The future of business: what does it take to reinvent?

| By Mulya van Roon, Cloud Business Development Manager Benelux at HeleCloud |

If you don’t take change by the hand, it will take you by the throat” – Winston Churchill

The global pandemic shaped 2020 into a year that many will never forget. We have seen a huge shift in the way business is conducted and how the pandemic has impacted almost every industry in 2020. In some shape or form, every business saw the need to change. Before the pandemic struck, we’d witnessed an exponentially changing world and its consequences for organisations today. Across industries, organisations started accelerating digital transformation processes for long-term growth and profitability. The pandemic created an urgent need for organisations to accelerate their digitalisation efforts to improve agility, operational resilience and scalability.

Looking ahead, 2021 will see an increased focus on improving operational excellence through digitalisation. During his Keynote at AWS re:Invent last month, Andy Jassy stressed the importance for businesses to invent and reinvent themselves to stay relevant for the long term. However, the reality shows that most businesses are only at the early stage of their journey. Most traditional business in traditional markets with complex company structures and mechanisms are less agile and transformation is slower.

In the spirit of Winston Churchill opinion of change, in our world of constant change, let’s learn by observing and understanding more from the early adopters; what does it take to reinvent.

Within 10 years more digital change than in the past 50 years

“There will be more change in the 10 years ahead, than we have seen in our industry in the last 50 years” – Marry Barra CEO of General Motors

Industries such as automotive, hospitality and music have all felt the full force of “Business Model Innovation”, Tesla, Airbnb, and Spotify are example disruptors in these industries. 

These new players operated in industries where the major players hold onto old business models and margins. These companies created a completely New Market by introducing innovation.

A notable and brilliant example here is the creation of Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon is well known for its e-commerce, the biggest online retailer outside Asia. AWS became the largest Cloud computing player on the planet, disrupting the global technology landscape catching players such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle by surprise. 

In the early 2000s Amazon experienced such exponential growth that their own systems, databases and applications couldn’t scale fast enough to support the consistent increase in demand. To support its explosive scale Amazon needed a set of common infrastructure services their teams could access without having to reinvent the wheel every time; AWS was born. The lead AWS built up and years of experience gave them an enormous had start. In a short time, many start-up companies would use the AWS infrastructure to cost effectively build scalable applications and, have more capacity at their disposal than NASA.

In this fast-changing world, innovation has evolved as a core for any business. But what does it take to innovate and reinvent and be future proof as a business?

What does it take to reinvent?

“Without action, the world would still be an idea” – Georges Doriot, Founder of INSEAD

AWS re:Invent 2020 saw the launch of circa 85 new services, plus new features and capabilities added to enable AWS customers’ agility, increase economies of scale, and most importantly – providing the customer the platform to innovate and reinvent.

Let’s have a closer look at what does it take to reinvent as shared by Andy Jassy and what this can mean for the future of your business.

  1. Leadership determination to reinvent. Leaders must be maniacal, relentless, and tenacious. Data is needed, even if people inside might try to obfuscate it from you. You can’t fight gravity, and you need the courage to pick up and change. Can you imagine the board meeting at Netflix when the IT guy suggested they would stream the content instead of shipping the DVD´s? Can you imagine the decision to focus everything on this next customer experience, and to fully endorse this radical service innovation?
  2. Acknowledge that you can’t fight gravity. Jassy used the example of Netflix building out its streaming content at the expense of its DVD business to illustrate this point. “It’s better to cannibalise yourself than having someone else do it to you”, he said. You need to be able to accept reality and use current conditions to make fundamental changes to the business model, no matter how painful this may be.
  3. Talent that’s hungry to invent. Be open and agile to bring on new people and accepting their new ideas. “Look for people who are curious about learning and excited about reinventing the customer experience,” Jassy said.
  4. Solve real customer problems. Focus on the customers, not on competitors or on products, results over process, pick up external trends quickly and make high quality decisions as quickly as possible. Invent on behalf of customers instead of building stuff because it is cool.
  5. Speed. Speed matters at every stage of the business. Often speed is a choice. Set up a culture that has urgency and wants to experiment. Build this muscle to stay relevant on the long term.
  6. Don’t Complexify. Managing technologies while making big transformations and shifts can be challenging. Choose a knowledgeable partner to get momentum, success and results, and add complexity later.
  7. Use platforms with most capabilities & broadest set of tools. Enable builders to create anything that they can imagine. AWS’s breadth of technologies and scale are hard to match. The ability for organisations to access scalable, dependable, and highly secure computing power is critical
  8. Pull it all together with aggressive top-down goals. Jassy described CIO Jamie Miller’s work at GE as an example of how to get IT teams to move fast. During her tenure at the company, Miller set the goal of moving 50 applications to AWS in 30 days. Despite protests, the team moved 42 applications in 30 days. During that time the team figured out new governance and operational models. This success-built momentum for the next ambition goal of moving an incredible 9,000 applications to the cloud over the next few years.

Prepare when you have the means

Jassy urged companies to make reinvention a priority and be willing to transform many times over to survive. As many companies wait too long to reinvent, such as at a crisis point. The key to success is building a “reinvention culture” that bakes this approach into everyday operations. 

Some sectors have already weathered the storm. We can learn from some of these early adopters or “reinventors”; it’s important to think about fundamental change and to start preparing before it’s too late and money runs out. The problem is that most companies don’t. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until it’s too late. 

Migrating to a cloud platform with the most capabilities and broadest set of tools is often the first step of change for a company. As part of the next critical step for a company’s digital transformation, companies are building new applications and modernising legacy applications. It provides companies with the economics of scale and the agility needed in a fast-changing environment. As an AWS Premier Consulting Partner, HeleCloud can help build momentum by shortening the time-to-value using our extensive knowledge and experience of the AWS platform leveraging cloud native technologies. We can take care of the complexity of managing technologies while you can focus on the transformation of your business. 

Contact our AWS qualified Migration Consultants to discover how you can unlock the full benefits of Cloud technology. From enablement to modernisation and security through to operational governance we have every step of your cloud journey covered.


re:Invent 2020 Liveblog: Andy Jassy Keynote | AWS News Blog (