In today’s hyper-competitive era of compressed transformation, organizations must implement change with speed and at scale. Recent Accenture research points out that Cloud is no longer a single technology. It’s become a dynamic continuum of capabilities—from public cloud through edge and everything in between.
We call cloud a continuum because “cloud” services that used to be exclusively inside the “public cloud datacenters” can now be found in multiple locations and destinations. These include services such as AWS Outposts, Amazon EKS Anywhere and AWS Wavelength. Why? Because the company’s operations, customer channels and innovation requirements need to be readily accessible anywhere, at any time for anyone in the company, and their customers.
Companies realize more value if they design cloud-native architectures and applications to leverage a seamless continuum of capabilities. Rather than treating each part of the cloud as silos, if you think of it as a continuum, you can choose what you need to meet ever-changing business conditions.
To make this happen, you need a cloud service provider who thinks the same way and continually innovates to meet this customer need. AWS is one of these partners. Not only does AWS have the most proven operational and security expertise, but they are also innovating at a faster clip—especially in new areas such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence,
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With AWS, customers can consume Cloud Continuum services with the same APIs, the same control plane, the same tools, and the same hardware that they're used to using in AWS Regions. For example, AWS Wavelength extends AWS infrastructure to the 5G edge so that now, you only have to go from the device to the metro 5G aggregation site. 5G lowers the latency for all kinds of Cloud Continuum use cases. Its power gives you a chance to build sub-10-millisecond latency applications that can do things like smart manufacturing or autonomous vehicles or various things in games.
Generali Vitality, a subsidiary of one of the largest global insurance and asset management providers, needed to scale quickly to reach new customers. Working with Accenture and AWS to tap into cloud-native technology across all parts of the AWS Cloud Continuum, the wellness business group is now able to roll out new features at the push of a button to continuously improve their products and engage customers.
Like Generali Vitality, most businesses need a partner to use the Cloud Continuum most effectively and get there quickly.
Accenture and AWS saw how clients needed more support. In 2015, we created the Accenture AWS Business Group (AABG). Accenture and AWS have been working together for the past 15 years since AWS S3 hit the internet. Over the years, the AABG has helped joint Accenture and AWS customers as they work through the Continuum.
AABG has evolved along with our clients. We helped customers “Lift and Shift” to AWS. We helped set up SAP to run on AWS, to be a launch partner for new AWS services such as Amazon EKS Anywhere. We set up a 5G Edge location with AWS Outposts to help customers prove the value of a solution that uses the entire continuum. And at this year’s re:Invent 2021 conference, we will renew our partnership and invest even more in innovative solutions to solve client cloud challenges.
Working with hundreds of customers, we've identified three elements that have allowed our joint customers to become Continuum Competitors:
- Use building blocks for a solid foundation
While you can’t predict the future, you have to build a foundation for the future to support your organization’s journey into the Cloud Continuum. Start with using as many AWS native services as possible when building a secure landing zone and using automation to do everything.
For cloud architects, this sounds like a no-brainer, but we see it time and time again. It is easy to take shortcuts and only think about the application requirement you’re facing and not the future. We’re seeing more and more enterprise landing zones needing to be replaced because they used 3rd-party products that can’t keep up or were statically built and can’t adapt to AWS services changes or additions.
Accenture and AWS developed the AABG Secure Cloud Foundation (SCF) solution for this reason. Secure Cloud Foundation is a solution that leverages Accenture’s industry experience in implementing enterprise cloud environments on AWS using well-architected practices. With a focus on infrastructure as code, to increase agility and scalability, security is integrated at multiple layers in the AWS Cloud Foundation built on Control Tower including organizational policies, multi-account/multi-region AWS-native security, multi-region central networking, automated security guardrails and more.
Because Accenture and AWS have created solutions like SCF, our clients are not starting from scratch. Therefore most of our clients’ investments can be used to solve their business problem rather than build infrastructure. That creates value for you.
Choose the right services for the right job to support the end goal
AWS has over 200 different fully featured services that can be used and made available to your teams, but we often find enterprise customers have a process to approve/safelist services to be used. These services are continually expanding to support virtually any cloud workload, including compliance and security, consistency in the estate and aligning use cases with the entire Cloud Continuum.
Database and Container management is a great example. AWS has 15 different purpose-built database options to give customers the right tool for the right job so they can spend less money, be more productive, and change the customer experience.
There is also depth in containers, with managed Kubernetes service, Amazon EKS and their own container service with Amazon ECS, both of which offer an Anywhere feature that enables you to easily run and manage container workloads on your own managed infrastructure. This gives customers a choice. Further, to extend the Cloud Continuum, other AWS services can fill this role, and they continue to grow support for workloads running at the edge via AWS Outposts, VMWare Cloud on AWS, or one in an AWS Local Zone. As a smart movie character once said, “You must choose wisely.”
- Partnership equals far-reaching change faster
Internet Search Engineers and the AWS Portal are great places to find information about cloud architecture and what is the best option for your estate. Still, as Andy Jassy, president and CEO of Amazon, says: “There is no compression algorithm for experience.”
Over the last 15 years, Accenture and AWS have worked together with multiple enterprise-scale customers supporting them on the evolution of their cloud environment, with some of them becoming the Continuum Competitors highlighted in our research.
These companies worked with Accenture and AWS to build their cloud foundation, initial migration to AWS, and build their cloud muscle, but they did not stop there.
They continued to engage Accenture and AWS to bring the latest thinking, address some of their pain points and help evolve their cloud estate. AWS releases new services and features almost every day. A Continuum Competitor innovates every day and doesn’t stop by just saying their workloads are running in the cloud. Think about your long-term partner as you would think of any personal relationship; what you put into it is what you get out of it.
- Remember why you are moving to the AWS...to enable continuous innovation
At the end of the day, if you’re moving to the cloud to rehost your application/systems in a different location, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. You should be moving to enable great innovation across your organization.
This could be driving innovation by automating and improving your current systems or enabling your organization to develop new products or start a new business. Either way, you need to think about enabling that innovation from the beginning and have your end vision in mind. This will allow you to make the right decision along the way but not box you in.
The word cloud gets used every day by more and more people to describe their technology and the Cloud Continuum will expand into areas we haven’t even thought about. The interplay of any advanced technologies will be underpinned by a foundation built on cloud and a new challenge requires a new set of solutions to unlock its value.
Through the AABG, AWS and Accenture are working together to provide clients the technology, tools, talent and know-how to succeed in the Continuum. Leveraging the years of experience and capabilities of two leaders (AWS/Accenture) will help companies achieve their Continuum aspirations faster and seamlessly.
Our shared experience of how those services work and how to best leverage them, along with the vast experience of working with thousands of clients, helps jump-start the journey and get the most value from the Cloud Continuum.
Learn more about re:Invent 2021 here.