AWS for Everyone – Amazon’s Upcoming Low Code Service

May 22, 2020

What is AWS for Everyone?

AWS for Everyone is an upcoming low code service from Amazon. Though not much is known about the rumored offering, AWS for Everyone will most likely make Amazon’s powerful programming tools available and accessible to non- developers. This will empower many different kinds of stakeholders in a business to design and launch bespoke solutions

The History of AWS for Everyone

AWS could have started as a low code solution. AWS for Everyone could have been the default. But Amazon made a bet that developers and startups wanted low level services.

In 2017 Andy Jassy, the CEO of AWS, explained the initial bet AWS made:

“We were very focused in the early days on developers and on startups, and we still remain incredibly focused on them, but we had this perception that they would be the ones who would try the platform first, their alternatives were much worse than enterprises, they tend to start and adopt any new paradigm shift like this was, and that group of people is willing to dig into the details and stitch together the components maybe in a way that enterprises weren’t as likely to do.”

Jassy then laid out the low code product roadmap for the company, a trajectory that points to “AWS for Everyone”:

So we started there, and we figured that enterprises would choose to have a bunch of people who did that stitching, and then for others who would want abstractions further up, we’d build the abstractions later when we had that adoption.“

AWS has a commanding 33% cloud market share has has expanded far beyond startups. So I think its time “abstractions further up” with AWS for Everyone.

AWS for Everyone is already here

When Jassy made those comments, one of my favorite AWS services, API Gateway had just launched about 18 months earlier. And it’s a year and a half before Amplify Console, a service that build a serverless website, and auto-provision s3 and Cloudfront to make the project live on the web. API Gateway demonstrates how much capability AWS is willing to give you in a low code tool, and Amplify Console’s approachable design, and dead simple configuration options proves that AWS can make tools that are accissible to non-developers.

There are dozens of serverless and packaged AWS offerings that fit that powerful yet simple-to-use pattern. That’s why I argue that AWS for Everyone isn’t coming – it’s already available. While we were sleeping, AWS for Everyone rolled out, service by service.

AWS for…Marketers = Amazon Appflow

Last month AWS launched Appflow, “a fully managed integration service that enables you to securely transfer data between SaaS applications like Salesforce, Marketo, Slack, and ServiceNow, and AWS services like Amazon S3 and Amazon Redshift, in just a few clicks.”

Amazon’s VP Kurt Kufeld detailed the business case for AppFlow, and it reads like the mission statement for “AWS for Everyone”:

Amazon AppFlow has a no-code interface that makes it super easy for users in lines of business to build their own integrations. Traditional developers can also benefit from the automation and ease of use – this will allow them to improve productivity by leveraging out of the box integration capabilities offered by AppFlow, allowing them to focus on building applications. Likewise, architects can leverage AppFlow to easily connect different applications and services and avoid the undifferentiated heavy lifting needed to build custom connectors.”

When I encountered AppFlow it felt to me like the MVP of a what could become a fully blown Segment competitor. Fortunately for Segment they are aggressively chasing a low code future, too. Last week the startup launched Visual Tagger, which they described this way – “Today we’re introducing Visual Tagger — to help everyone in your company collect the website data they need in minutes, without relying on technical teams.”

AWS for Everyone is Amazon’s biggest opportunity… and risk

The size of the opportunity for AWS for Everyone is obvious. Amazon would leap from offering a programming platform to developers, to becoming an essential tool for all business users.

The risk is this new focus put AWS in the playground of Microsoft, the company with the most heritage in low code tools. Microsoft has almost 40 years of empowering business users with Excel. And today Microsoft has the Power Platform their family of low code, no code tools.

AWS for Everyone has a tough road ahead to gain adoption from marketers, salespeople, analysts, and the like. Power Platform feels like more an upgrade from one Microsoft tool (Excel) to a few others (Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI).

Is there a Google Cloud answer to AWS for Everyone?

As usual, Google Cloud’s strategy is confusing when it comes to low code. They shut down AppMaker, which they were distributing through Gsuite. But they also purchased Appsheet, a no-code platform this year. Don’t be surprised if AppSheet is shut down soon, an no replacement materializes in Google Cloud.

Actually, forget low code. Don’t be surprised if Google Cloud goes away altogether. When asked if Google Cloud would ever sunset its services and leave customers hanging, the GCP CEO, Thomas Kurian said they have the same deprecation notice period as competitors. Yikes! The right answer is simply, “Absolutely not!”

So, Kurian has bigger problems to think about then how to counter AWS for Everyone. He may be hoping Amazon jumps into the low code market, and gets stuck into a quagmire war with Microsoft.