Accenture on Enterprise Cloud Computing

Accenture has been relatively quiet the last 12 months on the subject of Cloud Computing….there's been relatively little from them on this important disruptive trend.   Searching their website, you really can't find much on the topic.  However, I see they have just published a brief on the topic titled  What the Enterprise Needs To Know About Cloud Computing .  The report is fairly basic, providing an overview of the trends, key drivers and inhibitors, along with some recommendations to CIOs. 

Here are some takeaways from the Accenture brief:

  • Accenture's definition of Cloud computing:  "the dynamic provisioning of IT capabilities (hardware, software or services) from third parties over a network"
  • Five Adoption Drivers: 
    1. Maturation of the Internet as an IT platform
    2. Virtualization
    3. Hardware commoditization
    4. Standardization
    5. Open source software
  • Five Obstacles
    1. Security in a shared third-party environment
    2. Data location, compliance and integration issues
    3. Lack of Service-level guarantees
    4. Legacy systems not tied in yet
    5. Procurement not ready for cloud computing
  • Three Steps CIOs should take:
    1. Use the cloud for the right jobs. Accenture recommends public clouds like Amazon EC2 as an inexpensive and flexible alternative.  It says it EC2 and those like it are mature enough for non-business-critical projects including research and development and software development and testing.  Accenture also says that the EC2 and like public clouds are also well suited for computation-intensive jobs such as data cleansing, data mining, risk modeling, optimization and simulation.
    2. Target the right users for cloud applications. Accenture says to switch some workers to lower-cost, cloud-based solutions based on the type of work they do.  It says to consider contact centers and offshore locations.
    3. Take small steps toward an internal cloud.  Accenture says that CIOs should continue to focus on virtualization and datacenter consolidation initiatives and that these initiatives will eventually lead to internal cloud.

For the full brief, download What the Enterprise Needs To Know About Cloud Computing  

My take is that in 2009 we will see increased focus on private enterprise clouds.  This is a perfect time for IT departments to experiment with the cloud service delivery model.  The eventual end of the financial crisis and recession could be a significant lever in the adoption of Cloud Computing.   One of the major benefits of cloud is the agility it offers.  Application development and system provisioning can happen much faster with a cloud infrastructure, allowing business to deploy new capability faster than ever before.  As the recession ends and growth picks up, the companies with the fastest response to the reappearance of market opportunities will be the ones to benefit most—and they are likely to be the ones that are already experienced in deploying and exploiting Cloud solutions.