AWS Cloud Enterprise Strategy Blog

Blog Wrap-Up 2019

Sorry, everyone—I know it’s a bit late to be posting a summary of last year’s content. It’s been a busy start to the year, meeting with customers in the US and Canada. In any case, here’s a summary of 2019’s enterprise strategy content that might help you find content that’s most useful to you. Much more to come in 2020!

On our Enterprise Strategy blog, we write about the issues and challenges facing the enterprises we meet with, and try our best to give them new ways of framing problems, of anticipating the future of IT, of thinking about the cloud and digital transformation, and of applying what seem (provisionally) to be best practices. Our aim is to help enterprise executives harness the power of the cloud and digital technology to grow, succeed, and better serve their customers and their missions.

Because our blog posts emerge from our interactions with customers, their chronological order doesn’t fully communicate the recurring themes we see. Here, I’ll summarize this year’s posts and reorganize them into topic areas.

In 2019, we added a number of other formats for our enterprise strategy content, including videos, e-books, and podcasts. I’ve included them below, alongside the blog posts. We hope you find them useful.

We’d also like to wish all of our readers a happy new year. Hope you enjoyed your holiday season!



We continued a series of posts begun in 2018 focusing on the role of the CFO and how we might consider questions of IT investment and cost management differently in the digital age. One question that seems particularly important to us is the question of how CIOs and CFOs can work together to help their organization be successful. We have also had lots of customer conversations about how the financial services industry—heavily regulated and rather traditional—is changing today.

Risk Management and Security

Also continuing a theme from last year, we published a number of posts about risk and risk management. We have found that the typical discourse around risk confuses many people. It is common among those leading digital transformations to suggest that their organizations need to be willing to take more risks, and to “fail fast.” But this is more an idiom than useful advice. In truth, the cloud and today’s digital approaches reduce risk. It would be truer to say that the more risk-averse a company is, the more it will benefit from the cloud and digital transformation. We also published a number of posts on best practices for security and interviews with security leaders.

Culture & People

Digital transformation and all that it entails—the cloud, DevOps, microservices, a focus on data, machine learning—is accompanied by deep cultural change. We often encounter enterprises that are afraid to embark on that transformation because “[their] culture doesn’t support it” or “[their] employees don’t have the right skills.” But cultural change and new skills are an outcome of transformation, not a prerequisite. We published a number of posts to help enterprises think differently about their cultures and how to build teams with the skills they need.

Transformational Leadership

 This is the crux of what we talk to enterprise executives about: how they can transform their organizations. All of us enterprise strategists have led transformations in our careers before Amazon Web Services. We know that we don’t know everything—and indeed, every company is different—but we like to share what has worked for us and what we have seen other enterprises do. It constantly amazes us how similar the challenges are across all of our organizations.

Becoming Data-Driven

Increasingly, we see enterprises concerned with data—in particular, how they can unlock the value of the data they have. In a way, this is an aspect of organizational agility: how can they free their data to be used in ways that were not planned when the data was collected? We have prepared a few resources for our customers on this subject. Becoming data-driven will certainly be an important topic for us going forward.

Operations and Operating Models

How should enterprises operate their infrastructures once they’re in the cloud? They might take advantage of service providers, including AWS Managed Services (AMS). We gathered some of the best practices we’ve been able to learn through AMS and presented them in a series of blog posts.

Modern Applications

The way we build and deliver software applications in the cloud era has changed. In general, we try to shrink the scope of applications, use services that are already available in the cloud, and automate as much as we can in the development and delivery process. We published a number of posts on these changes, on microservice architectures, and on steps to take in changing applications while moving to the cloud.


Finally, I’d like to mention the book that I published this year: War and Peace and IT: Business Leadership, Technology, and Success in the Digital Age. It’s a book that IT leaders can share with their non-IT business counterparts, explaining the business implications of digital transformation and how best to bring IT and “The Business” together to realize business value. It joins my other books, The Art of Business Value and A Seat at the Table: IT Leadership in the Age of Agility, and Stephen Orban’s book, Ahead in the Cloud, in the catalog of AWS Enterprise Strategist books!


Mark Schwartz

Mark Schwartz

Mark Schwartz is an Enterprise Strategist at Amazon Web Services and the author of The Art of Business Value and A Seat at the Table: IT Leadership in the Age of Agility. Before joining AWS he was the CIO of US Citizenship and Immigration Service (part of the Department of Homeland Security), CIO of Intrax, and CEO of Auctiva. He has an MBA from Wharton, a BS in Computer Science from Yale, and an MA in Philosophy from Yale.