Attracting Customers with New Digital Experiences

Positive Cloud Transformation

A conversation with Frank Tarsillo, SVP and Chief Architect at IHS Markit

Frank Tarsillo is well-known and respected as a technology leader and change agent. In this Spotlight, we will dive into real-world examples of how the Cloud can benefit an organization and its customers to stimulate growth within the company and customer satisfaction.

Listen to the full story on the AWS Conversations with Leaders podcast

We had to make a longer-term bet on technology and how we operate that technology, which triggered the transformation.”

Innovate to stay ahead

Betting On Technology for Organizational Transformation

We realized the need to partner with a technology organization and broader business units to look at the dynamic of how fast we can transform a product from something traditionally installed with a client into the cloud to generate revenue, and help the customer. Our customers didn't want to manage the product within their own data center. They wanted us to manage it for them. The value prop is how do we transform products and services we operate today, innovate them into the market, and assist our customers along the way? Having a partner to create more efficiency in delivering that product is tremendous support for our end customer.

The value is business-led. It wasn't a technology initiative. The business needed to come around and understand the value that the technology brings and make a bigger bet to maintain the cost and controls of a large enterprise firm.


In a sense, we're creating Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese in our existing footprint in terms of cost and management, where individually upskilling parts of the organization, but lack consistency. We need to harmonize these ingredients somehow.”

Moving faster with the cloud

Preparing to Break the Status Quo

We began by forming guardrails, upskilling teams, and dev enablement teams to help support the organization. The architectural design, review, and guardrails that we set in the firm helped teams go into the cloud, focusing on native technologies. When we started to migrate official programs in the firm, we shifted our focus to educating every migrating team. 

The best learning is taking a highly skilled individual and putting them next to someone picking up the pieces. Education immersion days were vital for this transformation. We call these structured professor-led training "apprenticeships," which allowed our teams to be shoulder to shoulder with the AWS Account Management Team who had been part of the organization way before the migration activities. Working directly with our CTOs and technology leads to delivering exemplary architecture and design. They did an amazing job coming into the organization.

Connecting the dots with cross-industry data

Our Journey: A Serverless First Mindset

We've had traditional architecture built like most companies, delivering our information products. Through the years, rapid advancements in cloud technology to support business velocity, which is our focus into the future, presented an opportunity for our teams to journey towards cloud technology, independent of a broader organizational strategy. 

Integration was difficult within our organization of traditionally on-premises. We had to make a longer-term bet on technology and how we operate that technology, which triggered that transformation in independent pockets. 

As time went by, we came together and said, "We have to stop and reevaluate." It's not just a reevaluation of our data center footprint, but it's also the transformation of the skillset, the people, and how we're moving to cloud technology. It was pivotal to create an initiative to move to the cloud and double down on appropriate tech investments, and we haven't regretted this bold move and our strategy for integration.

Adopting New Tech for Transformation Secrets:

  1. Discovery. Discover what you have first.
  2. Understand. Sit down with business partners and ask, “What value does that transformation bring to the products and service we are delivering to our customers
  3. Partnership. AWS and other companies can help you along the journey because you can’t do it alone.
  4. Bonus: Focus on what you want to achieve, both in technology and in the business value. Then work with your partners to help you get there.
Teaming up with AWS to solve tough customer problems

Partnership for Continued Progress

Our partnership with AWS goes way back. AWS is a true partner who is allowed to speak to anyone in the technology organization. They have access to work through any projects our teams are focused on to help them discover a solution. They also serve to correct teams going the wrong direction for whatever reason with no malintent. People make mistakes all the time, but as a friend who sees something not aligned with our technical strategy or company policy to recalibrate.

No one looks at AWS in the organization, as a negative thing. They think of AWS, the team that operates within IHS Markit as a support function for them.”

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