AWS re:Invent 2019. Event review and takeaways

John Ing, ECS CX Product leader, provides his synopsis of AWS re:Invent 2019.

“If you are only dipping your toe in the cloud, chances are you will be left behind…”

A key theme running through Andy Jassy’s session at re:Invent was how AWS is making it as easy as possible for organisations to move to the cloud and leverage significant benefits and results. He argued that organisations that were only dipping their toes in the cloud and moving just a few EC2 instances and databases will probably be left behind by those that have already dived in.

It was interesting to hear from a number of AWS customers taking part in the keynote session who reinforced the benefits of cloud transformation. For example, Goldman Sachs shared the progress it is making following the success of its online savings account, Marcus, and hinted at several new, disruptive cloud-based banking products.

Talking of products, one new announcement from AWS that caught my eye was Fraud Detector. It uses machine learning combined with extensive fraud detection expertise from AWS and Amazon.com to help organisations identify online scams such as payment fraud and the creation of fake accounts.

From a CX perspective, it was great to see Amazon Connect – one of the fastest growing AWS services ever – mentioned during the keynote. The announcement of Contact Lens for Amazon Connect was a particular highlight. Its ability to transcribe contact centre calls to create a fully searchable archive and reveal valuable customer insights will deliver a step change for contact centre managers everywhere.

Throughout the week I had the opportunity to dig deeper into many of the CX and End User Computing capabilities and listen first hand to organisations that have built and deployed various services. The insights you gain from these sessions are invaluable.

Key takeaways for me are:

  • Design for inclusion. Remember when developing customer services applications that everyone is different. Getting diversity into design and development teams will really help move this forward.
  • Some of the techniques used by Nationwide, an American financial services firm, in its enterprise migration to cloud; I particularly liked its migration party approach.
  • In the End User Computing space, hearing about how AWS Workplace & Appstream can be used to remove some of the constraints around getting processing power to the user in virtual thin client environments. Workplace enables access through a single unique AWS instance. I think this could definitely help large companies with getting audio & video to their users.
  • The maturity of integrations now available to support Amazon Connect. These are growing at a rapid pace, especially in the CRM space. I will be very interested to see how the AWS & Salesforce collaboration evolves through 2020. I do wonder if this is another attempt to introduce term deals?
  • With the introduction of Chat a few weeks back, I can really see omnichannel becoming a reality now. Because Chat and Voice use the same flows and capabilities, I think adoption will ramp up extremely quickly, with Chat being introduced at the same time as new voice flows. Intuit is a case in point here. Why would anyone not do this?
  • I think many financial service organisations will look closely at Fraud Detector. Currently many of these firms use expensive on-prem fraud detection systems and applications. Definitely one to watch for 2020.
  • And last but not least, perhaps unsurprisingly given my CX background, is Amazon Connect Contact Lens – possibly my favourite announcement of the week. This will make a huge difference to organisations running contact centres – and I can think of a number of companies that will be very keen to explore what it can do.
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