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Leading voices: AWS on innovating for and with customers on a long term view

Davide Balladori

FSI Lead for Amazon Web Services


Hello everyone, Amazon and AWS are very familiar with Sustainable Innovation at Scale, actually I would say that this is the core of the mission that my colleagues and I pursue on a daily basis, and more and more this is true and pivotal to interpret the financial services arena too, which is evidently evolving. Try to think on how the pandemic has changed our way of interaction on a wide scale, socially, but also in terms of how more digital we all are now compared to few years ago. Innovation is one of the elements of resilience which is relevant part of the guaranty that each of us shall develop to safely and fruitfully look at the future.

From 1996 Amazon and from 2006 AWS do really focus on innovating for customers and with customers staying stubborn on the long-term view, to avoid false and speculated achievements, but – at the same time – providing a program, a plan along with customers can evolve gradually their business to stay competitive in the market. The secret sauce consists of a savvy mix of people, organization and technology that combined empower the individual, reshape the organization itself and run faster than before thanks to the enablement of technology, sourced and governed in a different way, in a nutshell the cloud.

How is this possible? Well, primarily thanks to the culture: culture of democratization, culture of failure but in a controlled way, to factor the failure as a natural part of the evolution, but without main side effects thanks to the agile and flexible environment enabled by cloud technology. Second, as relevant as the culture is, the mechanism. At Amazon and AWS we leverage mechanisms and avoid processes, for the same reason we leverage document rather than presentation when we have to take a decision. If the latter, the process, represents an excuse and usually slow down the run, the first creates, so the mechanism, a flywheel that boosts tasks and activities and, moreover, let the ideas move to be intentions and then plans and again programs applied at scale. Yes, because scale matters for many reasons, economic for sure, but in general in order to have an industrialized, flexible but repeatable solution which either address a need or represent a foundation on top of which build other solutions as the agile and microservices driven architectures are in comparison with waterfall designed and run monoliths we were all used.

In my last 6 years at AWS I’ve seen a lot of ideas and a lot of successes of our customers and one idea I remember from the very beginning, which is now a mantra, is the sustainability. Actually what we do must be long term, must last ideally forever, evolving time by time as the AWS services that grow year over year by thousands of features and functionalities as per our customers’ requests, and to do that, to assure that this is scalable but not “just a flash in the pan”, well, we must be sustainable and we must do it on and for people and environment to assure that the engine of the ideas are preserved safely: yes because people and the environment are the engine we all have to care about.

At Amazon – so AWS – we’re committed to and invest in sustainability because it’s a win all around—it’s good for the planet, for business, for our customers, and for our communities. As you got from my words, two pillars in what we do on daily basis are bold thinking and relentless innovation. That’s what we do at Amazon, and how we approach sustainability is no exception. We are in the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, and we are on a path to powering our operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025. Leveraging our cloud enables – depending on Geo – 88% in Americas and 96% in EMEA carbon footprint reduction.

Last, but not the least, aside the culture and the lesson learnt from Amazon – which we make available to our customers since we do trust that information and data democratization are the key to move the society to the next level – and on top of the building blocks of cloud technology we all have partners which embrace the same mission and vision which deliver value for our customers supporting them along with the digital transformation journey.

Objectway is one of the most relevant and I’m really happy and thankful to shed some light on these messages in Venice on April 20th.