Carpe Diem – the cloud imperative is here!

November 8, 2020

By Allan King, managing director of the UK Advanced Technology Centre at Accenture.


In January 2020, Accenture declared that the decade of delivering on the promise of digital had begun; as the world’s leading companies recognised that digital business, underpinned by exponential technology advances, was now core to their success.

Then COVID-19 changed everything. Billions of people around the world changed their behaviour as more and more services moved online.

In response, companies started to build the capabilities they wish they had invested in before: to be more digital and more in the cloud.

For example, retailers that used traditional technology to support their online channel started to experience downtime as their technology struggled to handle the dramatic increase in traffic.

In contrast, cloud-hosted solutions are highly scalable, so a sudden rise in traffic was less likely to disrupt business. What was declared as a decade of opportunity for digital transformation has become the cloud imperative.

For most businesses, moving the majority of their services to be cloud-enabled is a massive change that requires bold new thinking.

To maximise the cloud’s benefit to the business, there are a number of essential elements to consider. First, migration cannot be a purely IT-driven exercise. Those in other parts of the business need to be part
of the solution, understanding that cloud is a critical enabler to business initiatives driving efficiency, innovation and growth. You also need strong leadership from the top to provide direction.

Second, to avoid getting stuck in a pattern of experimentation, businesses should focus on realising value. It’s not enough to say you migrated the majority of services and think the job is done. A cloud strategy needs a way of measuring the value to the business that, in turn, helps you make the business case and define the cloud target state. This is vital because, from
a business perspective, migration can look like a lot of effort for little return. You need to spell out the future value and transformation potential for each application, clearly justifying how the business will benefit from the migration.

Lastly, thoughtful sequencing and prioritisation of low hanging fruit can then help fund more complex migrations. This is a more sophisticated task than simply asking, ‘what takes out the most cost?’ Businesses must weigh cost savings against a range of other factors; application complexity, legacy needs, data-location and compliance requirements.

For most businesses, getting sales and productivity back on track is the most critical COVID-19 action. But, understanding how migrating to the cloud should be enacted is becoming more crucial for survival, and not just that – if done successfully, it can be a catalyst for future innovation and growth. It can help a business to continually reinvent itself, and quickly adapt in line with changing customer needs.

What’s more, Accenture has found that a focused approach on cloud migration can reduce global CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year, which equates
to taking 22 million cars off the road. Companies have historically driven financial, security and agility benefits through cloud, but sustainability is also becoming an imperative.

Accenture recently announced the formation of Accenture Cloud First, with a $3 billion investment over three years to help clients across all industries rapidly become ‘cloud-first’ businesses and accelerate their digital transformation to realise greater value at speed and scale.

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