May 17, 2021

Álava (Amazon): "Spain can put a high note on 'cloud' | Innovation

Álava (Amazon): "Spain can put a high note on 'cloud' | Innovation


The cloud is the new normal. Is the new normal for companies that can afford it, of course; and, above all, it is the new normal for those leaders of the economy who, being able to pay for it, can squeeze it thanks to the scarce qualified talent to extract all the juice.

Miguel Álava, head of Amazon Web Services (AWS) for Southern Europe, sat down with EL PAÍS RETINA during Re: INvent, the company's annual event, to talk in depth about this new new normal. Where does it come from, where does it go, who is inside and who was and what does Spain look like, with its Ibex 35 and its growing community startup, In all this.

Miguel Álava

Have we already spent in the cloud talking about costs to talk about creativity, about what you earn with that time and money to reinvest?

Yes and I do not think that both approaches are incompatible. For several reasons. The first, that if you do not innovate permanently, an individual, a company, a community or a government becomes irrelevant. The one that can now innovate in each of the verticals using the latest technologies is very present. The competitors that now have sectors such as finance, transport or hospitality are completely different thanks to technology. The second reason is that one of the peculiarities of this technological transformation is that it is not technological only. It goes beyond.

A cultural change

Effectively. This transformation touches the culture, touches the thought, the way of working, the way of thinking. Even the automatisms and reflexes have changed. In the world we came from, before wanting to do something and wanting to implement it, you had to be very sure of what you were going to do. Because it had costs: economic and reputation, that in culture like ours are not trivial [sonríe]. And once you made a decision it was very difficult to back out.

They say from AWS that the fight for talent will be more fierce than ever.

It will be. Definitely. There is little talent for the demand there is. AWS is a business of 27,000 million dollars [unos 23.810 millones de euros] that grows to 46% annually. It is very difficult to cover this demand for such specialized employment. At the same time, companies have to offer a very attractive value proposition. Why? Let's say that you have a revolutionary idea for a sector. What are you going to do? Associate with some developers and develop the prototype to keep the benefits or go to give it to a company as your employee? Because, to get it going, you do not need a budget, if you have developers. That's why the company would need to offer you something very, very seductive to convince you.

What note can be put to Spain in cloud?

I think we can put on a good note, knowing that we can always (and should) improve. The Open Bank initiative is not trivial [anunció su apuesta por AWS]. There have not been many like this in the financial sector. We tend to flog a lot and, hey, we're not so bad at all. Two thirds of the Ibex 35 are AWS. All the fabric of startups, like Wallapop, it is too. What can we improve a lot? Definitely. What is there to do? Without a doubt too. But we can put a high note.

Is there anything that has changed in Spain if we compare it with other countries?

Well especially that the business and technology are joining more and more. I do not speak of all the sectors and companies; but I do believe that we can generalize this conclusion. Before, technology and business worked in parallel, without this having to be understood as something in itself bad. But they were not intimately aligned. Another thing I see is that, despite the shortage of talent, Spain's is surprisingly good.

To which verticals is it more difficult to join?

I can not pinpoint a specific vertical. At first, they were the most regulated. The financial sector, could be one of them. But look at Openbank today; this also applies to the entire insurance sector. Mapfre is using AWS for just regulation issues, for the Montecarlo models that predict the catastrophe of having to pay all the policies at once. I speak by heart, but I think the cost reduction was from one million dollars to 180,000 dollars with us. Bankinter is also there. Is that with the value proposition that gives the cloud is very difficult that any vertical does not end up getting into. But I can not visualize which ones have more risk. I am unable to point to one in particular.

And the public sector? Do you get on the cloud?

Well, in Spain we have already collaborated with Red.es, which was in our Summit. Within the public sector, they are the example of adoption and implementation of technology. They also use AWS. The Library of Catalonia, too. You can see movements in a sector that is not less innovative, but all its plans are more long-term. But they are entering, also to give value to their customers, that in this case we are all we: the citizens.

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