Accenture: Calls for a cloud-first approach from CEOs

By Janet Brice
Migration to the public cloud can cut CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road, reports Accenture...

Business leaders need to prioritise a “cloud first” approach to allow their companies to become more sustainable and discover new sources of innovation and growth, reports Accenture.

A focused approach on cloud migration can reduce global carbon (CO2) emissions, drive greater circularity and result in more sustainable products and services, outlines the paper entitled, The green behind the cloud.

According to Accenture, the sustainable cloud journey involves different levels of ambition, “the greater the ambition, the greater the benefits”. Migrations to the public cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road.

A public cloud is computing services provided by third parties and offered over the public Internet. They are available for purchase on-demand.

“Companies have historically driven financial, security, and agility benefits through cloud, but sustainability is becoming an imperative,” reveals the report.

A total of 44% of CEOs in the United Nations Global Compact - Accenture Strategy CEO Study on Sustainability see a net-zero future for their company in the next 10 years.

Drivers like greater workload flexibility, better server utilisation rates, and more energy-efficient infrastructure all make public clouds more cost efficient than enterprise-owned data centres.

Cloud migrations can unlock:

  • Clean energy transitions enabled by cloud-based geographic analyses 
  • Material waste reductions from better data insights
  • Targeted medical Research & Development (R&D)

1. Select with purpose

The first step is to choose a carbon-thoughtful provider. Cloud operators set different corporate commitments towards sustainability, which in turn determine how they plan, build, power, operate, and retire their data centres.

2. Build with ambition

The journey toward a sustainable cloud involves three ambition levels: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) without major design, sustainable software engineering practices and application optimisation for fabric of the cloud. IaaS migrations involve migrating applications from enterprise owned to cloud without major redesigns of applications or workflows.

3. Innovate further

Companies can unlock greater financial, societal and environmental benefits through cloud-based operations and sustainable products and services.

Cloud providers have unique scale and financial incentives and can work with stakeholders in adopting the circular economy when it comes to hardware. Accenture estimates that enterprise technology manufacturers can capture an additional 16% of operating profit by designing products for longevity, modularity and circularity. 

Accenture points out companies that choose their cloud journey wisely will gain “gain unprecedented levels of innovation leading to both a greener planet and a greener balance sheet.

“At Accenture, we practice what we preach: Today we run a full 95% of our applications on the cloud. The migration led to $14.5 million in benefits after the third year. Another $3 million in annualised costs were saved by right-sizing service consumption.”

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