The next iteration of hybrid cloud, the “intelligent business cloud,” will soon let businesses connect all of the capabilities required to outperform in a digital world. But today, even though more and more companies are leveraging the cloud in their bids to become agile, digital businesses in an evolving and “New IT” landscape, most are not getting all they need—or could get—from the cloud.

What’s typical of cloud adoption today?

In a survey among C-level business leaders and IT decision makers,1 nearly three quarters of those polled concur that adopting a hybrid cloud solution will give their organizations an edge. Specifically:

  • More than one-third of respondents (39 percent) indicate that customization and flexibility were advantages of hybrid cloud over public-only cloud
  • Twenty-nine percent indicated improved user experience as a significant advantage of hybrid cloud over public-only models
  • Cost competitivity, scalability and increased speed to market as clear advantages of hybrid cloud over onsite data centers

And as security concerns get more and more public attention, business leaders realize that multi-tenant clouds may be even more secure because a particular company or specific data set is more difficult to target than in an on-site data center.

With improvements in security and privacy over the last three years, hybrid cloud is poised to move from hype to reality, offering companies a competitive advantage that better positions their organizations to grow in the future.

We also see a strengthening pattern of technology adoption among enterprises, driven by C-level executives. According to the Avanade survey, executives (who are outside of IT), manage up to 37 percent of technology budgets and they aren’t concerned with controlling technology use or managing their own personal technologies.2 They are, however, focused on championing select new technologies, which they believe offer a competitive advantage and help their organization focus on issues that are core to growing the business and improving the customer experience.3 They too are selecting public cloud- based solutions.

However, the fact is that for most companies in most industries, cloud has created nearly as many complications as it has provided solutions. Today, organizations have to contend with a blizzard of separate cloud accounts in addition to legacy mainframes, distributed computing and virtual computing environments.

Yet, few IT leadership teams can say for sure what their organizations spend on cloud, or why—largely because more and more of that spend is outside their control, authorized by business teams. Nor are there truly automated processes to move application workloads easily among those instances of cloud. Moreover, IT leaders and their business colleagues struggle to cope with the myriad of security and privacy issues that continue to complicate cloud.

The situation that confronts IT leaders today is not dissimilar to what they faced in the “best of breed” era: a profusion of tools that, while excelling at the tasks for which they were designed, do not readily work together.

The promise of cloud innovation

The history of cloud has been one of discrete offerings that solve parts of the problem. For IT leaders, this is like running a parcel service where the warehouse-to-door truck delivery and air-freight operations are exemplary, but the hand-off from truck to airport distribution center is haphazard and done manually.

Intelligent business cloud 1

What’s needed is cohesion, where hand-off from truck to airport is as superb as the truck and air freight operations. The entire operation is seamless and automated.

Intelligent business cloud 2

Rethinking the fundamentals of hybrid cloud

Perspectives are needed to crystallize the “Journey to Cloud” roadmap, and the “Journey in the Cloud,” with industrialized but customized cloud orchestration and operating models to reduce operational costs. The survey reports that even those companies with a hybrid cloud strategy don’t have defined steps for implementing cloud-native applications (73 percent), application migration (64 percent) or a cloud management platform (63 percent).4 The fact is, the hybrid cloud is still short of “enterprise grade.”

To sum up, there is a clear opportunity for financial services enterprises to get more from cloud. By refining their vision and moving to a managed cloud environment they can connects all the various components of the enterprise into one analytics-based platform, so that the long-held promise of cloud will become a reality.

In my next post, I will discuss Accenture’s vision of the cloud-driven digital business.

In the meantime, to learn more, download the report: Realizing the potential of the intelligent business cloud.



  1. “Global Study: Hybrid Cloud – From Hype to Reality,” Avanade, 2014. Access at:
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid

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