For organizations to successfully exploit the value of today’s new and emerging technologies, migrating to the cloud is essential. Likewise, to be successful in consuming new technologies requires a shift by IT organizationally. Having achieved these important shifts, Accenture recognized that more opportunities with cloud exist as our organization settles into running in the cloud. Our global IT organization is focusing on several new dimensions, including the following:
Continuous optimization and transformation
Capitalizing on cloud is not just about being in the cloud. It’s about continuous optimization and transformation to achieve ongoing business value. We continue to optimize utilization of services put into the cloud, optimize services within applications and leverage cloud solutions based on business scenarios. We are also investing in bringing intelligence in monitoring and DevSecOps and helping to create insights around IT to achieve optimization objectives. This investment will also help us create a control pane to bring our IT into automated, intelligent-driven governance.
Multi-cloud provider approach
Accenture has a deliberate strategy to work with a small number of cloud services providers, which today includes Amazon, Microsoft and Google. This approach not only spreads risk concentration, but also gives Accenture flexibility to use the best of whichever provider meets a specific business objective. Given this, Accenture is focusing on using and building with only cloud-native services wherever possible so as to move away from infrastructure maintenance and management. Building cloud-native applications and directly consuming cloud platform services are the keys to less maintenance, more agility and keeping pace with platform advances.
The decision to expand beyond a single provider, however, brings complexity. The key is to ensure that a company’s ability to manage cloud usage, control costs, set policy and ensure compliance is universal, not provider-specific. Accenture addressed this complexity through the implementation of our cloud management platform. This platform enables us to manage our entire cloud estate from a consolidated viewpoint and to homogenize governance and control across cloud providers. Our global IT group also established a governance structure, applies agile delivery principles, revised our delivery model, and implemented a revised process for research, stakeholder collaboration and enterprise standardization.
Accenture is moving forward in its Development, Security and Operations (DevSecOps) journey, enabled by being in the cloud. Operating in the cloud means having microservices working in multiple clouds involved in complex interactions to provide unique experiences. To keep the speed of innovation going without compromising quality, our global IT organization is investing heavily in shifting left (testing automations, security code scanning, infrastructure-as-code pipelines) and shifting right (chaos engineering and canary and blue-green deployments) to handle unknowns and prepare for failure.
Secure from the start
A high level of security is a benefit of being in the cloud. However, cloud complexity stemming from operating multiple clouds and the rapid release of new services to market, requires enhanced cloud security. Accenture’s migration involved ensuring the infrastructure of our cloud environment was “secure from the start” in order to accommodate the thousands of new services cloud providers roll out each year with less risk.
On-demand self-service is also a key characteristic (and benefit) of cloud computing. To manage large-scale landscapes and to eliminate manual rules and processes, our global IT organization is adapting a multi-cloud setup. Such a setup enables seamless deployments to various cloud providers removing the application development reliance on single provider and monolithic, vendor locked-in solutions. This approach improves security due to better auditing, self-service and separation of responsibility. It also allows essential isolation in the case of a breach, greatly reducing the impact. And it helps make our IT organization more agile.