Former CIO helps IT leaders navigate AWS cloud journeys

CIOs turning to the cloud to fuel digital transformations have an ally advisor in Stephen Orban. The head of enterprise strategy at AWS knows exactly what they’re going through thanks to his cloud-first experience as CIO of Dow Jones.

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When Stephen Orban joined Dow Jones as CIO in 2012 he instinctively wanted to move the News Corp. subsidiary to the cloud. He knew he had to craft a new technology platform on which the company could build new digital products to boost top-line growth.

Orban bet on Amazon Web Services, a prescient move at a time when most of his peers were still questioning the value, viability and safety of the cloud. "I found that AWS was the biggest enabler in our ability to make that transformation that I had seen in my entire career," Orban tells CIO.com.

You could say the rest is history for Orban, but the reality is he is relishing a Groundhog Day-like existence helping his former peers make similar transitions.

Since 2014, Orban has worked as the global head of enterprise strategy for AWS, a role in which he helps CIOs ditch their on-premises infrastructure for computing and other capabilities rented over the internet. To keep up with the growing demand, Orban has hired IT leaders who oversaw similar migrations to AWS at Coca-Cola, Capital One, Accenture and other leading enterprises. Together, they form a crack team of practitioners-turned-consultants, spreading the gospel of AWS worldwide.

AWS accounts for more than 40 percent of a cloud infrastructure market that Gartner says grew 19 percent to top $260 billion in 2017. Earlier this month, AWS announced $5.1 billion in sales for the fourth quarter, putting it at a $20 billion annual run-rate. That growth is fueled by business imperatives that require more agile programming with which to build digital products and services.

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