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Why 2023 is the year of next-level cloud value


February 1, 2023

It’s great to see commitment to cloud surging. Accenture’s latest Cloud Outcomes research shows a huge majority of companies – almost nine in every ten – have increased the scope and/or volume of their cloud initiatives over the past two years.

That’s absolutely the right thing to be doing. Cloud is now fundamental to achieving strategic business goals, both today and in the future. But getting all the value out of cloud once you’re there? That’s where it gets trickier.

Our research shows that while most companies are getting some of the anticipated value from their cloud journeys, only 42% on average are getting everything they expect. That means there’s a lot of cloud value out there still waiting to be tapped.

Why is this? It’s because most of cloud’s low-hanging fruit has now been picked. And what’s left are the hairier, more complex, business-critical problems that are riskier to change and harder to move. 

The greatest rewards mean tackling the biggest risks

But here’s the kicker: This higher-hanging fruit is where most of the value lies. Because the greatest potential for total enterprise reinvention comes when you use cloud to transform the most critical, most differentiating parts of your business.

Think of it this way. Every successful company has its own secret sauce. That’s the blend of capabilities which, when you boil it down to its essence, fundamentally distinguishes the company from its competitors and delivers value to its customers. 

But that secret sauce is also the place where, over many years, the company has been constantly innovating, constantly adding new capabilities, constantly improving customer experiences… and constantly increasing the complexity of the underlying IT. 

So, these are not only the most mission-critical parts of your business, they also usually feel like the most difficult and risky to get cloud-ready. About two in five respondents to our Cloud Outcomes research said legacy application modernization was one (among several) of the most stubborn barriers they face to achieving the full value from cloud. 

Learning how to learn in the cloud

It’s essential that these barriers are overcome. Because cloud is the operating system of the modern enterprise. And your future ability to innovate, collaborate, derive value and grow depends on having your thorniest, most important legacy applications there as well. 

You also need to look beyond migration. Next-level cloud value comes from migrating in order to modernize. And that doesn’t only mean the technology itself. You also need to change the way the whole organization operates. In fact, it’s this broader business transformation that really starts to open up the potential value across the Cloud Continuum.

Cloud is the operating system of the modern enterprise

Of course, learning to do things differently can be difficult. I’m sure we all remember what it was like at college. However smart we thought we were when we started, we quickly realized it was a whole different ball game from high school. We needed to relearn how to learn if we wanted to really excel and get all the rewards from the experience.  

Cloud is the same. A company must be willing to put aside its old ways of working and relearn how to operate and how to think in the cloud. That allows it to fully exploit the technology to adapt, respond and grow as new opportunities and risks arise – opening the door to breakthrough innovations that can remake a company or an industry.

Cloud is not a destination, it’s a commitment to ever-changing possibilities

The analogy goes further. Because, like learning, cloud has no defined end point. Just as the smartest people are those that keep learning throughout their whole lives, so the most successful companies keep learning, keep adapting, keep innovating in the cloud. 

That’s because cloud is an ever-evolving continuum, a growing power that is evolving from a disruptive technology to a mega-trend. And all those new features and capabilities being added every month create a flywheel effect, helping a company build more and more momentum in its transformation journey. 

It’s why we say getting full value from the cloud requires a commitment to continuous reinvention and new possibilities. In such a dynamic environment, if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind. 

Balancing long-term and short-term value

The good news is that more than two-thirds of the companies surveyed in our Cloud Outcomes research see their cloud journeys as ongoing. But that still leaves nearly a third of companies who view their journeys as complete and are putting their businesses at risk by leaving value on the table.

This matters all the more as the global economic outlook remains weak and the business environment continues to create unexpected challenges. In this kind of landscape, cloud’s flexibility and agility are invaluable. It can act as both an efficiency-driver and a generator of new business value. 

But it does mean getting the balance right between delivering cost savings today and enabling value for the business tomorrow. Ultimately, you get more in the near term by being better prepared for the long term.

This is the year of cloud value

As we start the new year, I’m confident businesses can get that balance right. We’ve made strides, but cloud’s true full value is there to be tapped. But it does require you to be willing to relearn much of what you thought you already knew – and adapt the way the business operates to start reaping cloud’s higher-hanging fruit.  

Like any kind of learning, it’s not an easy thing to do and can be frustrating at times. But it is hugely rewarding. Those who are committed will be best placed to not only get more value from their cloud investment, but also use it to spark a total reinvention of the enterprise. That’s the priority for 2023 and beyond.


Karthik Narain

Group Chief Executive – Technology