Companies used to conduct software application comparisons looking for a single solution capable of covering as many business requirements as possible. Within these software assessments companies ended up choosing software solutions that inevitably signified compromises in certain business areas. When compromises were unacceptable companies may have opted the arduous task to integrate different software solutions often loosing inherent advantages in terms of data quality and consistency as well as system simplicity. In light of this the “one solution fits all” approach has failed and considering the added pressure with mobility and social taking more space in our lives the single, highly customized solutions of past will not be able to keep up with newer developments in these areas and will further widen the gap between what the
solution offers and what the companies really require. As a result companies are forced to combine multiple best-in-class solutions to cover the increasing and fast-changing number of requirements. Only Cloud Solutions will offer a balance between business functionality and agility or flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions. Legacy solutions and the data stored in them will need to be integrated with (multiple) Cloud solutions seamlessly creating Hybrid Cloud Solution Environments. Companies capable of successfully integrating legacy solutions with the Cloud or even transform and migrate completely to Cloud solutions will remain ahead of the technology curve, especially in mobility and social media. This switch will open up technological innovations while keeping cost efficiency. Furthermore once the transformation to a full cloud or hybrid cloud is complete the
companies will be able to make further changes, if needed even by jumping from one cloud vendor to the next thus maintaining agility and not be bound by past investments. Accenture supports Clients on their Cloud Transformation journey by assessing their “Cloud-readiness” as well as potential benefits for moving into the Cloud. A clear migration and integration strategy tackles the pressing question on how to get the data and processes provided by legacy solutions either connected or replaced by Cloud solution. Finally, Accenture elaborates a Roadmap for migrating into the Cloud tailored on the Clients Business Areas requirements and considering their overall “cloud-readiness.” The assessment and diagnostic as well as migration and integration strategy are included in the Accenture Roadmap to the Cloud (ARC) framework.
Not much has changed when assessing the importance of integration for a successful and smooth running operation. When looking at Cloud solutions within a Hybrid environment new facets will need to be addressed as it is not possible to always apply the same principles to integration when dealing with the Cloud.
For instance looking at integrating simply on a data level (data integration) in Cloud/ Hybrid environments will raise questions on data security and data consistency. While these matters are also relevant when integrating on premise solutions the mere fact that the data might be stored outside company domains on 3rd party servers will put a new emphasis on the matter. Adding to it is important to understand that Cloud solutions might only offer a predefined set of integration options and that extensibility of those options is not possible.
Understanding the technical limitations and capabilities of chosen Cloud solutions as well as e.g. legal implications by sharing data or processes in a Hybrid environment will therefore be as important when assessing a solution as the functional capabilities.
Existing Frameworks like the Application Roadmap to the Cloud (ARC) help answer questions regarding how to best leverage the Cloud or how to best approach a migration to the Cloud by giving clear migration alternatives and aligning them with business targets, the framework do not give indications on the best solution integration strategies. Similar to the migration alternatives themselves also the integration alternatives in a Hybrid environment need to be analyzed, assessed against business goals and technical feasibility and finally recommended.
This gap is addressed by the Integration Framework for Cloud/Hybrid Transformation.
The framework will follow four steps:
Understand and analyze integration needs and technical capabilities across application, business goals as well as legal restrictions
Assess Hybrid solution integration capabilities
Consider integration alternatives (data integration, process integration, middleware-based broadcast, file-based data sharing etc.)
Develop integration roadmap or reassess Application for Cloud Fit (going back to ARC for reevaluation)
Extending the Accenture Roadmap to the Cloud, Accenture developed a holistic framework with which the entire Marketing and Sales Process can be analyzed and the respective Cloud Fit per each process step assessed. Each process step can hereby yield different Cloud Fit as well as Cloud strategies in which case the framework will assess the best integration methods across the End-to-End process.
The Accenture framework specifically examines integration topics like master data management, real-time process integration and process velocity as well as real-time analytics. Based on the assessment integration recommendations are elaborated that will feed back into the overall Cloud Roadmap. As a result clients will get an End-to-End process chain composed of multiple different solutions integrated in a hybrid model.
Overall Accenture offers following activities:
Assess Current Client Situation
Define company goals per process steps
Elaborate and recommend best Cloud strategy per process step
Define End-to-End Process with transition between Cloud solutions
Elaborate best integration solution for each process transition
Define High-Level functional and technical Flow
Roll-out Plan for Hybrid Cloud Transformation
The extended Accenture Roadmap to the Cloud (ARC) provides clients with a holistic view on tailored Cloud scenarios that will enable the client:
ANTICIPATE AND SAVE COSTS
Migration and Integration strategy provide higher delivery quality and enable Clients to prioritize transformation areas. Migration Roadmap enables transformation forecast including cost and benefit forecast for each migration step.
GENERATE MORE REVENUE
Quickly leverage agility and flexibility of Cloud solutions as well as new functionality in areas like mobility and social media opening up new revenue growth opportunities.
UNDERSTAND AND ASSESS
Analyze realistic Cloud potential in the different Business Areas and assign clear business benefits.
New functionality and flexibility will increase employee satisfaction as well as customer satisfaction.
MAKE THE RIGHT CLOUD CHOICE
Select best-in-class solutions for each Business Areas without the need to compromise for the sake of integration.