In last week's HMG Tech New Digest, I called out the singular role of AWS in contributing to Amazon's strong financial performance. Amazon has had 12 straight profitable quarters, thanks in large part to the strength of AWS.
Today, I want to focus on why AWS is beating its competitors in the cloud services market. Frankly, the success of AWS points to a larger issue that requires our attention as an industry.
From my perspective, the dominance of AWS isn't based on technological superiority. In terms of pure technology, the competitive field is fairly level. The cloud services offered by Google, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle are all solid contenders.
In other words, all of the major cloud service providers are in the right ballpark. You can't really go wrong with any of them.
But if they're all decent choices, why is AWS so far ahead? The answer is usability. AWS reflects the philosophy of its parent company. At Amazon, it's all about the customer experience. When Jeff Bezos looks at the world, he see it through the lens of his customers.
That's the huge difference between AWS and its rivals. AWS is designed for IT professionals. AWS feels like it exists for its users. It doesn't feel like something cobbled together at the last minute because someone in the marketing department panicked and realized they needed a cloud services offering.
AWS feels as though it's made for people in the real world. The other services feel like they were designed for people in laboratories and classrooms.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened with advanced technology. TensorFlow, Google's open source machine learning framework, was supposed to democratize AI. To a certain degree, TensorFlow has succeeded. But it's hard to use. If you want to get the most out of TensorFlow, you need to hire a team of data scientists. If you're an IT executive with a tight budget, that's enough to make you think twice about using TensorFlow.
Somehow, AWS doesn't make users feel as though they need to go back to grad school and get another degree. It doesn't make IT departments feel like they need to hire a dozen software engineers. It gives IT executives a good feeling, and that translates into more business for AWS.
To be perfectly candid, I don't understand why Google, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle don't understand this. How can anyone in a competitive business fail to understand the incredible importance of the customer experience?
At the end of the day, all products - even advanced technology products - are used by people. You need to keep those people in mind when you're designing products and services. Otherwise, you're just asking for someone like Jeff Bezos to eat your lunch.