AWS Cloud offers many opportunities to train the customers in the new age technologies in many sectors. Manav Sehgal, Head of Solutions Architecture, Public Sector India, Amazon Internet Service, talks about many opportunities that marketing partners and SI to work with AWS customers.
Give us a brief overview of your work in AWS.
I’m looking after a team called solutions architecture team for the public sector in India. They ensure that our clients who use AWS cloud, are able to optimise on AWS cloud on a number of fronts – most cost-effective way of using the AWS cloud, performance, security, scalability and other factors. Within the public sector, the way we look at the public sector is Central govt, State govt, higher education and the startups in the education space or edtechs. Majority of the edtechs run on AWS cloud in India. Then there are non-profits. Coming back to the global business, AWS has millions of active customers. Within India, we have hundreds of thousands of customers in the public sector. They use more than 165 services we offer around computing, storage, databases, AI, VR, AR. Depending on the applications used by the public institutions, there are services available on the AWS cloud. Behind these 165 services, there are thousands of features and capabilities that these services offer.
A reason why we are the market leaders is that we are constantly innovating on behalf of our customers. The pace of innovation is always going up. In 2016 we launched more than 1000 features and services. In 2017 that number went up to more than 1400 hundred. In 2018 we launched more than 1900 new features and services. We are constantly investing in future. We are a long-term results-focused business. There are 3 things that we care about. One is, thinking about the long-term and not worrying about the short-term gains. Second is thinking about the innovations on behalf of our customers. They can focus on their citizens and students, rather than on figuring out technology. Third paramount aspect is our keeping the customer at the centre. We always calculate backwards from what our customers want, what their experiences include, what will make them successful. For us, this is the most important.
Especially for my team, services are not charged. Solution architecture is our investment in our customer relationships. These are highly qualified individuals; they have multiple certifications in AWS technology. Each certification takes from a few months to a few years of certifications. In certain cases, the certification includes security, AI&ML, Big Data etc. They get access to this expertise at no cost and in many cases, we end up reducing the bill of our customers and optimise their workload. We have had 73 price reductions globally for our services since we launched 13 years ago. We also have mechanisms like well-architected framework. We have guidelines and best practices which we share with our customers about how to optimise on a cloud, how to reduce the cost of running your technology when you move from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud. One of the activities that we do is to help the customers get on to the cloud. We also have a customer support service which is a paid service and its bill is included in the cloud bill. Our support team monitors, without being asked to do so, to see if any customer is overusing their cloud. If they’re overusing, they call the customer proactively and ask them to shut down a few less used activities so that their cloud usage shall be reduced. Just by using this service we are able to save more than 300 million dollars of our customers.
Our AWS cloud account can be opened online by using a credit card and it can be used for the next 1 year. A number of our customers are startups. They know what they’re doing, they understand the technology and in most cases, their usage is very unique, so they know best how to utilise it. In most cases, they’re inventing themselves while using these services and features. But most of our public institutions need help. So our technology team helps them, or they can get the training in our certification courses and get trained in the same certifications, or we can get partners. We have tens of thousands of partners in our network. In the public sector alone we have 800 such partners, who are focused on serving public sector customers, govt education institutions. We also have AWS professional services. For the specific kind of engagements, we can bring them in. AWS also has a market place for software. Tech vendors such as Adobe, GIS solutions providers, security software providers like trend micro, LMS providers, E-Learning solution providers and so on are all available on the AWS market place. People can go there and buy their software. These are some of the ways in which our customers use AWS cloud.
Can you give more details about your partnership programmes?
We closely look at the needs of our customers, we do long-term thinking and we innovate for our customers. In the first step, we try to understand their requirements and their adoption journey to the cloud. We don’t want to rush them in making choices, which may hurt them in the long term. We try to ensure that the workforce of the future is skilled in cloud technology and other new-age technologies, whether it’s AI, Blockchain, AR, VRor IoT. We have educational programmes to help the customers, like the AWS Educate which has 12 pathways, curated digital content by AWS specialists and clouds labs that are the tools that they have access to, along with credit scores so that they don’t have to use their credit cards to use these cloud labs every time. The AWS Public Sector Partner Programme includes over 800 APN Partners with solutions and experience in delivering on a combination of government, education and non-profit customer missions around the world.
That is where we start, to get these students to learn about cloud technology and getting ready for the job market so that by the time they join public institutions they most likely don’t need AWS partners. They’re self-serviced. But we don’t need to wait for those many years. In many cases, we see a number of our customers who want to experiment with technology, who want to try new things, but they want to do it at the lowest cost, at the lowest risk and they want to do it quickly. Introducing a partner at this stage means going through the formal process. Instead, we prefer to enable the end-users to learn how to use the cloud on their own. For example, to build face recognition on AWS, it takes one line of code. They can try out this feature on the AWS cloud by simply using a web browser. So in this kind of use case our customers are the builders, while we provide the building blocks.
In some cases, if the project is very large then partners get involved. We also have SIs, managed service providers etc. But, the closer we can bring these services to the end-users, the business users, the decision-makers, the influencers within the govt, the more risk free we can make for them to experiment with technologies, the fast will be the innovation curve and the faster we shall achieve the goals for digital India which is technology inclusion.
Briefly give details of some other features of AWS
Pace of Innovation at AWS
– 2016 – launched more than 1000 new services and features
– 2017 –more than 1400 new services and features
– 2018 – more than 1950 new services and features
- Citizen Service Centre (CSC)
- IIT (BHU) Varanasi
- IIT KGP
- NASSCOM FutureSkills Platform
- AWS offers 165+ services
- AWS Cloud
- Amazon Rekognition
- Amazon Elastic Container Registry
- Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
- Amazon Athena
- Amazon QuickSight
- AWS Educate programme
- AWS IoT Analytics
- AWS Management Console
- Apache MXNet
- MySQL Database