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Infor CEO: AWS 'changing what is possible'

There are economies of scale with Amazon that no-one can match, says Charles Phillips

Infor CEO: AWS 'changing what is possible'
Phillips: We spend our money on applications.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is changing what is possible with computing because of the scale that the cloud services company offers, according to Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor.

Speaking to ITP.net, Phillips said that, because of the scale of computing that AWS offers, organisations that use AWS are able to re-think which applications are possible. He said that this was one of the primary reasons behind Infor's decision to use AWS as the back-end for its cloud-based applications.

"At scale in computing, it means new applications can be built that couldn't be built before because you can collect so much data. You can exponentially collect every attribute about a product, or about a customer, and then apply science to that with unlimited computing power," he said.

"It's massively parallel computing that scales out on demand, and you only pay for it when you use it. Then you try applications that you wouldn't have tried before because you can afford to do it. It's really having people re-think which applications are now possible, and which things you can use for predictive analytics, because you have more data, you have more science, more compute power."

Indeed, Phillips said that Infor's use of AWS as a back-end, and being able to leverage the scale of the cloud services being offered by Amazon, means that the company is better positioned that its rivals when it comes to delivering cloud-based applications. Even in the Middle East, where some organisations are unable to opt in to cloud services delivered from overseas data centres, he said that he believed this was a blessing in disguise.

"It's less and less of a problem every day for us because we're not building our own data centres - Amazon is building them like crazy all over. We just follow their footprint. We have access to all of those data centres, so we have applications in the Ireland data centre, in the German data centre, one in Australia, and they keep building them," he said.

"As the problem shrinks for us, it grows for our competitors, because they have to build data centres, and that's where I want them spending their money! We're spending ours on applications. In the interim, if we need to do something with a local provider, or a government agency, we could do that in any specific country if we needed to."

Amazon Web Services has garnered plenty of positive attention over the past few months. Its growth numbers have sent parent company Amazon's stock soaring, to the extent that many see AWS as Amazon's primary business going forward. Meanwhile, others have said that what AWS offers - effectively unlimited and relatively affordable computing power - is having major ramifications across the technology world, particularly in regards to building out new applications and businesses.

"Because a company pays for AWS resources as they use them, it is possible to create an entirely new app for basically $0 in your spare time. Or, alternately, if you want to make a real go of it, a founder's only costs are his or her forgone salary and the cost of hiring whomever he or she deems necessary to get a minimum viable product out the door. In dollar terms that means the cost of building a new idea has plummeted from the millions to the (low) hundreds of thousands," wrote Stratechery author Ben Thompson last month.

Indeed, the benefits of AWS appear to be extending not only to start-ups and independent application developers, but to large enterprise software vendors (like Infor), too.

"There are economies of scale with Amazon that no-one can match," Phillips said.

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