infrastructure services and still dominates the market, despite many big-name competitors, forces itself to answer that question every year at its widely-anticipated re:Invent conference. I take a critical look at the big themes from a re:Invent 2021 that largely validated my pre-show predictions, but included a significant focus on product packaging and usability.
The centerpiece of new CEO Adam Selipsky’s keynote was a discussion of the business problem of our age: collecting, organizing and analyzing the vast and expanding sources of data produced by devices, customers, transactions and business processes. AWS organizes the problem into four categories:
- Databases for collection and organization
- Data lakes for aggregation and consumption
- Analytics and machine learning for summarization, extraction, analysis and visualization.
However, AWS is shifting from raw capabilities and features to usability and manageability via several new ‘serverless’ products that I detail in my Diginomica column. I conclude noting that re:Invent was unusual this year because AWS used it to roll out both new products and a new CEO. On the former, the company did an acceptable, although given past performance, exceptional job. Unfortunately, the latter was lackluster, akin to opening a bottle of flat champagne after enjoying some Perrier-Jouët.