A few months ago, I mentioned how committed Accenture is to putting cloud at the core of our business. It means we can capitalize on best in-class cloud services and show our clients how those can be employed to transform their businesses. And so far today not only do we have 95% of Accenture applications in the cloud, but also we’ve invested to the tune of US$3B in helping our clients to get the most from their cloud journey, too.

Man walking down street

As I shared with Elise Cornille, a managing director responsible for Technology marketing at Accenture, in a recent podcast, for me, success comes from maintaining a cloud forward position—constantly optimizing how we live in the cloud and how we use the cloud. I like to think that being at the forefront of cloud technology, testing what works and what doesn't and sharing those insights with our clients, sets the best kind of example in the market.

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We’ve already proven how cloud sets us apart. When our CEO Julie Sweet announced an internal Accenture transformation, adopting a growth model that put power in the hands of our markets, the IT landscape had to completely change. And remarkably, because we were already in the cloud and have adaptability from our software-as-a-service platforms, we could enable that massive operational change in just six months. That's unheard of, but represents what it means to have a flexible footprint in the cloud.

Cloud has brought us tangible savings, like 35% cumulative savings in operational infrastructure costs over three years as a result of automation programs and other capabilities. And we’ve gained a 99% decrease in environment provisioning time. Developing agile apps in a day instead of a month can support your business customers and help you penetrate new markets. It means teams can actually get to work and create productive capabilities like we did with our People + Work Connect platform—developed and launched in just 12 days. In difficult times, these outcomes are game changing.

And there’s another worthwhile result from using the cloud that might not seem immediately obvious. Sustainability is a top-of-mind issue for leading organizations and can benefit from cloud capabilities. We’ve reduced more than 220 metric tons of carbon emissions and more than 900,000 kilowatts of power consumption in just nine months. How? By examining our consumption patterns and getting smarter about how we build our software and consume in the cloud.

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Innovating in the cloud

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Bringing you the future

These outcomes offer a compelling business case for cloud. So, let me tell you some of the ways you can realize your own cloud transformational potential:

  • Let cloud shine the spotlight on your data. Many companies are just starting on their data architecture journeys, but it's going to become a huge area of focus for everyone—I don’t just mean Accenture people, but all businesses across the world. And it’s cloud capabilities that open the door to a better understanding of your data and being data driven—it’s an area where I know I’m going to spend more time with clients going forward.
  • Learn to embrace a cloud native lifestyle. Just getting to the cloud is not enough; you need to live in an intelligent fashion. It means shifting your mindset from a builder to a buyer, from an owner to a consumer. This may seem like a small thing in concept, but it can be a huge mental barrier for many people to overcome when moving to the cloud.
  • Partner for performance. The cloud is a rich space and the ideal place to purchase everything versus build it yourself. Keep the total cost of ownership low, but partner with vendors to influence functionality and leverage what they bring to the table. It means you can focus on how the business runs rather than getting tied up with the tech.

When I talk to other CIOs about cloud, I always tell them “embrace change and act now.” Cloud is going to be fundamental to our futures, just like the computer or the Internet. In fact I’d say the toughest thing about living in the cloud is its infinite possibilities. There’s so many different avenues for transformation; it makes sound governance and investment strategies essential to get the most out of all that optionality.

What's even more exciting for me is that we've reached a point in our own cloud journey where we’re putting power back into the hands of our people. Through collaboration platforms and low code or no code technologies, we can make our people’s everyday work experience productive—and exactly how they want it to be. That's fundamentally different than where we've been in the past.

If you’d like to know more about how to create limitless possibilities with cloud in your organization, take a look at our latest cloud case study or listen to my recent podcast on the topic.

Penelope Prett

Chief Information Officer

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