There’s a great quote by Michelangelo used in our new cloud research just out that says: “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high, and we miss it, but that it is too low, and we reach it.” I’m fairly confident Michelangelo wasn’t talking about cloud computing at the time, but it is relevant for the many organizations who may have gone some way along a cloud journey but failed to all-in embrace it.

Our global IT team is experienced in what it takes to be a cloud native and embrace the cloud. As an example, meeting our goal of modernizing more than 400 apps means adopting a culture that gives ownership to our teams, helps us to be more efficient in the development cycle and encourages partnership and collaboration across our organization.

And we’re in good company. The research found that a small group—between 12% to 15% of respondents, depending on the region—recognizes the cloud as a continuum of capabilities. This subset of organizations goes beyond cloud migration, expanding their cloud use because it helps them to innovate quickly, operate in new ways and gain a competitive edge.

What does that cloud continuum look like? It’s picks and mix in terms of ownership and location, from public to private or hybrid cloud to multi-cloud or edge computing. All of these combinations are dynamically supported by next-generation connectivity, such as 5G and software-defined networks. But with all that choice, it’s no wonder some organizations are struggling to know where to start to optimize their cloud investments.

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Competing in the cloud

In our global survey of nearly 4,000 global business and IT leaders in 16 industries, almost everyone had adopted some type of cloud and artificial intelligence over the past decade. But a small group we call the Continuum Competitors are using the cloud not only as a single, static destination, but also as a future operating model. In doing so, they are outpacing their peers on many fronts.

For a start, they’re two to three times more likely to innovate and reengineer knowledge work. They achieve between 1.2X (North America) and 2.7X (Europe) greater cost reduction than pure migration players. They’re up to 3X more likely to use the cloud for at least two sustainability goals, such as using green energy.

Accenture’s commitment to cloud is reflected in the fact that our business runs 95% in the public cloud and is costing us half as much as our legacy delivery models. And our multi-cloud journey was backed up last year by our announcement of a US $3 billion investment to help our clients move to the cloud.

For us, whether we’re accelerating AI momentum in the cloud or adopting a cloud continuum, we are able to function as a browser-based organization that can easily scale and connect people and develop and deploy new capabilities with agility and pace. By making sure we are  secure from the start and that our people and culture  are aligned to the new ways of working in the cloud, we can optimize around speed, spend and sustainability.

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Accenture’s commitment to cloud is reflected in the fact that our business runs 95% in the public cloud and is costing us half as much as our legacy delivery models. 

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Finding your own continuum

Here’s some of the ways you can use the cloud to transform how you interact with customers, partners, and employees:

  1. Know where you want to go: Having a clear continuum strategy will help you cut through the noise—define core values and future aspirations, identify competitive vulnerabilities, and classify capabilities, with a line of sight from where you are today and your future aspirations.
  2. Establish cloud practices to augment your technologies: Embrace top practices such as continuous goals, cloud-first apps, talent transformation, IT experimentation and scale awareness—and speed time to future markets, again and again.
  3. Accelerate innovation to deliver exceptional experiences: Using the cloud to make work more interesting and data-driven by reducing rote tasks and manual maintenance work or using cloud-based tools to make technology approachable.
  4. Keep committing to strategy: Leadership needs to establish business objectives, appropriate levels of risk-taking and evangelize a culture for agility and growth.

I encourage you to read the research and think about your own approach to the cloud continuum. Organizations today need to be ready for every opportunity that comes their way—in my book that means changing hearts, changing minds, and changing the way you work to tap into the power of the cloud continuum.

See more IT Strategy insights.

Penelope Prett

Chief Information, Data & Analytics Officer

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