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Accenture is in the process of transforming itself into a digital-first enterprise. Today, we are 94 percent in the public cloud. As the journey continues, we share our key learnings and how our program has evolved along the way.

An important component of Accenture’s transformation into a digital-first enterprise is a three-year cloud program led by our internal IT organization. It’s a program that aims to deliver a more scalable, robust enterprise IT infrastructure in the public cloud.

“Cloud technologies today offer new IT potential through faster, more flexible, more resilient capabilities that open the doors for operating and delivering value in new ways,” says Merim Becirovic, managing director – Technology Infrastructure and Cloud Computing Strategy Lead, “That made our decision, which we did in close collaboration with our go-to-market cloud offering teams such as Accenture Cloud Platform and Accenture Hybrid Cloud Services, to migrate and provision Accenture’s infrastructure to the cloud a logical conclusion.”



We shaped a cloud strategy and plan, which was to adopt, optimize and transform. Our first phase, Adoption, focused 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 initial goal was to move all business applications out of a virtual on-premise data center within one year—an aggressive target of moving from 9 to 50 percent operating in the cloud, which we achieved.

For this first data center migration, we had to overcome the challenge of not having a full solution for migrating complex enterprise applications at the desired pace. To address this, our Cloud team from internal IT partnered with the Accenture Cloud Factory to test and execute new technical migration procedures managed by a migration management tool, Accelerate for Cloud. In addition, the team 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 was a fully tested cloud migration solution with new methodology addressing these technical and non-technical enterprise complexities that is being offered to clients. It continues to be used for our remaining internal IT on-premise data center migrations.

Along with ongoing business application migrations, the second rung of the cloud adoption strategy, “cloud-first, cloud-only,” continues to increase cloud adoption in parallel. It requires all new applications to be architected and designed for the cloud, and 95 percent of all new infrastructure is provisioned directly in the cloud.

With the technical foundation set and cloud adoption well under way, our internal IT Cloud team’s focus shifted to optimizing what Accenture had adopted. Optimization opportunities were first pursued in infrastructure hosting and tool automation, and progressed to further focus on process streamlining and governance simplification. Moreover, continuous optimization is part of our evolution. All of these optimizations lead to business benefits that contribute to lasting transformation.

“Key shifts in cost visibility, infrastructure access and process flexibility present a huge opportunity for hosting consumption optimization and aligned cost ownership and accountability that we previously did not have,” says Amy Woodson, Infrastructure Optimization lead – Accenture Internal IT. “This model enables teams to influence hosting costs and make decisions that treat efficiency as a key value driver.”

To be better equipped for the pace of evolving cloud technology and capabilities, our Cloud team restructured into dedicated teams that adapted agile delivery methodology to deliver the transformation. This change allowed infrastructure teams to operate more like product or application teams with better stakeholder representation throughout delivery.

With agile delivery principles, as well as a revised delivery model and a thoughtful process for research, stakeholder collaboration and enterprise standardization, the team has been able to implement infrastructure and platform cloud services in production for native cloud applications serving critical business needs across Marketing, Sales, and Human Resources. Building cloud-native applications and directly consuming cloud platform services are the keys to less maintenance, more agility and keeping pace with the platform economy.


Even with the challenge of not having an established methodology and toolset to leverage, our 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 50 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. In the third year of the journey, with the input from various targeted optimizations—reduced non-production environment schedules, monthly server resizing, and dedicated hardware model—Accenture has realized $11.5 million with an expected benefit of $14.5 million after the third year.

The evolution of cloud applications and their consumption of more cloud-native platform services led the team to proactively examine the cost footprints of these new platform services within each application. Applying the same optimization and utilization principles as at the environment levels, the team was able to right-size service consumption without impacting application performance, and realize an additional $3 million in annualized avoided costs.

In addition, the application of adaptive hosting pricing models demonstrates a maturity in recognizing how to leverage cloud solutions based on business scenarios. For applications that have a consistent and predictable demand, the team seized the opportunity to reserve cloud instances in advance that offer a discount of up to 40 percent over a one-year term, and has yielded $1 million in savings to date.

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.


Crowding the Cloud Video
Accenture CIO Andrew Wilson shows what it is like to live and work in the cloud as our internal IT team pursues a cloud-first, cloud-only strategy.
CIO 24/7 Podcast

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.