Cloud enables fresh approach to age-old problems
Peter DeSantis, VP for Amazon Web Services (AWS) global infrastructure and customer support, unpacked the biggest tech trends during his keynote address at Amazon’s Cape Town AWS Summit yesterday.
From cloud, blockchain, deep learning, serverless computing and analytics, to the Internet of things, reinforcement learning, data management and machine learning, “customers around the world are transforming their businesses by using AWS to leverage these trends,” DeSantis explained.
Calling on IT executives and business leaders from the likes of TymeBank, University of Pretoria and Old Mutual, the morning keynote intermingled sales speak about the tech giant’s offerings with examples of how cloud is enabling innovative businesses in SA to take a fresh approach to solving age-old social problems.
For Dieter Botha, CIO of TymeBank, the core aim is to address financial inclusion. “Simply, there are too many people underserved by the banking system in South Africa. Why is this? It boils down to one word: access.”
Many of the global digital banks are focused on apps but this doesn’t fit TymeBank’s emerging market, he noted. Working in partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer stores, it has rolled out kiosks across the country where people can open bank accounts and get a personalised debit card in a matter of minutes, Botha continued.
Unpacking the tech “under the hood”, he explained that TymeBank is not like the typical digital bank. “Even as a digital bank, we were not born in the cloud. It was around this time last year that we decided to do a ‘lift and shift’ to the cloud.”
Today, more than 85% of the entire bank – including its core systems – runs in the cloud.
“We are a bank. Our customers deposit their hard-earned money with us. As a technology team, it is our job to make sure our customers have access to their money, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. This is critical. It has to just work. And that’s where we rely on cloud.”
Old Mutual’s journey with Amazon started a year ago at the same AWS Summit, noted Johnson Idesoh, CIO of Old Mutual. Like many large corporates, Old Mutual is still running on legacy infrastructure, he said. But this aging ecosystem simply doesn’t make the grade in a world defined by seamless service and immediacy.
According to Idesoh, in an ‘always-on’ market, Old Mutual’s architecture must deliver a secure, speedy and reliable service to customers, and cloud solutions and services enable it to do just that.
“We like to think of ourselves as a 174-year-old start-up and we’re trusted by customers in 14 countries. AWS enables us to deliver a level of service and allows us to scale across our markets in a way that we wouldn’t be able to do using conventional technology.”
“If there’s one thing we know, there will be more change,” DeSantis said.
This incredible pace of innovation demands that cloud service providers like AWS are always innovating, evolving and improving on their offerings.
Concluding by summing up the ultimate aim of the AWS Summit, DeSantis asserted that it doesn’t matter if the company is a start-up, a highly regulated government entity or a 100-year-old enterprise, there are tools out there to help any business build whatever they want to.