The past 2 weeks that were in the cloud-AI space was both happy and happening, with two key connects and observations:
The coincidence seems almost prodigal! While the MIT research report talked about What has changed in terms of CIO and IT teams’ roles and expectations, the AWS Cloud and AI Community presented illuminating discussions on Why and How these changes need to be done and can be done, to transform organizations across all sectors, into strategically relevant and competitive Digital Powerhouses!
Cloud and AI-ML-Data Science are the most essential pivots not just for digital-native net-new businesses, but also for converting traditional businesses into exponentially efficient and effective value delivery platforms for their customers and citizens. The launch event of the AWS Cloud and AI Community, in collaboration with CIOs of India, made the 200+ participating Non Traditional Influencers (including CIOs and IT thought leaders) happy and thankful for having a clear-cut, structured, almost algorithmic roadmap for their own personal progressions and professional journeys. This community is bound to explode in terms of usage as the most essential brainstorming platform and also an indispensable source of latest knowledge about the Digitalization Toolboxes.
This was in complete sync with the key messages from Tom Davenport, shared in previous weeks, where Tom explained with his characteristically fabulous example of CIO and IT teams & roles morphing into pilot, copilot and engineers when the new digital businesses are taking to the blue skies of opportunities, from the firm grounds of traditional successful businesses.
The stalwart leader from the CIO’s of India – Dr. Kamal Karnatak, started the first thread of discussion at the AWS Cloud & AI Fluency Program Launch event, with interesting background stories on the evolving roles of IT leaders into key business growth drivers. He emphasized on how CIO’s of India are collaborating with the top tech institutions like the IITs fot educating tech talent on critical business areas like finance. This was a critical starting point given the fact that several early adopters of cloud and AI techstacks are now struggling with measuring and articulating the targeted vs realized RoI and also with operating cost management.
Hands-on AI-cloud Practice Leaders in most enterprises do have a first-hand realization of the need for strong FinOps knowledge in the IT teams that deliver and run cloud, AI, big data analytics workloads on a daily basis. The starting discussion thread set the tone early on, that these AWS programs and community are not going to stop at being only effective discussion and certification platforms. But these are the most practical brainstorming and enabler platforms for leaders and their teams across end-user businesses, to share ground realities, experiences and best practices, to get the best out of cloud and AI for their companies.
Syncing the message seamlessly with the AWS India vision and mission, Puneet aptly explained how this program and community will pave the India Runway and make the country ready to emerge as a winner in the global Cloud and AI race for talent. Sharing the phenomenal global scale & growth figures of Amazon AWS over the past decade, Puneet also emphasized on how the AWS training and ecosystem development initiatives are helping Indian start-up’s with excellent and novel ideas to build a better India and world, for example through the 1 billion+ USD worth of credits invested in start-up’s in the 2020 AWS Activate program. The exemplary partnerships with Airtel and with Deloitte for instance, on Cloud Garages, are already showing clear roadmaps for enterprises in their journeys into cloud, through agile, experiment-driven, efficient approaches that can help in first architecting and then articulating quick wins for businesses!
The India Stack, built on the JAM trinity of Jandhan-Adhar-Mobile phone, is already emerging as a full-stack growth and value driver, setting an example for the world. The AWS Cloud and AI community is slated to act as a key lever for it, as the time is NOW for a cloud and intelligence-accelerated journey for a nation-wide transformation. In summary: "There’s never been a better time to be a worker with special skills or the right education, because these people can use technology to create and capture value. However, there’s never been a worse time to be a worker with only ‘ordinary’ skills and abilities to offer, because computers, robots and other digital technologies are acquiring these skills and abilities at an extraordinary rate” - Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy – Brynjolfsson, E. McAfee. (2014). The Second Machine Age. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company
AWS India Cloud & AI Fluency Program and community for IT Leaders, will provide the necessary support to CIOs and IT leaders in acquiring new ways of working and adopting a culture of innovation by bridging the skill gap and to foster thought leadership in the domain of Cloud and Artificial intelligence. This program is:
=> Customized six-month intensive training program with first Cohort of 3 months geared towards providing fundamentals of Cloud and AI while the second cohort will focus on specialization streams
=> Specially crafted and customized program, meant for IT leaders only
=> Includes Hands-on learning with real-world use cases, demo labs and sessions by fellow CIOs
=> Provides Complimentary certification opportunities
ACTION ITEMS: Target Quadruple Skill-mix for the New CIOs & IT Leaders and teams
Assimilating the key take-aways from the follow-through deep dives, here are the actionable pointers for the New (Transformational) CIOs and IT leaders, and their teams:
1- Practice tightrope walking as Multimodal CIOs
The New CIO stories are pivoted on the multimodal balancing acts of:
Example Storyboard: The HDFC Life AI journey story as shared by their leadership, showcases this balanced act most effectively:
2- Build Bridges, not just on cloud, but purposefully With Cloud
CIOs as the new architects of India and its businesses, need to construct bridges between existing businesses and operating models and the new digital ones, as described in the previous story. Integrating huge data galaxies to build one quality-checked curated pre-processed data model and accelerators catalogue is a mandate that is both complex and a voluminous task.
The data lakes as a universal source of truth for all stakeholders i.e. employees, customers and partners, require much more than just a huge elastic underlying infrastructure. It requires new and different IT skillsets, knowledge of big data workloads and their behavioural patterns, and potential issues that may arise from rapid parallelization – a reality that all digital techstacks face given that they operate on the new currency of speed and a new Unit of Time- seconds, not hours or days, let alone weeks/ months.
The stories that the customer leaders and AWS teams shared during the event not only depicted these challenges but also provided enough examples on how they can be resolved and tackled. Across the domains of automotive to credit insurance companies to pharma and healthcare to media and entertainment, these challenges emerge in different forms and shapes, and can be handled with innovative leverage of new techstacks on cloud and AI, powering rapid elastic and agile infra and exponential value from data.
3- Get comfortable being in the limelight
The new CIOs, IT leaders and their teams must get comfortable in their new skin as front-runner business value contributors and change leaders. These teams are no longer in the shadows running the back end black boxes n skinless blades at data center racks. They are fast emerging as the relevant capability hub enabling every digital business context.
Thanks to AutoML and SageMaker kind of platforms n toolboxes with great smart machines generating other smart machines, context (of the business/ problems) has become the new King, replacing Code from the throne of business operations. In this scenario, CIO teams have great point of leverage given they have all the pulses measured for all their businesses over the years so they have the context in a 360 manner- from infra usage to data to potential issues and errors to business process outcomes.
4- Build the Cloud-AI capabilities on a diagonal story boarding canvas
These are the most interesting Diagonal Storyboards that only the CIO teams can draw- the horizontals being the vanilla tech infra app tool stacks, and the verticals being industry specific data models patterns and knowledge bases.
SageMaker, EC2, S3, Dynamo DB etc. are the horizontal tech capabilities n the CIOs teams build verticalized intelligence leveraged business solutions on them. Our surveys in 2019-2021 have regularly showed 45-48% AI initiates in global corporations are led by business infused CIOs teams, and another 40-45% are co-led diagonally between IT and BUs. These balanced and proven formula for success in rapid and business-impacting cloud-AI adoption shows that a hybrid diagonal approach works best and in the most 360 manner, for these techstacks to work seamlessly and generate strategically relevant sizable business value.