re:Define What's Possible - Slalom's Booth

AWS re:Invent 2021

This much learning deserves a second look

re:Define What's Possible - Slalom's Booth

We’ve gathered key news and takeaways from each day of AWS re:Invent, the annual learning conference hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Navigate to a day above, or scroll and explore. 

Day 1

A first win for Slalom and a final re:Invent keynote for Doug Yeum

The first day of re:Invent was an eventful one, especially for AWS Partners. AWS channel chief Doug Yeum presented his final Global Partner Summit keynote before starting a new role in the retail division of But before that even, Slalom was named the first AWS National System Integrator (NSI) Partner of the Year in the US. This is a new US award for AWS Partners that recognizes exceptional performance of NSIs. NSIs provide a full spectrum of services—consulting migration, modernization, digital product development—as well as deep knowledge of AWS native services.

Slalom’s Carol Henry, Damyant Gill, and Laura Beystehner accepted the award. Said Henry, “It is significant that Slalom has grown to be as prominent as we are in the marketplace without an offshore component of our business and with all organic growth. I am proud of our business.”

If that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, Yeum announced during the keynote that Slalom and 31 other AWS Partners are the first to achieve AWS Energy Competency status. In the words of Leon Redelinghuys, Managing Director at Slalom, “Leveraging AWS services, Slalom enables our customers to capture new sources of revenue, accelerate their low carbon footprint, and compete more efficiently in today’s economy.”

The day’s notable service and product announcements include:

Slalom is NSI Partner of the Year

Damyant Gill, Carol Henry, and Laura Beystehner accept the NSI Partner of the Year award on behalf of Slalom

Slalom achieves AWS Energy Competency

We are grateful and humbled to be named as the AWS NSI Partner of the Year in the United States and I believe it is still ‘Day One’ in our shared passion to build better tomorrows for all.

Day 2

CEO Selipsky's first re:Invent keynote and the products of tomorrow

The second day of re:Invent brought big product and service announcements (see below) and bold ideas about the products of tomorrow. Adam Selipsky, who has returned to AWS after a period as CEO of Seattle-based Tableau Software, delivered his first re:Invent keynote as CEO of AWS. During the keynote, Selipsky discussed the evolution of cloud and the fact that with only 5 to 15 percent of IT spending dedicated to the cloud, much more cloud-enabled innovation is yet to come. Selipsky told attendees to expect the continued emergence of modern data strategies and the democratization of machine learning.

Machine learning was also a focal point of Slalom Build’s session at the AWS Partner Theater, “Building intelligent products and services.” Slalom’s David Lawton and Etienne Ohl explained how the days of static products and generic consumer experiences are ending, and how companies can leverage technologies like machine learning to increase personalization, customization, and relevance at every touchpoint. For a deeper dive, check out Slalom Build’s whitepaper on the subject.

Lawton and Ohl weren’t the only Slalomers to take to the stage. Slalom’s Gretchen Peri spoke alongside other cloud leaders at the re:Invent Women of the C-Suite Luncheon hosted by Sandy Carter, Vice President of AWS. In honor of the event’s storytelling theme, Peri shared advice she has followed for managing stress throughout her career, including learning when to put your burdens down.

The day’s notable service and product announcements include:

  • General availability of new features for AWS Lake Formation, including cell-level security and governed tables with automatic compaction
  • A preview of Amazon EMR Serverless, a new option in Amazon EMR that allows data engineers and analysts to run big data applications without managing servers
Building intelligent products & services Building intelligent products & services

In the 15 years since we launched AWS, the cloud has become not just another tech revolution but an enabler of a fundamental shift in the way that businesses actually function.

Day 3

Machine learning takes center stage... and backstage 

The third day of re:Invent featured sessions and events centered on the power of machine learning. Swami Sivasubramanian, Vice President of Machine Learning at AWS, kicked off the day with a keynote focused on database, analytics, and machine learning. Sivasubramanian emphasized the importance of building a modern end-to-end data strategy and explained three key elements for doing so: modernizing your data infrastructure, unifying your data, and finally innovating with that data.

Not to be forgotten, this day featured two different keynotes, the second being the Infrastructure keynote with Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of Utility Computing at AWS. Machine learning was also a key topic for DeSantis, who dove deeper into the power of machine learning infrastructure—both training infrastructure and inference infrastructure—to help AWS customers transform their businesses, innovate for customer experience, optimize operations, and improve products.

Slalom took innovating for customer experience to another level in the evening at its re:Define Connections event co-hosted with Matillion and Databricks. At the event, Slalom provided an interactive demonstration of a solution that automatically processes song requests using AWS services such as Amazon Connect and Amazon Lex, an AI service. But this solution was more than a party trick for guests; it was its own learning opportunity for the people who helped build it: the inaugural cohort of Slalom’s AWS Cloud Residency. Learn more about the Cloud Residency and Slalom’s work with Amazon Connect on the Slalom Tech blog.

The day’s notable service and product announcements include:

Women of the C-Suite Luncheon

Gretchen Peri and Sandy Carter at the Women of the C-Suite Luncheon

Slalom's Booth at re:Invent

Our midweek celebration was a huge success and I’m so proud of our Cloud Residents who helped make it happen.

Sara Rogers AWS Alliance Manager, Slalom
Learn more
Amazon Connect Event
Day 4

Empowering developers and the public sector 

The fourth day of re:Invent sent CTO Dr. Werner Vogels to the mainstage for the final keynote of the conference, and then sent Slalom’s own Gretchen Peri to theCUBE, the enterprise tech media outlet that was on the ground covering re:Invent. First, Vogels examined how the cloud is changing the developer experience, helping developers and companies continuously address constraints around data residency, latency, bandwidth, and connectivity. Vogels also presented a list of six considerations for building APIs based on lessons learned over 15 years of cloud computing:

  1. APIs are forever
  2. Never break backward compatibility
  3. Work backwards from customer use cases
  4. Create APIs with explicit and well-documented failure modes
  5. Create APIs that are self-describing and have a clear, specific purpose
  6. Avoid leaking implementation details at all costs 

Then, in an interview with theCUBE, Gretchen Peri shared emerging trends and opportunities for companies in her area of expertise: US State, Local, and Education (SLED). She began by explaining that omnichannel service delivery via channels like SMS and chatbots has exploded due to the pandemic. “Leveraging Amazon Lex and Amazon Transcribe and other AWS services really helped our SLED clients react to the pandemic and respond to make sure their constituents were receiving the digital services they needed and their employees were able to be productive at home,” said Peri. One area that Peri said she is especially excited to explore more with clients is intelligent document processing, where AWS AI services are used to create intelligent automation solutions that can rapidly extract information from digital and paper documents.

The day’s notable service and product announcements include: