At its annual re:Invent conference hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon announced several offerings that Saugatuck believes fit perfectly with our own scenarios and expectations regarding the evolution of Cloud IT, and the resulting shifts in the strategic value of enterprise IT departments. AWS’ announcements this week include the following:

Amazon WorkSpaces. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to provision Cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access documents, applications and other resources regardless of device(s) in use – desktop, notebook, tablet or smartphone. Pricing ranges from $25/user/month to $75/user/month. Bundled services accessible from WorkSpaces may include MSFT Office Professional, dedicated AWS Cloud storage, and automated backup and recovery.

AWS CloudTrail. AWS CloudTrail records calls made to AWS APIs using the AWS Management Console, the AWS CLI, applications, and third-party software – and then publishes the resulting log files to an Amazon S3 bucket. The recorded information includes the identity of the API caller, the time of the API call, the source IP address of the API caller, the request parameters, and the response elements returned by the AWS service. See: https://aws.amazon.com/cloudtrail.

Amazon AppStream. Amazon AppStream deploys and renders resource-intensive applications on AWS infrastructure, and streams the output to mass-market devices, including PCs, tablets, and smartphones. The goal is to enable use cases for highly-interactive, high-bandwidth applications (e.g. games, virtual environments) unable, or challenging, to run natively on-device.

In sum, we see these new AWS offerings providing traditional enterprise IT organizations with capabilities and tools that help renew and extend their traditional roles and responsibilities into Cloud / hybrid environments, empower knowledge-worker employees and business partners, and extend and enhance the strategic value of formal IT departments within enterprises.

Why is it Happening?

In an increasingly Cloud-first era when CIOs regularly tell Saugatuck that they “never want to build another data center,” AWS is strengthening its position as a provider of enterprise-class IT services in the Cloud by providing more and more services traditionally offered and managed by enterprise IT departments.

AWS is also positioning / repositioning itself as something much more than a provider of spot compute cycles and Cloud provider platform services. Granted, it already is that, and in our research among enterprise IT and business leaders, AWS is typically perceived most strongly as a provider of powerful, but commoditized Cloud IT services.  These announcements help to reposition AWS as a provider of important IT management services that dovetail with, and extend, traditional enterprise IT responsibilities and capabilities.

By providing standardized, virtualized desktop software across disparate desktop and mobile devices, coordinated Cloud (and API) usage tracking and management, and by enabling the widespread use of resource-intensive applications via most user IT devices, AWS is repositioning itself as a core management resource for enterprise IT organizations transitioning through pre-Cloud conditions into Cloud-first realities.

IT leaders can improve their groups’ value to the enterprise by standardizing and simplifying many traditional aspects of IT management, as we first laid out in detail for our subscription research clients in 2012 (1080CLS, Change, and Change Again: The Shape of IT Orgs to Come, 08June2012). Here’s how we described the situation then, and how we still see it evolving:

IT and business camps alike are in the midst of a true paradigm shift, away from the traditionally static and boundary-defined enterprise business and IT fiefdoms, and toward what Saugatuck calls the “Boundary-free Enterprise™.” Previous Saugatuck research has described the nature of, and the impact of, the Boundary-free Enterprise and its attendant, enabling new Master Architecture for IT and Business (1052CLS, Boundary-free Enterprise™: Empowered by the New Master Architecture, 11Apr2012).

…IT’s primary mission is that of business support – make it happen, keep the costs down, and keep things running. The primary method of IT’s control in this Pre-Cloud era is the standardization of technologies used within the enterprise, and the standardization (i.e., limitation) of providers and solutions built on or using those technologies.

Click here to read the market impact.

This blog was originally published at Saugatuck's Lens360 blog on November 15, 2013. Published with permission.