The global coronavirus pandemic showed that people expect the same world-class technology from their public sector organizations that they expect when they log on to Netflix or when they shop online, says Max Peterson, vice president of Amazon Web Services’ worldwide public sector business.
The pandemic provided an “unfortunate laboratory of innovation” that in many ways has been powered by technology and cloud computing, Peterson said during his keynote at the AWS Summit Washington, D.C. Though many governments and non-profits had been working on the cloud to start digitizing and modernizing their organizations, it took that “jolt” to derive a true transformation in digital services, he said.
While in-person engagement was limited, if not completely shut down, citizen demand for government services has skyrocketed, Peterson noted. From delivering unemployment benefits to providing emergency hotlines to managing the flood of new health data, the capacity of many of AWS public sector customers was really tested, he said.
“We found out during COVID (that) sometimes the only interface that we have is digital — with our citizens, our customers, our students — and so failure was just not an option,” Peterson said. “COVID changed our health care, it changed the way that we work, it changed the way we learn — for the public sector, it changed almost everything. Citizens turn to local and national governments every day, and those agencies must deliver. Because of the global pandemic, many customers did heroic things to keep their systems up and running. The cloud enabled them to maintain their business continuity, move at astounding speeds and deliver critical services — and to speak to their citizens and interact with their citizens in these hours of greatest need.”
More than 1,000 AWS partners had registered for the AWS Summit Washington D.C. Here’s a look at some of Peterson’s top remarks from his keynote.