Dec 16, 2020

Accenture: Cloud is not an option - it’s a mandate

Janet Brice
4 min
Cloud migration remains a stubborn challenge for business but is identified by Accenture as the key survival tool for digital transformation post COVID...

Cloud first is the new mandate - and key survival tool for an end-to-end digital transformation - for businesses post-COVID 19, according to a Cloud Outcomes 2020 Research from Accenture.

As we move towards a new era of remote working and online commerce due to the pandemic, Accenture warns that two-thirds of the companies have not fully embraced cloud adoption while those who have enjoy greater cost efficiencies, improved service levels and faster speed to market.

“The road to the cloud’s transformational benefits is complex – involving multiple dimensions including rethinking strategy, technology, skills development, business processes as well as organisational design. 

“We discovered that most adopters haven't fully achieved their expected outcomes while leaders' confidence in the migration is relatively low,” comment Accenture in the report Sky high hopes: Navigating the barriers to maximising cloud value.

In its new Cloud Outcome research Accenture surveyed companies to pinpoint how far they are advancing in terms of the business value achieved from cloud initiatives.

Accenture’s last survey in 2018 found that just 35% of companies had fully achieved their expected outcomes from cloud. Nearly two years later the key findings from the latest research shows:

  • 37% of companies had fully achieved their expected outcomes from cloud
  • 45% of companies are very satisfied with the cloud outcomes 
  • 29% of companies confident their organisation’s cloud migration initiatives will deliver the expected value at the expected time

“The results should serve as a wake-up call to business leaders. In short, despite years of investment in cloud, full value realisation remains a stubborn challenge.

“As you navigate to the cloud, be aware of the barriers that can erode value,” commented Accenture.

Cloud adopters

The research by Accenture discovered that those companies reporting greater success tended to be the high adopters when it came to cloud migration. Two other characteristics identified as high adopters included larger companies with $10B or more in revenue and were often based in Latin or North America.

“High adopters tended to be ahead of the curve in working with partners to achieve their cloud results: We found that 29% of high adopters use cloud managed services “to a great degree,” nearly three times more than moderate adopters and ten times more than low adopters. Further, those that use cloud managed services “to a great degree” are more likely to fully achieve intended benefits (48%) than those that do not (35%).”

Achieve full cloud potential

According to Accenture, becoming Cloud First is an essential component to digital transformation and it’s clear that to achieve cloud’s full potential requires much more than technology. It requires organisations to adopt new ways of working, shifting to new operating models and developing new roles and skills. Four key areas companies should address include:

  1. Business value focus

Develop a cloud strategy anchored to economic business cases to identify revenue upside and cost efficiency opportunities while aligning goals and putting company leaders on the same page.  

  1. Data and AI

Unlock industry and function-specific data insights trapped in legacy systems through cloud data models.

  1. Workforce and culture change management

Implement talent readiness programs and new operating models to evolve culture, transforming how people work and how they meet rapidly changing needs.

  1. Partnering for success

Leverage the skills and experience of the appropriate partners to augment your own capabilities. Cloud managed services is often an option for companies looking to access the right skills while maintaining cost efficiency.

Hurdles to cloud adoption

Security and compliance risk (46%) along with legacy infrastructure and application sprawl (40%) plus misalignment between IT and the business (40%) are the most reported obstacles to cloud migration.

“It's worth noting, however, that every barrier listed was mentioned by more than a third of all respondents. This finding suggests that all the barriers merit careful consideration as companies begin their cloud journeys,” said the report.

While security is a constant theme across all levels of cloud adoption, concerns over having the proper cloud skills diminishes as adoption increases (low 46%, moderate 36%, high 30%) and companies hire or train more cloud talent. 

“Three in ten high adopters still view this as a top barrier. Underscoring this point is the fact that 54% CEOs overall rank the skills issue highest as a top 3 concern,” says the report.

“COVID-19 created a new inflection point where every company must dramatically accelerate their cloud migration to enable end-to-end digital transformation. In short, cloud is not an option, it’s a mandate,” comment Accenture.

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 


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