Accenture Boosts AWS Capabilities To Include Applied Intelligence, Data Analytics, Cloud-Native Offerings

Accenture is deepening its relationship with Amazon Web Services through the launch of new solutions groups aimed at driving creative development around the public cloud platform's broad spectrum of services.

With AWS re:Invent in full swing this week, the Dublin, Ireland-based consulting giant is unveiling applied intelligence, cloud-native development and data centricity and analytics offerings through its dedicated Accenture AWS Business Group, which launched in October 2015. The push comes as Accenture, No. 2 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, has seen cloud migration and adoption take off at the enterprise level.

"Clients are now asking, 'How can we innovate and do more on the platform?' This is how we're responding to our clients," Chris Scott, managing director of technology architecture at Accenture, told CRN. "It's that focus on key innovation and AI, applied intelligence, using the Alexa platform and all the different services around AWS, to offer those to our clients and use the full breadth of the platform, rather than just moving workloads to AWS."

[Related: Accenture CEO: We've Moved Half Our Business To Digital, Cloud and Security In Four Years ]

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Scott, who leads Accenture's AWS practice in North America, said that as more clients are realizing the value of moving workloads to the cloud and getting past concerns around single-vendor commitment, the conversation has shifted toward greenfield opportunities and emerging technologies. A financial services client that previously conducted basic error reporting around data acquisition, for instance, might be interested in leveraging artificial intelligence to enhance that process.

"We've surpassed the tipping point. The innovation clients are looking to do on the platform has increased so much. Two or three years ago, [Iinfrastructure-as-a-Service] was still a big part of client environments," Scott said.

In addition to relying more on emerging capabilities, Accenture is making significant investments in the testing and development of new use cases for them through its Liquid Studio innovation centers, staffed by solutions architects from both Accenture and AWS. One product of that program came from the London location, which recently completed a pilot elder-care solution that leverages AI to assist users with health-related activities.

"It allows the elderly to go to a portal, log their information in that portal and it looks for trends in there," Scott said. "Have they taken their medication? Are they entering information that's different? Are there signs or issues in terms of their care? We apply analytics and AI to solutions like that."

The data centricity and analytics offering continues to be a key focus for Accenture, he added, given the vast amounts of data being pumped into AWS by the growing Internet of Things industry.

The cloud-native development capabilities center around what Scott called the increasing popularity of Amazon services, including Lambda server-less computing and the Connect contact center, among enterprise clients. The server-less Accenture Cloud Platform, which saw the release of its 4.0 update earlier this year, is built in part of Lambda and designed to deliver analytics and automation applications to those customers.

As part of the announcement, Accenture has also formally established a full-stack software engineering practice around AWS, which features 1,400 certified consultants. The Accenture AWS Business Group as a whole has already completed more than 15,000 migrations, according to Scott.

"We've seen pretty explosive growth over the year, both in terms of skill sets developed and the change in direction toward this innovation. From the size and scale, it gives you a pretty good idea of where we've come from over the last few years," he said.

The blockbuster AWS-VMware partnership announcement, which promises to bring VMware's private cloud to the platform, looms ahead as something of an unknown for several partners. Scott, for his part, believes VMware Cloud on AWS will support public cloud adoption and encourage clients to leverage more services and technology on the platform.

"I've thought about that a lot," he said. "Does that service detract from AWS? Does it build into AWS? When clients dip their toe into the water, they get excited. I see that partnership as a great opportunity to dip the toe into the water so much faster. We see clients look into case studies around disaster recovery, for instance, and it's so much easier with the VMware solution on AWS."