Being a software development engineer holding a bachelor’s degree in computer science, I have already got used to being actively engaged in digital technologies in my daily life, from cryptocurrencies to cloud services, from social networks to platforms and ecosystems. Understanding the technology used behind the scenes was usually my primary focus when learning new technology. The most enjoyable moment of being an engineer, from my perspective, was that you are capable of building whatever you want in your mind when there is no such technology or applications available in the market. That is why I am enthusiastic about discussing and explaining technology all the time. In 2019, two years after working at Amazon Web Service, I realized that I need to move forward.
Before talking about the reasons why I take digital transformation and why this is the only “data and tech” course I’m taking during my entire MBA, let me introduce the technology I have built with my teammates during my work at AWS. The reasons why it exists, the problem this technology solves, and the impact of solving such problems in the business world.
I believe a lot of people have discussed or probably heard cloud service, cloud computation, cloud A, cloud B, etc.. almost everything can be created by cloud nowadays, but what exactly is the Cloud? I’ll explain “cloud” from an engineer’s world. Thinking about cloud as a virtually centralized but geographically distributed data centers across the world, hosting tons of clusters and servers in the datacenters. Instead of purchasing these laptops upfront and store them in your apartment, you can rent one on the website and access the resource remotely whenever you want to use one of the resources in these datacenters.
The on-demand pricing model helps companies to only pay the number of resources they use. You are charged by the “pay-as-you-go” pricing. You are not charged by the time/service you do not use. The cloud service, consequently, helps a lot of businesses save tons of costs on purchasing the hardware and building/maintaining the infrastructures. For example, using cloud service, companies would not pay the electricity fees otherwise they have to pay when no one was not using the servers. The resources can be allocated to those who needed the most. The flexibility of cloud service allows companies to build different solutions to fulfill different business requirements.
The graph below shows the product we build, an application of cloud service. Amazon Pinpoint is a flexible and scalable outbound and inbound marketing communications service. Users can connect with customers over channels like email, SMS, push, or voice. Amazon Pinpoint is easy to set up, easy to use and is flexible for all marketing communication scenarios. Segment your campaign audience for the right customer and personalize your messages with the right content. Delivery and campaign metrics in Amazon Pinpoint measure the success of your communications. With Amazon Pinpoint, you don’t need to worry about designing/building/maintaining your solutions to engage with your customers in an efficient, reliable, and scalable way.
However, understanding the architectures and designs behind the technology is not sufficient to help a company complete digital transformation efficiently and successfully. I remember when I was back in China, I was helping my fathers’ company migrate their old-fashioned workflow and communication systems to completely digitalized cloud systems. Although I’m not worried about the technology integration process, there were tons of operational obstacles, employees’ complaints, strategic problems from different departments across the company. Solving these problems is way complicated and inconvenient beyond the technology itself we are migrating to. From then I understand how crucial and important the technology and business strategies’ alignment is. How many painful moments we have to go through together to have a successful migration. Being able to explain the benefit to different stakeholders is another challenge for me.
I realized that it is time for me to change the way of thinking about technology. Instead of focusing on the tech itself, I need to understand business alignment, technology fits, to convey the information to the different audience. I hope this class will allow us to discuss all of these topics/problems I encountered during last digital transformation experience.