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Meeting the God of Cloud Computing

Zafar Anjum | Dec. 23, 2014
“The whole world runs on AWS today,” said Dr. Werner Vogels, the chief technology officer of and Amazon Web Services (AWS). In this exclusive interview with Zafar Anjum, Dr. Vogels discusses the latest cloud computing trends in Asia and how young businesses are changing the rules of the game


Dr. Werner Vogels, the chief technology officer of and Amazon Web Services (AWS)

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Werner Vogels, the chief technology officer of and Amazon Web Services (AWS), arguably one of the most dynamic CTOs of our time, in November 2012 during the AWS: invent conference in Las Vegas. An academic by training, Dr. Vogels joined in 2004 and ever since he has been one of the top brains behind the surging growth of as an e-commerce platform and AWS as a cloud services provider.

Dr. Vogels was in Singapore in April this year and I again landed a chance to interview this god of cloud computing.

When we started talking, I reminded him how he had told me in our earlier interview that two main trends were driving the adoption of cloud computing globally: mobility and big data. Did that still hold true?

"We see six or seven different patterns emerging," he said. "Enterprises are adopting cloud computing because there is tremendous rise in the enterprises' desire to be agile. By adopting cloud computing, it is easier to save money for them on the one hand and it is also easier to move faster."

He cites the example of one of his customers in Australia.  News Limited used to take more than 50 days to effect a change in their CMS (content management system), if they wanted to implement a new idea. "With a bit of work, now it takes them four hours to launch a new CMS," said Dr. Vogels.

Similarly, he said, in retail, businesses are asking who are my customers: "How can we segment customers and then give personalized service?" he said. "That is still the case but we are seeing new shifts. Also, more and more scientists and researchers are moving data to the cloud. Sports is becoming completely data driven."

Young businesses are changing the game

"Young business  are totally transforming the services industry," he continued. "They are the dominant consumer brands today. Airbnb, for example, is a brokerage service for rooms. 150,000 people each day spend a night at an airbnb room. Any hotel service will kill for (a business like) this. Services like GrabTaxi are going to become dominant. Likewise, in music, there's Spotify; in storage, Dropbox; and in magazines, Flipboard. All of these are becoming dominant consumer brands. These guys are giving the old guys a run for their money."

On entrepreneurship in Asia

Besides enterprises, AWS has also been helping many startups and young businesses in the region. What are his thoughts on startups in Asia?


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