Leadership Spotlight: Allyson Fryhoff, General Manager of Nonprofits at Amazon Web Services
Allyson Fryhoff, General Manager of Nonprofits at Amazon Web Services (AWS), recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz regarding the results of a recent survey which reported that over 75% of nonprofits saw an increase in demand from their customers after the onset of the pandemic.
In addition, Fryhoff also shared how the AWS Nonprofit team helps customers improve their cloud platforms and implement data analytics, as well as address many talent recruitment challenges in industries to nonprofit, tech, and federal in the latest Executive Spotlight interview.
You can read the full interview with Allyson Fryhoff below:
ExecutiveBiz: A recent survey found that more than 75% of nonprofits saw increased demand for their services post-pandemic, but spending has also increased significantly. What can you tell us about the biggest challenges nonprofits face in modernizing their organizations?
Allyson Frihoff: “For non-profits, it’s not uncommon to be short on resources. And recent years have put more emphasis on these challenges. But we have also seen that the momentum of modernization and digital transformation has accelerated.
The nonprofits we work with are embracing technology to use their resources more effectively and efficiently. At the same time, we know it is not easy to leverage technology to accomplish their missions with limited resources and personnel.
A 2020 Salesforce.org report found that the vast majority (85%) of nonprofits surveyed said technology is key to the success of their organizations, but less than a quarter (23%) had made a long-term strategy and vision for how technology would be used in their organization.
And lack of access to the latest IT infrastructure services shouldn’t stop nonprofits from accomplishing their mission. We’ve heard from nonprofits that they often lack the resources to really leverage technology. AWS is focused on removing these barriers so that our nonprofit customers can fully realize the benefits of the cloud. »
ExecutiveBiz: With the AWS Nonprofit team providing agile, responsive, and mission-driven cloud capabilities, how do you help your customers improve their cloud platforms and profit from their data analytics?
Allyson Frihoff: “At AWS, we are dedicated to helping nonprofit customers use the cloud to grow their impact and solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Cloud computing allows nonprofits to focus on their missions, not their IT infrastructure.
AWS offers a wide range of services that can help you, such as computing power, storage options, networking, and databases, delivered on demand and available in seconds with pay-as-you-go pricing .
With the cloud, nonprofits can operate in a lean way, allowing them to be fast, agile, and even global, while remaining efficient with IT spend, paying only for what they use so ‘they can focus their resources on their important work.
We also know that nonprofits rely on large amounts of data to serve their stakeholders, implement programs, and report on impact. For many organizations, the first step in a technology transformation begins with centralizing siled data across a variety of systems and sources.
Our nonprofit clients seek to extract actionable mission insights from their data, but it can often be challenging to capture, store, and analyze all of the data generated. AWS provides the most comprehensive set of services for leveraging data to make better decisions, respond faster, drive mission results, and uncover new opportunities.
We’re working to make this process even easier for nonprofits by partnering with Salesforce through Data Lake for Nonprofit Cloud powered by AWS, an offering that allows Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud customers to automate bringing their data into an AWS Data Lake.
The solution will be available on GitHub, allowing nonprofits to tailor it to their specific needs and continuously improve the technology over time. »
ExecutiveBiz: With some critical talent and skills challenges in the nonprofit and tech sectors, what is AWS doing to help improve training and learning opportunities in the industry?
Allyson Frihoff: “At AWS, we take great pride in turning our customers’ challenges into opportunities to invent and innovate. A major challenge our nonprofit clients face is skills development – or workforce development and capacity building.
In order to keep up with technological changes, it is important to build an IT workforce that understands what new technologies are and helps them stay ahead of the technological learning curve.
We are committed to expanding the availability of cloud technology training. We want to make sure the barriers are as low as possible for our customers and partners to access the cloud services they need. That’s why we announced in 2020 that by 2025, AWS will help 29 million people around the world develop their technical skills through free cloud computing skills training.
We offer training opportunities through existing programs designed by AWS, as well as developing new courses to meet a wide variety of schedules and learning goals. Training ranges from self-paced online courses designed to help individuals update their technical skills, to intensive upskilling programs that can lead to new jobs in the tech industry.
This commitment builds on some existing AWS programs, such as:
- AWS Educate, our global initiative to provide students and educators with access to our technology to accelerate cloud-related learning and help train the cloud IT workforce.
- AWS re/Start – this program is a high-impact, full-time 12-week course that prepares unemployed or underemployed individuals for careers in cloud computing and connects over 90% of graduates with interview opportunities hiring.
- Our cloud learning paths offer learning paths consisting of over 30 hours of curriculum in job families such as Cloud Architect and Software Developer – and a Job Board with internships and entry cloud jobs range of employers around the world.
ExecutiveBiz: We often discuss digital transformation from a technical or capability perspective. What are some of the unique challenges you’ve seen on the business side that haven’t been addressed or discussed enough?
Allyson Frihoff: “Many of the biggest challenges organizations face in migrating to the cloud are not technical, but about people and culture. The biggest differences between organizations that talk about moving to the cloud and those that actually do it and are most successful often boil down to a few key things:
- First, the leadership team needs to be aligned and truly committed to moving to the cloud. They should define the vision of how the organization can best meet and exceed its results objectives through the use of technology.
They need to set clear direction and expectations with the rest of the organization so everyone is on the same page and working in the same direction. It’s easy for others to do nothing or stall if the leadership team doesn’t make decision-making a priority and build a culture of change.
To address this challenge, AWS is hosting Working Backwards Workshops, a free offering that helps customers align with organizational challenges and prioritize solutions to address them.
- Second, the most successful organizations that migrated to the cloud started with an aggressive top-down focus that pushed the organization faster than it would have organically.
- Third, it’s really important for organizations to empower their employees by training them on the cloud. This will help ensure they are comfortable with cloud concepts as part of the whole process. AWS provides free digital training and trains hundreds of thousands of people a year for this purpose.
- And finally, sometimes we find that organizations can be crippled if they don’t know how to move the workload to completion. There is no need to boil the ocean. So we often work with organizations to do a portfolio analysis to assess their data and each application and build a plan for what to move in the short term, medium term and last.
It helps nonprofits realize the benefits of the cloud much faster for many of their applications, and it really helps with how they move the rest. »