Call for change

Cloud has become the holy grail for organizations looking to be more flexible and resilient. But getting to the cloud is only part of the journey, as Accenture has learned in our move to running 95 percent of our enterprise IT infrastructure in the cloud.

Capitalizing on the cloud is not just about being in the cloud. It’s about continuous optimization and transformation to achieve ongoing business value—an unfulfilled outcome for many companies.

Accenture recognized an opportunity to take a fresh look at how we were structuring our cloud services now that we’ve been living in the cloud for several years. Given that the world of cloud is rapidly maturing, constantly changing and becoming more sophisticated, it was clear that what we started with is no longer the most effective approach for us now.

New options and opportunities are continuously emerging. And we want to capitalize on best-in-class cloud services. Key to extracting value from the cloud is to ensure we are secure from the start and ongoing, and that our people and culture are aligned to the new ways of working in the cloud. Building on that foundation, we have chosen to optimize around speed, spend and sustainability. With cloud, we can harness these areas to operate our business with agility.

"It’s not a matter of if you should use the cloud, it’s a matter of how you should use the cloud."

— DON GALZARANO, Managing Director – Global IT, Enterprise Architecture, Accenture

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When tech meets human ingenuity

We reexamined our cloud environment using cloud analytics and reporting to see where we could get the most value for Accenture, focusing our efforts on speed, sustainability and spend. This led us to identify six key levers that enable us to optimize our cloud operations. These levers make operations leaner and smarter and continuously realize value. They include:

Application modernization
We re-platformed legacy applications to serverless technology and cloud-native architecture while maintaining application functionality, increasing operational efficiency and cost savings.

Right sizing and true sizing
To prevent overprovisioning, we looked at how much compute power we needed, when we needed it and most importantly, when we didn’t need it. We measure instance usage and performance to understand compute needs and correctly match workloads. Doing this unlocks powerful savings that significantly reduce our operational costs and carbon emissions impact.

Instance payment strategy
By understanding our vendor offerings and Accenture’s true compute needs, we found the most efficient pay structure that led to more informed decisions about how we pay for cloud services. To find the most efficient payment structure, we leverage spot and reserved instances for interruptible and predictable workloads.

Instance upgrades
We run instance upgrades regularly that allow us to stay current, run faster and more efficiently at a lower cost. This ongoing upgrade process also keeps instances on the latest verified version, taking advantage of new releases from cloud providers.

Environment rationalization
To prevent waste, underutilization and redundancy, we encourage teams to leverage the cloud’s horizontal scaling technology, automatically matching compute power based on usage. We also defined stricter standards and created governance structures for environment sizes and types.

Smart scheduling
We can reduce costs and operate in a greener way by working with applications teams to define automated shutdown schedules based on usage patterns. This effectively gives them a way to “turn off the lights” at the end of the day.

A valuable difference

As we took steps to realize the value of the cloud, we also realized a few other things. It is no longer enough to simply “operate in the cloud,” companies must also consider how they operate in the cloud. It is critical to:

  • Be data driven – Analytics and reporting are available and help unlock huge insights into ways you can increase savings while eliminating waste. Develop this capability in house or consider third parties that specialize in cloud analytics.
  • Understand your consumption – Know how much compute power you need, when you need it, and more importantly, when you don’t need it.
  • Leverage vendor offerings – Cloud vendors are operating in an increasingly competitive landscape. Many of them have flexible payment structures or new technology that your company can take advantage of if you know about it.

Well into Accenture’s optimization program, our efforts have delivered notable results across our three areas of focus—speed, sustainability and spend. Not only is Accenture operating at a faster pace, with more efficiency and increased ability to meet business demands, but we’ve significantly reduced our carbon footprint. We also anticipate a 25% increase in cost savings over three years as we continue to make smarter operating decisions.

Accenture’s cloud value realization journey includes:

"Optimizing our cloud operations is a must in moving Accenture to a market-leading, cloud-native position where we can act fast, be nimble, run cost-effectively and securely, and create a sustainable footprint for years to come."

— PENELOPE PRETT, Chief Information Officer, Accenture

Speed

  • 1,300 cloud instances upgraded in 6 weeks
  • 150 apps modernized to newer IT patterns in 12 months
  • Provisioning stats of IaaS (weeks to days) and cloud native services (minutes)

Sustainability

  • 220+ est reduction in metric tons of carbon emissions in 9 months
  • 900K+ est reduction of kWh of power consumption in 9 months

Spend

  • 12.5% savings from removal of IaaS hosting costs
  • 13% shift fixed IT spend to variable IT spend
  • 25%+ planned savings over the next 3 years

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