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Accenture's migration to public cloud

Positioning for a digital future


As Accenture’s business grows and becomes more diverse, it needs to operate with more agility, speed, efficiency and cost-effectiveness across multiple business units, business processes and applications. These needs are driving an agenda to make Accenture a more digital enterprise, being turned into reality by Accenture’s internal IT organization.

To support this digital agenda, IT is aggressively undertaking a three-year cloud program that aims to deliver a more scalable, robust enterprise IT infrastructure in the public cloud. 

The program’s vision is to provision and operate infrastructure, application and service workloads anywhere (public, private or hybrid cloud) and anytime with resiliency and agility to empower Accenture’s digital enterprise.

Taking advantage of cloud capabilities and scale efficiencies, this capability will enable Accenture digital services and experiences, and generate business value.
Through the first 18 months of the cloud program, Accenture’s internal IT organization achieved a milestone of providing more than 50 percent of services via public cloud capabilities.


Accenture’s internal IT organization leaders along with business stakeholders made the strategic decision in late 2014 to establish IT operations in the cloud. Once decided, Accenture wanted to move quickly. By January 2015, internal IT organized and mobilized a global team to spearhead a journey designed to lead to a transformed enterprise.

The cloud team developed a comprehensive journey map that, at a high-level, entailed first establishing the foundation through rapid cloud adoption, second, optimizing the new environments, and third, focusing on transformation of IT processes, responsibilities and capabilities.


The cloud journey is occurring according to three major phases:

Adoption – This phase focuses on accelerating cloud adoption through 1) rapid migration of business applications out of on-premise data centers and into the cloud (IaaS) and 2) diligently adhering to a “cloud first, cloud only” strategy and principle for all new applications. The goal was to move all business applications out of a virtual on-premise data center within one year. 

The team not only created and tested technical tools and procedures for the migrations, but also created, standardized and trained people on the supporting processes required to execute successfully in a highly matrixed and varied business stakeholder and application environment. What resulted is a full cloud migration solution with new methodology addressing these technical and non-technical enterprise complexities.

Optimization – With the technical foundation set and cloud adoption well under way, the internal IT organization’s focus has shifted to optimizing what Accenture has adopted. Optimization opportunities were first pursued in infrastructure hosting and tool automation. They have progressed to further focus on process streamlining and governance simplification. All of these optimizations lead to business benefits that contribute to lasting transformation.

Transformation – To be better equipped for the pace of evolving cloud technology and capabilities, the cloud team adapted agile delivery methodology to deliver the transformation. But it needed to do so in an environment that is not traditionally agile—globally dispersed, infrastructure-focused and with multiple technology functions and owners.

The cloud team adapted agile by using virtual tools for daily sync-ups, combining sprint boards across multiple technology functions, and managing the work horizontally (versus vertically within one product) with one lead scrum master having full visibility to the cloud delivery road map. 

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By transforming the way it delivers, the cloud team is enabled to deliver incremental changes that contribute to transforming the internal IT organization into a self-service environment.


Even with the challenge of not having an established methodology and toolset to leverage, the cloud team was able to create the methodology and execute against it to migrate all business applications out of a virtual on-premise data center and into a cloud data center within one year.

In the first half of the three-year journey, Accenture’s cloud footprint increased from 9 percent to 55 percent of all business applications.

To further accelerate the adoption journey, more than 90 percent of all newly provisioned environments are being provisioned directly in the cloud.

Capitalizing on cloud is not just about moving to the cloud platform. It’s about optimizing utilization of services put into the cloud. For example, Accenture optimized nonproduction environments in the cloud with an aggressive uptime schedule that yielded an incremental $1 million in savings. 

Teams have the ability to actively influence the actual server size of their cloud machines. The cloud team uses cloud reporting of historical data to recommend an optimal server size every month. In the first seven months of the program, this optimization resulted in an expected annualized benefit of $2.6 million.

The cloud team successfully automated, consolidated and integrated the provisioning process to maintain the integrity of the enterprise image while taking advantage of cloud technology speed. This provisioning process reengineering has resulted in a reduction of cloud provisioning lead times up to 50 percent for standard environment provisioning over just a 10-month period.

This accomplishment means that a development team can test concepts faster, which means they can innovate and deliver faster for their customers within Accenture, ultimately supporting Accenture’s journey to becoming a digital business.

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Supporting the digital agenda with a migration to the public cloud

Accenture managing directors Chris Crawford and Merim Becirovic discuss the benefits and challenges of aggressively undertaking a three-year cloud program that aims to deliver a more scalable, robust enterprise IT infrastructure in the public cloud.