Miriam McLemore spent 26 years at Coca-Cola directing enterprise strategy. If there is one lesson she learned from the experience, she told a crowd at Amazon Web Services’ Transformation Day in London, it is that change is hard – but necessary.
Companies need to “adopt agile lean practices and invest in strategic capabilities,” she said in a keynote speech. This means considering a data strategy that includes a move to the cloud, she said in a speech that emphasised eschewing restrictive legacies.
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Coke, McLemore noted, was once a start-up, starting as a nerve tonic, and is now one of the most consumed beverages in the world. The message was clear: “take advantage of your strengths and unblock innovation”.
A key part of this, she noted, is to lower the cost of failure.
Companies need to be “clear on their advantages. I think enterprises forgot that innovation is in their DNA,” she points out.
Chris Regan, Head of Business Development at EDF Energy Powershift spoke about how the cloud has facilitated the company’s ability to support “prosumers”.
Essentially Powershift has crowdsourced the unused electricity in people’s homes; feeding it back into the national grid.
Regan highlights that using AWS was key due to the scalability of the service: “We needed trading tools and IoT capabilities.” He said the flexibility provided by AWS let the company scale up to being the largest producer of low-carbon energy in the UK.
The company now also works with Nissan to reduce manufacturing costs. All this is done using Amazon Web Services.
The Innovation Day came after AWS this week released a bevy of new tools, including AWS Fargate which allows you to run containers without having to manage severs or clusters. Amazon translate meanwhile now offers 113 new languages pairs for its neural machine translation. This is a huge update moving the language capabilities from 24 to 137, allowing more business to use the service.