Anticipating new SaaS products from AWS

Recently, AWS announced Amazon Connect, a Contact Center Service based on the same contact center technology used by Amazon customer service associates around the world. I’m not going go into the details of the service here but I’ll highlight the trends that I observe about how AWS is developing and positioning new services, particularly SaaS products, within its portfolio.

To identify the trends one can just look at the announcement and have an adequate amount of information on the topic. Let me quote some of the attention-grabbing phrases from the announcement and discuss the matter further:

… based on the same contact center technology used by Amazon …

Setting up a cloud-based contact center with Amazon Connect is as easy as a few clicks …

… agents can begin taking calls within minutes …

… no up-front payments or long-term commitments and no infrastructure to manage …

… you can get started with Amazon Connect for free …

… self-service graphical interface makes it easy for non-technical users to …

Well, these are the obvious ones, dropped on every announcement in similar words mostly for marketing. To be sure, they are all true but not intriguing any more (at least for me). From a technical perspective the first one may be of particular interest. A service defined by the needs of a huge business like Amazon gives any such product a head start in terms of product maturity. (I’ve not gone deep with the Amazon Connect yet but you my take my words as my general attitude for such products.)

It’s needless to mention the case with scalability and elasticity of the service supported by its cloud-native nature and expected performance characteristics to be provided by AWS global infrastructure…

Coming closer to the point, I would like to emphasize the SaaS strategy I anticipate: AWS has built a solid foundation with its IaaS and PaaS services. Some of them have defined their product category in the industry (speaking frankly, AWS itself is a category definer) and some of them have been de facto tools for their job and many of them have been proved to be Internet scale services. For a long time AWS have been heavily investing in these services and they now have highly optimized, proven and integrated (more about this below) infrastructure to bring more higher level business services atop.

What’s even more exciting is that although some of the core services may just be implementation details (some of which we may not even know about their usage) and enablers for higher level services, many others are supported for further data integration with rest of the huge platform and for functional integration for enhancing product with additional capabilities. (More on these integration types and relevant services in a later post.) Below are more quotes from the announcement for supporting this fact:

… You can also build natural language contact flows using Amazon Lex …

… you can record calls in Amazon S3 …

… use Amazon Kinesis to stream contact center metrics to Amazon Redshift or an external data warehouse solution …

… use Amazon QuickSight for data visualization and analytics …

… use AWS Directory Service to allow agents to log into Amazon Connect with their corporate credentials …

Amazon Lex was recently announced and now it’s part of an enterprise SaaS solution. This is again the same story I mentioned above: Lex has been proven by Amazon (with Alexa and Echo) before any other customers of AWS. AWS Directory Service was also very recently announced and it’s part of a truly enterprise focused product as an enterprise focused solution. (Interestingly, in the enterprise world, the most common feature what makes a product pro or enterprise is directory/LDAP integration along with some security features.)

Amazon Kinesis can be a bridge to any other service to stream data to and Amazon QuickSight can be the visual analytics solution for any data generating service as long as simple means of integration are supported as expected from good citizens of the platform (again more on this later in a detailed post about engaging a high quality relationship with the AWS platform).

In this case, I consider Amazon Lex and AWS Directory Service functional integration services which are sometimes product enablers (without Amazon Lex, Amazon Connect would be something else). On the other hand, Amazon S3, Amazon Kinesis and Amazon QuickSight can be considered data integration services.

Recently announced Amazon Pinpoint is another example in the same vein. These services leverage one or more AWS services as their foundations and feature enablers. Amazon SNS is to Amazon Pinpoint as Amazon Lex is to Amazon Connect in this context.

To conclude, I expect AWS to introduce more higher level services which are built on top of or support integration with existing services extensively in the medium and long term. Businesswise, higher level services may mean higher profits and eventually a better platform for the whole community.

Thanks for reading my first blog post I’ve authored after a long time. I’ve lots of experience and musings traveling within the convolutions of my brain. They need to be set free! Expect more to read here on distributed systems, software architecture and cloud computing particularly with AWS, concurrency, IoT, security, core/infrastructure programming, systems engineering particularly with Linux; leadership, productivity and computing/technology in general. Please provide comments on this post or any other topics you want to discuss with me. Till next time!..

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Ersin Er

Distributed Systems & Software Architect, Cloud Pro.

One thought on “Anticipating new SaaS products from AWS”

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