Phil Potloff, AWS Enterprise Strategist
Former roles

Chief Digital Officer, Edmunds.com
COO, Edmunds.com
CIO, Edmunds.com
Executive Director, Production Operations, Edmunds.com
Sr. Network Manager, Nuance
Sr. Network Engineer, RealNames

Education

BA, Economics, University of California, Los Angeles

“It doesn’t cost anything to add priorities to a list, but it costs a heck of lot to take something off that list and work on it in the form of opportunity cost, tech debt, and actual $$$, so let’s make sure that list truly adds value to our business.”

Phil joined AWS in 2017 and serves as the global head of enterprise strategy. In this role Phil leads a team of former CIOs and CTOs that have all led a technology transformation using the cloud. Phil and his team work with enterprises to develop cloud adoption strategies that increase speed and agility. These strategies are patterned on their own approaches and learnings from building cloud-based operating models at scale, as well as the experience of thousands of enterprise customers using AWS.

When Phil started his technology career in Silicon Valley during the mid-90s, IT organizations were struggling to address the explosion in digital interactions using decades’ old development practices and system architectures. IT projects were characterized by large scopes and long delivery cycles that were frequently not aligned with customer expectations. Over the last 25 years, Phil and others like him worked through trial and error to create, adopt, and refine methods for rapid product and technology delivery at a sustainable pace. In 2017, Phil was recognized as one of Computerworld’s Premier 100 Technology Leaders for extending the influence of the technologist’s role to include digital transformation and business model innovation.

Prior to joining AWS, Phil held multiple senior executive positions at Edmunds.com including CIO, CDO, and COO. During his 12-year tenure, Phil led the transformation of the 50-year-old publisher's car shopping technology and product development methodologies. He believes the key elements of Edmunds’ successful transformation included smaller, more frequent releases of value to customers, data-driven decision making, and a continuous learning culture that could adapt to changing needs and opportunities. Edmunds built a slew of capabilities in support of this cultural change like continuous delivery pipelines, big data platforms, and even a private cloud. However, it turned out the opportunity cost of maintaining and enhancing these underlying capabilities was far too high. With a continuous optimization mindset, Phil and his team adopted the public cloud to deliver the same capabilities without the opportunity cost, allowing Edmunds to dedicate more of their precious engineering resources to creating new customer experiences for tens of millions of car shoppers. Edmunds completed an all-in migration to AWS in 2016, and has continued to innovate and optimize their cloud implementation by introducing changes at an astonishing rate.

Today, Phil and the other AWS Enterprise Strategists spend their time with enterprise customers working on the elements of a modern digital transformation. For Phil, the areas he will focus on given his experience with hundreds of companies since joining AWS fall into four areas: 1. Breaking up units of work into smaller batch sizes, and maximizing the amount of work not done, 2. Automating the corporate bureaucracy that crushes flow, 3. Emphasizing everyday resiliency (ER) in architecture as opposed to just disaster recovery (DR), and 4. Promoting investment in the existing workforce to build a continuous learning culture that accelerates change in large organizations.

Phil is a surfer for life. So, when he isn’t supporting a digital transformation, he’s probably in the water or trying to get there. Phil studied Economics at UCLA and speaks fluent Californian.

Blogs

Read more of Phil’s blogs »

Content

Tuning Up the High-Frequency Enterprise
Ebook
Tuning Up the High-Frequency Enterprise
Agility is key to accelerating value delivery
Videos

CONVERSATIONS WITH LEADERS
How to Think Like a Startup

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