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Business Applications and the Future of Work With AWS

| By Will Hall, Managing Consultant – DevOps |

AWS has become a standard with so many of the tools we use on today’s public cloud. However, as we look to the future, with the continued merging of business applications, software solutions and SaaS how do you make the best use of AWS as an ecosystem to continually iterate on our business applications? How can you best position solutions to take advantage of the growing market of AI/ML tools, not only changing how businesses operate but helping to shape the future of software and infrastructure?

Larry Augustin, VP of AWS administration, presents how AWS is enabling a business to “Re-imagine Business Applications from the Ground Up”. Larry shares 5 core aspects, focusing these business applications on their purpose rather than their implementation:

  1. Agility in teams
  2. Built-in intelligence
  3. Create systems of action
  4. Automate and simplify
  5. Working from anywhere

Agility in Teams

Agility in teams is essentially enabling teams with the flexibility and control to choose the best solution to drive results and value for that team.

A challenge in the adoption of Business Applications is that this can force a compromise or a large amount of structuring that doesn’t drive value into that team. The growth of SaaS products, and the ability to pay for consumption rather than licencing, enables teams to individually select the business applications best suited to their workload and workflows.

The team can use agile business applications to faster iterate, adapt and change their ways of working to best suit both the team and the customers. From development teams choosing the best path for delivering solutions, to marketing teams rapidly iterating with new platforms to drive customer growth or AWS and partners providing customers an ecosystem to pick the ideal solution for their requirements.

AWS as an ecosystem allows teams a wide variety of compatible tools and teams can adapt the pricing model based on usage rather than large licences across the entire business. This enables teams to manage their own applications and financial situation, giving greater capabilities to build efficiencies and accountability.

Built-in Intelligence

We are at the start of our transformational journey and beginning to understand the role AI/ML will play in Business Applications. Comparisons have been drawn between the AI/ML revolution in computing and the impact the industrial revolution had on manufacturing. 

Business Applications AI/ML is used to find patterns, analyse and build relationships between data. Tools such as Amazon Sagemaker, Insights and the new suite of additional AWS tools released at AWS re:Invent 2020 including Augmented AI, Forecast, CodeGuru, Personalize and Lookout will be used to augment business applications giving new insights to users, enabling easier access and understanding to customer relationships.

Create Systems of Action

This is a concept that allows teams to build effective processes, managing the handoff between different applications to deliver processes which enable teams to effectively build applications. Whether it’s moving between CRM, sales, marketing and customer experience system, building effective ways to handover information is a core component of modern applications, especially when teams have choices over how, where and when to run their applications.

Automate and simplify

Automation has been a central tenant of business improvement over the past hundred years. When imagining the automation of the future, it starts with the basics of defining and iterating on repetitive tasks. This is the ideal use case for the computer and enables humans to do what they do best, create ideas and analyse data with cognitive abilities. 

Future business applications will automate way beyond the deployment and management of infrastructure and software to real world tasks and use of that software both reducing the need for re-work but also building repeatable systems that can accelerate the delivery of end value.

An important co-aspect to this is simplifying the automation and integration of those tools especially when you have effective systems of action and the ability to more tightly control the iteration of these processes.

Tools such as AWS CodeBuild and CodePipeline and integrations systems such as Amazon Honeycode, which released a new set of templates and integrations at re:Invent 2020, are rapidly giving users the ability to make ad-hoc processes into repeatable business actions.

Working from Anywhere

Working from home has widely become the de-facto working state of 2020. The general move towards working “from anywhere” has within its concept two areas. Potentially, as a repercussion of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies were forced to rapidly move their operations online. When this happens the standard location for business applications is within the web browser, as a clear standard application between operating systems and devices.

The digitalisation of the platform is an essential part, here, however the focus on how to make remote work most effective is also as important. Whether that be entirely remote only companies (GitLab) or companies, enterprise and even governments dictating the need to work from home, the time of the continually shared office space may be limited.

Summary

For some, the pandemic has confirmed a longer move towards building agility into the way that we use our business applications and for others, it has proved as a paradigm shift in how we are to connect and work in the future. 

In many ways, the systems of the future may echo the systems of the past, wherein we’re each taking a timeshare from a central resource with local machines becoming thinner clients to enable communication and resource usage from a larger central pool where required.

This year has accelerated change in Business Applications of the future by a considerable rate, many suggesting between 2 and 5 years. AWS continues to be at the forefront of the public cloud and with an expanding ecosystem of services and applications seems ideally placed to be able to facilitate many of the aspects of the applications of the future. One thing is for certain, it will, as it always has been, different, and the same. However, with our greater ability to communicate and re-shape businesses using the Cloud, we are still only at the beginning of the digital revolution.

References 

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