Amazon re:Invents Excel

Among the big enterprise software players, Amazon chose to be the caboose of the fall conference train with AWS re:Invent 2021 closing doors on December 3rd. I was curious how the event stacks up to SAP TechEd and what’s going on in the AWSosphere, so I dug into the online content.

If you thought that SAP TechEd 1-hour executive keynote was long, meet AWS 2-hour keynotes. And it’s not just the CEO one (where SAP got a shout-out at the 30-minute mark) but all other ones too. I guess AWS is not big on following the KISS principle.

While SAP is frequently mocked for creating more and more IDEs, AWS seems to have the thing for databases. “30 minutes in. Still no new databases” noted one observer on Twitter.

Everyone and their brother has a chatbot / conversational AI offering. AWS product is called AWS Lex (not to be confused with Amazon Alexa) and you can try it for free. Based on a brief look, the process of training and deploying a chatbot seemed very similar to SAP and other vendor solutions. I’m curious how it compares to SAP tools on a more detailed level, so expect to read about it in one of the next issues. 

Let’s face it, every company is run by a bunch of spreadsheets. Instead of swimming against the current, like the ERP vendors, Amazon decided to embrace the spreadsheets and base their no-code solution called AWS Honeycode on that business user darling. It’s not a new product (announced mid-2020) but still remains in Beta. My impression: unlike with SAP AppGyver experiments from the previous issue, I was immediately stuck with Honeycode not really knowing what to do. As one review pointed out, while this can be a helpful tool to create simple applications, the build process needs some work and there are already other apps that can achieve similar results. Honeycode is not as sweet after all. JP

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