Announced earlier this year, Accenture Cloud Platform allows large organisations to manage public and private cloud services "through a single pane of glass," according to Accenture Australia cloud computing lead, Alison Cairns (pictured).
"Our clients have got used to working with providers on genuine utility pricing," Cairns said, but in addition to managing workloads they need to take care of governance (e.g., data sovereignty) and security (e.g., patching the software running on IaaS) issues.
There is also the issue of contract management: if three departments or divisions all have separate contracts with a provider, the organisation may well be paying more than it needs to.
While cloud gives organisations the freedom to innovate and be agile, a common problem is that they think they are using three or four providers, but in reality the number may be closer to 20.
It is preconfigured for "a list of services as long as your arm" including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, NTT Communications, and Accenture Private Cloud. Clients may bring their existing contracts onto the platform (thanks to Accenture's arrangements with the providers) or subscribe through Accenture's service catalogue.
The service itself is offered on a true utility basis, she said.
Accenture Cloud Platform was developed in the US and India, and has been offered to clients in US and the UK for around three years. It was introduced to Australia in mid-2014 in response to certain major cloud players opening onshore data centres.
Although Cairns did not mention any names, it seems likely that this was a veiled reference to Amazon and Microsoft.
"The uptake of Accenture Cloud Platform has been delightful," she said, explaining that organisations need a cost-effective entry point to allow innovation, yet if that innovation proves successful they need to expand rapidly at a known price and with appropriate governance, security and data sovereignty.
So development and testing with mocked-up data sets might take place on low-cost, low-security servers located overseas, with production workloads sent to onshore data centres that meet the organisation's and any legally-mandated standards.
Customers are coming from a wide range of industries, said Cairns, including energy, communications, media, technology, financial services, health, logistics, retail and public sector.
Some of them are international companies, and of those, some choose to manage their systems globally and others on a country-by-country basis.
Accenture Cloud Platform and the underlying cloud services give clients "the freedom to be agile and the freedom to fail quietly," she said. It also provides "significant" savings by simplifying the management of cloud systems.
Over time, clients may choose to move more applications into the cloud, but Accenture can also help them manage their internal legacy infrastructure from Accenture Cloud Platform, said Cairns.