When I first started working in IT, technology landscapes looked very different. Companies made huge investments in hardware and built their own walls when it came to networks. Sure, it was robust and provided the reassurance of control but it required specialist skills, careful planning and a continuous focus on technology changes to stay ahead of the game.

Sunset over lake

Fast forward 30 years and you’d barely recognize how we consume network services today. At Accenture, we’re still rock solid—we must be to meet the daily demands of 596,000 people—but we can act faster and scale in almost real time to suit the needs of our business. And we do all this while continually innovating to lead the market with our technology solutions.

As you’ve probably guessed, it’s cloud that gives us the helping hand. As our latest case study shows, we’ve migrated 95% of our business to the cloud which has enabled us to make nearly all of our business applications “Internet facing.” As all Accenture locations look to consume all services from the cloud, we’re contemplating an unprecedented move—completely phasing out our private network.

Flexible and secure

As the last 12 months has shown us, staying connected (safely) lies at the heart of business continuity. And while most organizations build and own private networks to govern security and experience, it is possible to introduce not only security without ownership, but also boundaryless experiences with internet-only and cloud-network capabilities. In fact, we’re in the process of doing so as we remove the last few remaining dependencies on our private backbone.

By simplifying all aspects of our network, we believe we will be more secure, less complex and higher performing. How? Well, for a start we can reduce fixed costs and an asset-heavy core that limits business agility. We can operate in a highly optimized consumption model, only paying for what we need with supply aligned to demand in real time. And we can open doors for our people—using the inherent infinite capacity of the Internet and cloud to help us reimagine the future of our workforce experience.

Here are some of the key focus areas if you’re thinking of eliminating your dependency on a private network:

  1. Start with zero trust. Assume all networks are untrusted by default. For this reason, we encrypt all traffic and use multi-factor authentication for all our applications.
  2. Be code driven. Deploy code-driven operations that are 100% automated and vendor/appliance agnostic. We’re collapsing network functions into software to manage our network architecture and using code for provisioning, change and compliance.
  3. Be agile. Use variable, consumption-based network platforms that provide elasticity based on real-time demand. This enables us to give our people the ability to work remotely from anywhere at any time.
  4. Strive for zero touch. Ticketless and simplified provisioning while providing consistency and governance. We are democratizing infrastructure through templatized patterns for our network architectures to reduce build times and eliminate the need for high touch.

Read the full case study for more on phasing out corporate networks and learn more about how we’re deploying a radical new approach to consuming network services.

Steve Courtney

Director – Global IT, Enterprise Architecture-Vision and Strategy

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