Accenture bares $3-B investment for new ‘cloud first’ business

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Technology giant Accenture has announced the formation of a new business unit called “Accenture Cloud First” with a $3-billion investment over the next three years.

Silicon Valley veteran Karthik Narain will lead the new cloud business and join the company’s global management committee, effective October 1.

With approximately $11 billion in cloud revenue in its fiscal year 2019, Accenture’s cloud business spans from Software as a Service — delivered through the company’s Intelligent Platform Services — to its migration, infrastructure and application cloud services.

“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,” said Julie Sweet, chief executive officer of Accenture.

“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.”

Accenture Cloud First is a new multi-service group of 70,000 cloud professionals that brings together the full power and breadth of Accenture’s industry and technology capabilities and ecosystem partnerships.

Accenture’s $3 billion investment will be used to continue advancing — often together with its cloud and broader technology ecosystem partners — industry roadmaps, data models, and solutions; cloud 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.

Narain, who most recently served as the lead for Accenture Technology in North America, is expected to help guide Global 2000 brands in using the power of the cloud and other technologies to transform their businesses.

Over his 20-year career, he has led many innovative technology programs for clients across a variety of industry sectors, including software and platforms, financial services and high tech.

Narain also previously led technology services for Accenture’s communications, media and high tech industry segments. 

“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,” said Paul Daugherty, group chief executive at Accenture Technology.

“With most businesses currently at only about 20% in the cloud, moving to 80% or more rapidly and cost effectively is a massive change that requires a bold new model. Accenture Cloud First, along with our $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.”

The announcement comes as worldwide demand for cloud computing has skyrocketed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Gartner, the worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow 6.3% in 2020 to total $257.9 billion, up from $242.7 billion in 2019.

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