As India’s economy recovers from the second wave, organizations—startups and large enterprises—discovered their strongest market response on the go.
Through the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, top managers planned astutely for recovery and growth based on data their organizations have amassed over time.
The two-day AWS Summit Online India 2021 saw technology leaders, top managers, and innovators across myriad industries come together to share their lived experiences of how they harnessed cloud capabilities in the past year to deliver business outcomes—and demonstrate resilience.
“The value proposition for technology and going digital has never been clearer,” said Puneet Chandok, President, India and South Asia, Amazon Internet Services, in his keynote address. “More and more businesses are thinking deeply about cloud and technology, and are coming out of the crisis much stronger.”
The AWS Summit Online India 2021 took place on June 29 and 30. There was something for everyone, be it early adopters of cloud, seasoned professionals, and even those who were just curious about the potential of cloud computing.
Here are the key highlights of the event:
The time for cloud acceleration is now
The opportunity for cloud and technology is most exciting, Puneet asserted. He cited the 40,000-strong startup population in the country, which makes India the third-largest startup ecosystem in the world. “India is also home to more than 75 million SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) that form the backbone of our economy,” he added.
Cloud adoption is helping these companies reduce the cost of experimentation, which encourages more businesses to test new ideas and innovate at scale with AWS, Puneet said.
How data-driven organizations can drive growth
Dorothy Li, Vice President of AWS Business Intelligence and Analytics, explained how businesses can extract value by leveraging data to drive reinvention. “Given how organizations have more data available in their hands than before, they need access to a platform with the flexibility to manage this wide variety of information,” Dorothy said, adding that it helps them become data-driven enterprises.
“There is so much business value to be unlocked by setting up processes to collect and share data, rather than keeping it in silos or treating it as the property of individual departments,” she said. “You can combine your customer database and order database to better understand operational issues.”
This is where analytics and machine learning (ML) comes into play. “Analysis through modern data tools is the best way to make decisions, create efficiencies, and drive new innovations for your customers.”
The session featured Amitabh Chaudhry, CEO and Managing Director of Axis Bank, who took the audience through how the bank is driving its next phase of growth with a digital transformation powered by AWS.
“We are reimagining customer journeys, updating our core tech infrastructure, and going for tech-led simplification of experiences to ensure that our employees become more efficient while working very closely with AWS on several industry-first initiatives,” Amitabh said.
Tapping the true potential of machine learning
Dorothy also touched upon how companies are choosing to apply ML to solve complex business challenges and discover new opportunities. “More than 1,000 AWS customers are leveraging its platform for ML today,” she said. Domino’s Pizza uses machine learning for predictive ordering to help meet its goal of delivering hot, fresh pizzas in 10 minutes or less after an order is placed.
Enterprises choose to run their ML workloads on AWS because of its flexibility, depth, and rapid pace of innovation, Dorothy said. Offerings like Amazon CodeGuru, Amazon Connect, and Amazon Kendra help customers adopt ML without having to build their own ML models from scratch.
Dorothy was then joined by Manmeet Singh Dhody, CTO – Payments of Paytm, who spoke about why the fintech startup chose AWS as a tech partner in its journey to become a data-driven organization.
“We leverage AWS for its IoT, compute, messaging and elasticsearch services,” Manmeet said. By using tools like AWS S3 and Amazon EMR, Paytm was able to rewrite legacy processes, eliminate tech debts, build a high-performance ETL processing engine, reduce data delays, and enhance the stability of the platform. “It allowed us to scale seamlessly with business needs,” he added.
Flexibility to run workloads on cloud
Peter Desantis, Senior Vice President of AWS, delved into how important it is for businesses to have the flexibility of running cloud workloads wherever they needed.
Peter pointed to AWS LocalZone, which places compute, storage, and databases close to population centers. “With LocalZone, you can run latency-sensitive applications close to your end-users,” he said. It provides single-digit millisecond latency for use cases that need low latency.
“We’ve given our customers another way to run workloads closer to their customers, but still use the same familiar AWS services, application programming interfaces (API), and tools,” Peter explained
AWS Outposts caters to the requirements of customers who want to run workloads in a location where there are no LocalZones. “AWS Outpost gives you the flexibility to run AWS infrastructure anywhere they can install a rack, where outposts are racks of servers with AWS compute, storage, database and analytical services running on them,” Peter said. With AWS Outposts, customers get the same control plane, same APIs, the same tools, and the same hardware that they get in a public cloud platform.
Building resilient applications for agile businesses
“To build businesses that can withstand failure, we need to minimize the impact of failure,” said Anupam Mishra, Head of Technology, Amazon Internet Services, on day 2 of the Amazon Summit Online India 2021. His keynote was on the resilience of AWS applications to help customers stay agile and build innovative businesses.
“AWS does this by using patterns like limiting damage by skipping a failed component, shipping bulkheads to keep the problem from aggravating, and ensuring the outcome of system states remain the same, irrespective of the number of times an API is run,” Anupam explained.
Anupam also interacted with Dale Vaz, CTO of Swiggy, who talked about how the startup is marrying logistics with AWS to accelerate its delivery network. For every order delivered by Swiggy, AWS applies various machine learning use cases to come up with customer-centric features.
The audience also got a peek into Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M)’s connected car platform, the Mahindra Mobility Cloud for its SUV passenger vehicle fleets, which is powered by AWS Cloud. Binoy Paul, Electrical and Electronics Engineering Leader of Mahindra and Mahindra, spoke about the way AWS Cloud is helping M&M innovate in-vehicle services, thereby empowering its vision of a connected future with features to find cars in busy parking lots, preventing theft, get AC and seatbelt status, and track fuel usage.
Yashwanth Kumar, Head of Analytics and Insights of Titan, then talked about how the company modernized its data architecture by leveraging machine learning capabilities across its business functions. AWS helped Titan reimagine customer engagement, grow an omnichannel business, and make data-driven decisions with AI/ML to drive personalization and ensure security.
Technology getting entwined with ethics
Most technologies like machine learning come with ethical problems, said James Gosling, a computer scientist who is best known as the founder and lead designer behind the Java programming language. “Technology is fast becoming intertwined with ethics, leaving people really concerned about security issues. So, entrepreneurs have to think about how they can make people feel safe online, especially when cyber threats are rampant,” he asserted.
The AWS Summit Online India 2021 also had a special feature for aspiring entrepreneurs, where they got to learn from the experiences of other startup founders.
From key cybersecurity concerns and building a lending ecosystem to leveraging AI in healthcare and driving social impact with technology, the sessions covered a diverse range of problem statements that could help startups across sectors.
The virtual summit had lots in store for those eager to learn about cloud, and expand their skill set with new capabilities, irrespective of how well versed they were with cloud computing and the AWS toolkit.
Participants could learn new skills and even get certification as an AWS experts by attending a series of engaging courses that were offered as part of the Startup Central. The platform had AWS partners conducting valuable training sessions where they shared the lessons they learned while partnering with AWS that helped them scale.