Rather than building its own cloud computing platforms, Accenture is maneuvering to position itself as a broker of cloud computing services that are delivered via multiple cloud service providers.
The global IT services and business consulting giant today announced that an update to the Accenture Cloud Platform now includes cloud computing services delivered via a variety of third-party infrastructure-as-a-service providers including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Windows Azure, Verizon Terremark and NTT Communications.
In addition, Accenture announced an investment in Apigee, a provider of an application programming interface (API) management platform that is widely used to integrate applications across the cloud.
According to Michael Liebow, managing director and global lead for Accenture Cloud Platform, the Accenture cloud strategy is anchored around the ability to provide a single pane of glass through which its customers will be able to manage multiple cloud computing services. That capability will not only allow organizations to play one cloud service off another, it will give customers unlimited access to on-demand compute capacity.
That particular aspect of cloud computing, says Liebow, isn’t as fully appreciated as it should be. Cloud computing allows organizations to now pursue new business opportunities that previously would have been prohibitively expensive to launch. Whether it involves making use of cloudbursting services to invoke additional capacity or hosting entire applications in the cloud, Liebow says cloud computing is fundamentally changing the economics of IT.
The degree to which that is occurring varies by industry. Most organizations today are opting to host applications on a particular cloud and then proceed to integrate them with other best-of-breed applications running on-premise or in the cloud. More sophisticated instances of hybrid cloud computing, where application workloads dynamically move between data centers, are still beyond the capabilities of most IT organizations to actually manage.
What is changing most rapidly, says Liebow, is that from an application perspective, organizations now feel they need to be wedded to a particular suite of applications from a single vendor to control costs.
Liebow says that it’s now clear that cloud computing is no longer just a science experiment. Business leaders clearly understand they are no longer shackled by the limitations of internal IT. Those new capabilities, says Liebow, are driving a massive wave of digital business innovation that is changing the competitive landscape in every vertical industry.
Naturally, that shift is expanding the role that global systems integrators play in the cloud as the total amount of IT resources being consumed steadily increases and IT becomes generally more accessible at all levels of the business. The next big challenge is figuring out how to actually manage it.