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Companies that view cloud as aid to innovation have competitive advantage — Accenture

The latest report titled “Ever-ready for Every Opportunity: How to Unleash Competitiveness on the Cloud Continuum,” from Accenture reveals how organizations see and use their cloud advantage as a tool for innovation. The firm tags organizations that treat the cloud as an operating model for innovation as Continuum Competitors.

On the other hand, companies that view cloud migration as a short-term, cost-savings venture can actually put organizations at a competitive disadvantage because they fail to see and utilize the potential use of the technology to innovate.

Accenture conducted the survey, participated in by nearly 4,000 C-suite executives in late 2020 and early 2021 when most companies have already accelerated their digital transformation. The executives come from information technology (IT) and non-IT roles, across 25 countries and 16 industries.

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Continuum Competitors (about 12-15% of respondents, depending on region) that invested in the cloud technology are more likely to achieve “substantial gains” as they continue to leverage the cloud in their business operations, future-proofing their business, in the process.

One-time cloud migration

“Most organizations today deploy some mix of public, private, and edge clouds, with little integration between them,” said Karthik Narain, global lead of Accenture Cloud First. “As a result, innovation, data and best practices achieved in one part of the organization aren’t benefitting others — thereby impeding value realization. However, a small percentage of organizations are positioning themselves to reap the greatest value from the cloud by viewing the cloud as a continuum of technologies that span different locations and types of ownership, dynamically supported by cloud-first 5G and software-defined networks to support the ever-changing needs of their business.”

Organizations that invest in the cloud as a one-time migration to a static destination — essentially as a cheaper, more efficient data center — are missing out. A lot.

“A company’s future competitiveness hinges on choosing the right type of cloud for the right applications and cloud-based services — such as artificial intelligence, smart contact centers, edge computing, robotic computing, extended reality and others — from across the continuum and implementing the advanced practices needed to leverage those technologies,” Narain said. “By using cloud-first strategies, companies can build better customer experiences, smarter business processes, and more sustainable products.”

Cloud advantage

The survey finds that Continuum Competitors are 2x or 3x more likely to innovate, automate and re-engineer knowledge work. They are also the ones who actually achieve cost reduction than organizations focused mainly on data migration.

Accenture advises organizations to look beyond the superficial benefits of the cloud and instead explore its many use cases. It is important to look at it as a multi-pronged tool, with each having many other advantages that will benefit organizations in terms of business and operational efficiency as well as market growth and eventually, revenue.