In 2010, Accenture drew a line the sand stating it would under no circumstances become a provider of raw infrastructural services such as those IaaS clouds offered by Virtual Internet or Amazon.
This statement becomes important if you consider the size of Accenture, a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, which employs a workforce of more than 246,000 people and serves clients in over 120 countries.
Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2011. However, despite its size and influence in the technology realm, it wisely sees the advantages of partnering with IaaS powerhouses, rather than building out their own costly infrastructure.
“They are in much a better position to do that and we’re going to let them do that and use those services on behalf of our clients.”
“We do an awful lot of SaaS implementation work. I think what we’re beginning to see is a great amount of interest in this whole application re-platforming and revitalization/optimization area. Clients are coming to us and saying, ‘That’s great, but I could build new applications on a cloud platform but I still get this giant legacy lump in the background, what do I do with that?”
“What we’re betting on and what we’re interested in understanding is how we expand the use of cloud services and the intended business models beyond infrastructure and how we move and how our clients move up the stack to optimize at a much broader level their application portfolio.”
And, Accenture appears to have stuck to its guns, forging a new “alliance” with Microsoft allowing Accenture to consume end-to-end public cloud solutions on the Windows Azure platform, which it said marks the first time clients can contract for design, delivery and ongoing management services of applications hosted in the cloud on Windows Azure from a single global technology services provider.
This allows Accenture the ability to sell, host and deliver Windows Azure services to clients around the world, including new infrastructure outsourcing options like Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) services (and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) as it becomes available) from WA.
“Accenture clients are now able to sign a single contract for the delivery and running of cloud services on Windows Azure to receive one-stop provisioning and monitoring through Accenture,” said Accenture.
“The goal is to help make it quicker and easier to adopt the Windows Azure platform and drive benefits such as increased speed-to-market and agility, better collaboration across organizational boundaries, more modernized application portfolios, and a greater ability to manage variable demand capacity needs.”
Accenture has some of the largest numbers of certified Windows Azure professionals dedicated to Azure and claims to have spent more than 170,000 hours in developing projects, that combined, total 40 Windows Azure projects for clients in 2011.
By all accounts, this is a smart move by Accenture. The cost, time and dangers of building out your own private cloud infrastructure is a risky venture, diverting your valuable resources away from building new products or finding new customers.
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