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ACCENTURE FEDERAL SERVICES


January 18, 2018
Maximizing mission value from the cloud
By: Christopher Copeland

While the buzz surrounding cloud computing can be deafening, the specifics on how organizations are taking advantage of it are even harder to discern. This is especially true for federal agencies, as many fear being perceived as laggards in an increasingly "Cloud First" world. And if commercial counterparts have been more aggressive in embracing the cloud, what lessons learned can the government take from their experience?

Providing insight is More Cloud, More Business Value, a new Accenture AWS Business Group (AABG) study conducted with IDG Research to assess the state of cloud adoption globally. AABG commissioned the survey of 600 IT and non-IT leaders across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific to better understand how enterprises optimize public cloud deployments to drive business benefits.

They were selected on the basis of being early adopters of cloud computing—with an average of 41 percent of their IT infrastructure and applications deployed in the public cloud—and represented a number of industries, including financial services, consumer products, industrial products, life science, health and public safety.

While we can agree that having a cloud-first mindset isn’t an issue, the survey helps us explore what’s actually driving adoption. Not surprisingly, cost savings and speed-to-market were the top two overall drivers.

What was interesting was how strong “more rigorous data security” rated (top three overall) with the largest number of “most important” votes. By comparison, 55 percent of surveyed companies in our 2016 survey said data security and privacy were top cloud inhibitors. A year later, the numbers show a significant majority (70 percent or more) are actually satisfied with various aspects of their cloud security, with only 7 percent or less expressing concern.

Equally important, businesses are seeing these anticipated benefits materialize in meaningful ways. Quantifiable benefits were achieved in 11 categories by 25 percent or more of the audience, with no one reporting they had not achieved measurable benefits. Those with the highest level of cloud provision are also experiencing much deeper transformative value, including improved customer satisfaction and greater opportunity for innovation.

What about the challenges? While confidence in security was higher than ever, the actual process of integrating these controls and governance into the cloud environment still requires significant work for many organizations. For example, three of the top four cited challenges were related to security and risk management:

  • Integrating Data Security – 45 percent

  • Managing Variable Cloud Costs – 36 percent

  • Compliance/Legal Risk Management – 34 percent

  • Cloud Governance – 33 percent

Not surprisingly, the survey also found a strong correlation between cloud computing adoption and DevOps with 85 percent of executives reporting its partial or full adoption. These organizations employing DevOps also reported improved IT/business collaboration with 81 percent characterizing it as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Furthermore, better collaboration across functions and lines of business also were cited as two of the top three cultural benefits of public cloud adoption (increased support for innovation topped the list).

My take? We’re seeing tangible results, and new opportunities, in moving to the cloud. What were once considered barriers to cloud migration, most notably the risks to data security, seem to be melting away.

By taking a fresh look at the security offered natively by the cloud, private enterprises have been safeguarding their environment in new and more powerful ways. No reason the federal market should be any less committed to, or overly cautious about, integrating up-to-date controls, governance and security mechanisms.

In addition to practical applications, federal agencies can expect to take advantage of greater innovation and agility by moving to the cloud. Our government agencies need to take a page from their commercial counterparts, who’ve already learned that more cloud leads to more business value.

Review the full More Cloud, More Business Value report to learn more, including strategies these organizations are employing to foster cloud adoption and greater innovation.

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