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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Moving to the cloud requires (and attracts) scarce, expensive talent, say 3 big AWS users

The move to Amazon Web Services is proving costly for Matson, Honolulu based shipping company that last month announced that it has abandoned its four data centers in favor of going all-in with AWS. But spending does not come from the leasing of AWS computing and storage resources. Rather, it's from Matson's salary is to have to pay for IT employees and developers who know how to make the most of what AWS offers.
"We were surprised by the compensation required" to attract skilled employees, said Peter Weis, CIO of Matson, at a round table at Las Vegas last week. "But we have adjusted."

Raji Arasu, Senior Vice President of Platform and Services for Intuit Financial Software Maker, and Dominic Shine, Chief Information Officer for Media & Real Estate Corp.

While the one-hour session was held at an AWS event, with AWS Vice President of Global Sales Mike Clayville, the three executives spoke frankly, answering questions from a group of 150 journalists from all over the world. The execs provided some ideas that could help other organizations think about their cloud computing strategy.

It has been difficult to find trained people, especially those who are willing to work in a company that is certainly not "high tech" or "biotech but sailing around the world", even though Matson has its computer center in Oakland, Near San Francisco , He said. Finding the best people "was and still is my biggest focus of interest." But an advantage in moving to AWS, he said, is that "when you are known as an innovator and a builder, using this type of tools, you are playing in leagues A, and you attract people of grade A."

Conversely, said Shine of News Corp., "You will not get any A-grade developers if you offer the opportunity to develop traditional infrastructure. They will not want to work there.

News Corp., the Rupert Murdoch company that publishes The Wall Street Journal and owner of publisher of novels Harlequin Enterprises and Realtors.com real estate site, has closed 25 data centers in its passage in the cloud.

"We have set a goal of transferring 75% of our computing power to the public cloud in three years and saving $ 90 million," Shine said. "Three years later, we saved more than $ 100 million in avoided capital and about 65 percent in the cloud." It's really transformed the way we work. We can count on AWS to give us a reliable platform that continues to grow, and our technology Teams focus on product development for customers.

Arasu d'Intuit sounded a similar theme. "Sixty percent of our users are working on things like data proliferation, lack of standards, security of hardening and breaking down to monolithic core in services." AWS meets these needs, which attracts us because of the AWS engineers are becoming an extension of our team.

Turbo Tax and Payroll, was "very attractive" because these products "have a lot of seasonal peak, which means there are periods of the year where there are tons of traffic being carried to Them. "The ease of expansion and contracting computing power and storage in the cloud is therefore a key benefit, she said.

Moving to the cloud is not a decision to be made by the IOC of a company, said Matson Weis. "This is a CEO strategy, and the board needs to fully understand it." It is not a spectator sport. "Everyone can play, including the CEO." There has been a fundamental cultural shift in the business, and the result is that people do not Avoid computers. This has created a lot of teamwork and good morale. "

Matson's move to the cloud "has created an audacity, where the speed of ideas in the senior team has increased, as they know that the IT platform can manage it," he said.

The treatment of increased latency of interactive applications in the cloud, as opposed to internal data centers, has been "a very different art and science that needs to be developed within an organization," noted Arturo Intuit. "We continue to work on this."

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