AWS names Dow Jones vet to drive its enterprise game plan

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Credit: Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services has a new enterprise strategy chief in Stephen Orban, who, as a former CIO of Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal and Barrons, probably knows something about the enterprise mindset. Before that he was at Bloomberg where he helped launch Bloomberg Sports, which was sold to STATS LLC, according to CIO Journal (registration required), which first reported the news. Orban disclosed his plans two weeks ago in a Medium post.

A spokeswoman said this is a new position at the company. AWS made its name with startups who loved that they no longer had to drop a big chunk of their venture funding on big servers and software licenses. But it’s now about three years into a major push to win more enterprise business, a drive it will doubtless reinforce at AWS Re:invent next month.

Last week it launched a key piece of enterprise technology with AWS Directory Services, which should ease management of a combination of on-premises and Amazon cloud-based resources. Most enterprises, after all, still run a ton of in-house applications, something startups didn’t have to worry about.

In the past year, [company]Amazon[/company] executives have been talking more about enabling hybrid cloud scenarios in conjunction with Amazon’s public cloud.

During last week’s conference call announcing a new AWS German region, SVP Andy Jassy (pictured above) ticked off a list of AWS technologies that enable such scenarios, including Amazon’s Virtual Private Cloud  (VPC) — which lets users “cordon off a part of our network and deploy subnets that can be addressable via IP addresses that companies bring to bear or via the internet.”

Other products in that category include Direct Connect, a Storage Gateway appliance and the new directory services.

As Orban wrote in his Medium piece:

AWS has shown commitment to evolving their enterprise feature set and business practices. This is evident through the ongoing investments being made in this area. The proliferation of enterprise agreements, recruitment of enterprise technology veterans, and the constant service enhancements being made to cater to the enterprise all speak to this.

Amazon has the public cloud portion of the hybrid situation well covered and is making headway on enterprise linkages, but [company]Microsoft[/company], [company]VMware[/company], [company]HP[/company] and other legacy IT players — all of which sport more enterprise DNA — are targeting that hybrid cloud opportunity as well.

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David Mytton

Interesting they hired a CIO from Dow Jones/Bloomberg i.e. tech/security compliance at a big financial co, rather than someone with a sales background from a pure tech company. What does this tell us?

1) They already have their startup & tech credentials – they’re the default choice, cover pretty much every requirement and have the biggest mindshare amongst developers and engineers. There’s probably not much else to do here other than continue to maintain their presence in the community, and continue to innovate (which they do anyway).

2) Enterprise workloads are naturally gravitating towards AWS but originally this was more “by mistake” because users were bringing their own cloud internally, and only later was it discovered. Focusing more on the top level executives with enterprise selling is a very different sales cycle, so they need both sales expertise but also understanding of the internal buying process for these big companies. That’s insider knowledge and adding Stephen Orban to the team gives them both knowledge and credibility.

What’s particularly interesting is how AWS are able to continue innovating and releasing so quickly. This might be standard for startups and techies but for big enterprises to get the latest versions of things so quickly is highly unusual.

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