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April 21, 2015
Using the cloud for digital transformation—the Rio Tinto story
By: Jean-Marc Ollagnier

From being a shiny new object Cloud is moving to business-as usual-for most enterprise organizations. Global diversified mining conglomerate Rio Tinto’s strategic decision to shift its core IT systems to the Accenture cloud platform is a notable example of this hot, new strategic trend.

In its simplest form, cloud computing allows companies to procure technology as services, including infrastructure, applications, platforms and business processes, via the Internet. The benefit is that since using an IT resource is no longer linked to capital to own that resource, companies can source, scale and deliver capacity unbound by physical location, labor or capital, thanks to the cloud. Even when adopted with an eye to driving out cost and shaving time to market, cloud can help enterprises embark on a digital transformation.

For Rio Tinto too, implementing this ground-breaking information systems and technology (IS&T) delivery model will drive what is described as “significant” cost savings and transformation of services. The 145-year-old company adopted a cloud-first strategy as part of a move to rationalize operational costs in the aftermath of falling prices of commodities, especially iron ore.

The new model will work as an “as-a-service” solution, and will involve the upgrade of the company’s existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) and information management (IM) platforms, consolidating and hosting these applications in the public cloud. It also incorporates consumption-based pricing to ensure costs are fully flexible and in line with business demand.

To shape and deliver the transformation, Rio Tinto will work with Accenture, which will manage the maintenance and upgrade of this application landscape and related infrastructure as well as transform the global service desk and site support functions. The solution is based on a platform for innovation—including a co-located innovation center in Singapore—and a long-term commitment to collaboration.

Why is partnering important? The agility and savings from cloud materializes only when there is a strong relationship with the cloud vendor which understands how the client business works and how the solution can be tailored to its needs. Rio Tinto worked with Accenture earlier while setting up its ERP system for more than 29,000 users. It considers Accenture the right partner to manage the cloud transition because of what Group CIO Simon Benney describes as its “global delivery capabilities, vision for the intelligent business cloud and ability to support Rio Tinto’s digital transformation program”.

For a global resources company such as Rio Tinto, such a program will not just redefine the delivery of application and infrastructure services by smartly and seamlessly connecting all of its infrastructure, software applications, data and operations capabilities and support its business priorities and operating model. Additionally, the solution will unlock scalability, cost flexibility, security and control along with continued lower infrastructure prices, to help Rio Tinto become an agile and intelligent digital business, better equipped to navigate the commodity cycles. Learn how the Accenture Cloud Platform can help transform your business.

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