6 Questions For Accenture's Cloud Computing Captain

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What's the next big services opportunity as it pertains to the cloud?

I think we'll see continuing demand in how to manage infrastructure better.

Personally I think that misses the point, because it's an old construct. By definition, in the cloud the infrastructure is abstracted. You don't really care about it and you don't want to care about it. What you really want to care about is the actual applications and services.

I think it's going to be about 'What do I do with my application portfolio?' I mentioned before this re-platforming and optimization opportunity. What do I do to simplify, make more flexible and significantly lower the cost of managing my legacy portfolio? What kinds of new applications are possible that I can rapidly deploy to support the business? The platform wars will continue and we'll probably see new entrants in that space.

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.

I'm personally interested in spending more time creating real business process utilities. There are some interesting things in the BPU space that we're doing. We have a thing called Premium Tech Services where essentially we can offload for the average provider or OEM who provides digital services to their clients a lot of their problematic call volume very rapidly at very low cost through the use of a shared platform and people. When you think about BPO for instance, you're generally talking about it taking six to nine months to do an RFP and another six to nine months to affect the transitions.

So somebody has an idea and if they're really good two years later they have a result. I'm interested in exploring opportunities where you have an idea on a Monday, you can look at it on a Tuesday, you can do some transaction mapping and determine where you think the value is and within a couple of weeks after that have it arrive in full production and actually be offloading work from your contact center, for instance. I think that's when it gets really interesting from a service provider perspective and from an enterprise perspective.

Interesting stuff is going to be if there are any industry utilities that are going to come out of this that are driven by this phenomenon.

Are there applications and functions that would have previously been put into the too-hard pile that because of the economics and architecture of the cloud -- having everyone be able to access applications via the Internet and being able to run very large scale applications with good performance and so on? Are we going to create utilities that we didn't see before? Or extend certain functions and services to geographies or industry segments that were previously deemed too hard? Can I do mobile banking in Asia where they only have mobile phones? Because suddenly it doesn't cost me that $3 to manufacture a transaction, it costs me 3 cents. What about electronic health records? Does this publicly available infrastructure suddenly make it easier to contemplate a certain nationally consistent, or globally consistent, electronic health record?

A lot of people are thinking about that. Those are kinds of things too that certainly are going to be of interest to us going forward because we would like to be right in the middle of those industry plays.


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