Global consulting firm Accenture has claimed it will invest US$3 billion over the next three years in an effort to build out its capabilities around rapid cloud migration and digital transformation amid the “inflection point” created by COVID-19.
Central to the plan is the formation and launch of the so-called Accenture Cloud First, a new multi-service group of 70,000 of the company’s cloud professionals that brings together the breadth of Accenture’s industry and technology capabilities, ecosystem partnerships and deep commitment to learning and upskilling clients’ employees.
The idea behind the new group is that it will supercharge the consulting firm’s ability to help its clients across all industries rapidly become ‘cloud first’ businesses and accelerate their digital transformation to realise greater value at speed and scale.
Specifically, the new group integrates the company’s wide-ranging cloud expertise, including cloud migration, infrastructure and application services and ecosystem partnerships; deep industry and cross-industry insights, data and applied intelligence capabilities.
Set to be headed up by current Accenture technology lead for North America Karthik Narain, Accenture Cloud First also integrates Accenture Interactive’s experience design skills and insights from the company’s unmatched experience in modernising and operating large IT estates and key business processes across finance, HR, marketing and supply chain.
The company suggests that this operational experience at scale is critical to ensuring companies realise value from their cloud and digital transformation, while edge computing, integrated with the cloud, will also be a key focus area.
Moreover, Accenture Cloud First combines the company’s learning and talent development expertise, experience in cloud change management and cloud-ready operating models. This is combined with a commitment to responsible business by design, a factor incorporating security, data privacy, responsible use of artificial intelligence, sustainability and ethics and compliance.
According to Accenture CEO Julie Sweet, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis represents a turning point for industry uptake in cloud technology, with the move having become more of a necessity than ever before.
“COVID-19 has created a new inflection point that requires every company to dramatically accelerate the move to the cloud as a foundation for digital transformation to build the resilience, new experiences and products, trust, speed and structural cost reduction that the ongoing health, economic and societal crisis demands—and that a better future for all requires,” Sweet said.
“Accenture Cloud First and our substantial investment demonstrate our commitment to delivering greater value to our clients when they need it most. Digital transformation requires cloud at scale, and post-COVID leadership requires that every business become a ‘cloud first’ business,” she added.
Cloud is already a huge revenue spinner for Accenture, with the company pulling in approximately US$11 billion in cloud revenue in its fiscal year 2019, with more than 100,000 Accenture cloud professionals working with clients to shape, move, build and operate their businesses in the cloud.
Accenture’s US$3 billion investment will be used to continue advancing industry roadmaps, data models and solutions; cloud artificial intelligence (AI) data and AI architectures; integrated full-stack infrastructure and applications capabilities; cloud tools, assets, and automation to drive lower unit cost and innovation; and research and development in edge computing and related cloud technologies.
“Cloud is the most disruptive and value-creating technology of our time — it is the foundation for the digital transformation that is driving profound changes in how businesses operate, compete and create value for all their stakeholders,” Accenture Technology group chief executive Paul Daugherty said.
“With most businesses currently at only about 20 per cent in the cloud, moving to 80 per cent or more rapidly and cost effectively is a massive change that requires a bold new model.
“Accenture Cloud First, along with our US$3 billion investment and our market-leading software-as-a-service capabilities in intelligent platform services, ensures that we provide our clients with value, speed and innovation in every part of their cloud journey,” he added.