Why you need to change culture to make cloud a success
March 29, 2021
Accenture embraces change—even as the world is changing at an unprecedented pace. And change has always been part of our global IT DNA. We adopt a “shift left” mentality; doing things quickly and empowering our teams to move forward with a mindset that focuses on the end result not the individual functions that lead to it. It means we can not only change our culture to achieve greater efficiencies and collaboration, but also help our business perform at the cutting edge.
Cloud is a huge part of how we have adopted a “shift left” mentality. As I’ve said before, it’s not a matter of if you should use the cloud, but how you should use the cloud. Through our own cloud journey—and today 95% of Accenture applications are in the cloud—we’ve seen how important it is to establish a cloud native culture alongside the necessary technical changes.
Our journey to the cloud started in 2015. In the first couple of years we focused on adopting cloud, optimizing and transforming how we worked so that we could make best use of cloud native services and principles. As we began to shift our services and applications to be cloud native, we saw a need to adapt our culture in tandem so that we can increase agility and efficiency even further and move beyond traditional functions to serve always-on demand.
Cloud has proved itself a powerful ally in the business; we are faster (150 applications were modernized from legacy to newer IT patterns in 12 months), more sustainable (we have seen around 900K reduction in kWh power consumption in nine months) and more cost effective (we’ve seen US$13M savings from reserved instance utilization of compute resources over four years).
But to be fully cloud native—and meet our goal of modernizing more than 400 apps—we need 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.
Let me tell you how we’re moving forward to achieve those outcomes:
We shifted the organizational structure: we wanted to empower our teams and reduce organizational siloes and handoffs. We moved from a function-based organization (such as engineering, architecture, operations) to a solution-based approach. For example, there is now a core team that focuses solely on the security and identity access management product.By flattening the organization, and creating teams that rally around a single product, we give those teams ownership and decision-making power for their cloud products. The organizational structure needed to adapt depending on which phase of cloud we were in—and we did this by adopting an agile approach with development, security and operations (DevSecOps) as part of our product families.
We shifted the way we worked: we further embedded DevSecOps so that we could continuously test, release and maintain applications. Our new organizational structure further encouraged collaboration between development, security and operations within the product lifecycle. As our cloud team continued to work with individual application teams, a ticketed support process became obsolete. Over time, we encouraged app teams to take more ownership of their applications and, ultimately, they learned to do their own troubleshooting. The cultural change is clear: rather than looking for the support of others, our people are empowered to resolve issues for themselves.
We shifted to more collaborative practices: we enhanced internal education and recommended new ways that our people can better collaborate. What was initially disparate knowledge through our cloud team is now documented in one place. We created a one-stop portal that includes reference items, question forums, information about teams and vendors. Moving forward, the portal is an entry point for modernizing apps. These measures highlight that there are no limits to how far we can extend our collaborative practices.
The power of these shifting practices has meant we can work in a more agile, iterative way. Going forward, we want to continue to build a culture that embraces change and adoption of new technology throughout our organization for better business outcomes.
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