AWS Made Easy: Even A Sales Rep Can Do It

So let me start off by simply saying this... I have the coolest sales job on earth! I get to work for a company that partners with the fastest growing technology company in the world (Amazon Web Services) while helping my customers (begging for knowledge) to adopt this technology in their organization. Having come from a traditional datacenter infrastructure sales background, I’ll admit I found it pretty daunting to learn and consume all the information around AWS, DevOps, Data & Analytics, Managed Services and so on. As I started diving in on my training for the AWS Cloud Practitioner certification via, I quickly realized it can be simpler than you think. Not to take away from the experienced architects that do incredibly robust architectures on AWS (I am definitely not there yet), but to just get started is not that hard (and in most cases it is free).

I initially thought that this training would consist of the usual slide deck presentation format, however, in this course I started spinning up a test AWS environment on day one. I found myself creating VPCs, serverless websites, Security Groups, S3 buckets and more. I used code repositories to get going with just a few clicks on the free tier within AWS. Now I am most certainly not a pro, but what I immediately realized is what undifferentiated heavy lifting really meant when compared to what I used to sell my customers, which took weeks of complicated tasks, procurement processes and mundane installations of data center gear just to get to an OK prompt, something I just did with a few clicks.

You may be wondering where I’m going with this story. I can assure you I am not encouraging you to go out and hire some sales guys to run your IT environment, not if you want to stay in business at least. What I am trying to say though is that to all my IT friends out there that I meet with on a regular basis, just go try it. No need for long RFPs, big boring meetings, etc. Just do it. The guy that leads the trainings on was a lawyer before starting this company. Now he is training the world on the most advanced certifications within AWS. You, too, can be that person if you put your mind to it.

The knowledge is out there for all of us, we just have to take the initiative to learn it. When I am talking to customers today about all the various services AWS has to offer, I can actually think back to myself spinning specific instances up and how I did it. Taking advantage of such knowledge ultimately empowers the user no matter where you sit in a company. We have all heard of the phrase ‘shadow IT’ and, in my opinion, it is more prevalent now than ever. If you are not familiar with the term, shadow IT is essentially the hardware or software within an enterprise that is not fully supported by the organization’s central IT department. Due to the ease and efficiency with which AWS has made specific processes, business units such as Accounting, Sales, and Marketing are spinning up workloads in AWS simply because it has become the path of least resistance and they are tired of waiting on the legacy IT players within their organization.

Eventually, however, these different departments can run into roadblocks or gaps that require the IT professional’s help after all. Now although at this point it may seem like these two departments could be in a bit of a tiff, I firmly believe that it is these situations that have mutually beneficial results. Both teams end up being forced to learn and navigate these newly implemented processes in the most efficient way possible, all while being exposed to AWS elements along the way. Shadow IT has pushed us to become more innovative and seek out new knowledge and change, so perhaps it’s not such a negative term after all.

Folks often ask me when I work with AWS, what my thoughts are on Amazon becoming a monopoly. My opinion is this: Amazon is making all businesses better. They are taking the initiative and stepping up as the leader in innovation and producing incredible results. Why would businesses not want to be more like them?  

This leads me to my closing remarks: test out AWS. No matter your job or industry, there is plenty of value to uncover with its services and solutions. Don’t be afraid of other people in your organization trying it out either. Embrace everyone wanting to do more (within reason). Don’t be afraid to leverage a partner or study up on IAM and security framework best practices. So for anyone reading this blog...Live, Love and Build On!