Accenture Talks Cloud and Windows Azure

Accenture Talks Cloud and Windows Azure

While boutique and specialty integrators may operate on the bleeding edge at times, the larger consulting houses typically don’t. That mindset makes Accenture’s interest in cloud computing notable. If a company with a heritage in the buttoned-down world of “Big Eight” management consulting backs the cloud, it’s a fairly safe bet the technology has entered the mainstream. Here's why.

“You go through the hype phases on a lot of this stuff, but this cloud stuff is real,” said Bill Green, Accenture’s chairman and chief executive officer, during the company’s recent analysts’ call.

Green acknowledged the complexities of the cloud, but added that clients take the technology seriously. He said Accenture has dozens of early-stage projects underway. And Accenture has also developed a so-called Accenture Cloud Computing Accelerator service.

“I think that as the technology get better and as the cost profiles get understood and as a few pioneers get out there, this thing is going to be a bona fide technology wave.”

Much of Accenture’s cloud work appears to be in preparing clients for adoption. The company, for example, offers a cloud computing accelerator service that aims to help customers identify business applications that can be migrated to the cloud and, generally, suss out the risks and opportunities of cloud computing.

In addition, Accenture partners with Avanade (an Accenture/Microsoft joint venture) to provide cloud computing solutions on Windows Azure Platform.

The exploratory cloud projects are boosting Accenture’s consulting business. Green told analysts that the company’s technology consulting business is “doing gangbusters as people try to sort out where they are infrastructure wise, where they are as it relates to ultimately moving to the cloud...”

Accenture reported $6.52 billion in new bookings for the company’s second fiscal quarter ended February 28. Consulting bookings were a bit more than half of that amount. Company executives point to booking as a sign of returning demand; Accenture’s revenue dropped 2 percent in the quarter.

Eugene Zakharov, senior analyst, professional services at Technology Business Research Inc., a market research and consulting firm, wrote in a research note that Accenture may be poised to resume growth, based on its “strong signings” in Q2.

“Overall, it seems Accenture turned the corner and found solid ground with its value proposition and its old and new offerings, such cloud, virtualization, business intelligence or security,” Zakharov reported.

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