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

By Janet Brice
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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