The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for cloud computing around the globe, with the market expected to grow 6.3% in 2020 to total $257.9 billion, up from $242.7 billion last year.
As a result, companies are fast-tracking their cloud capabilities, with a recent survey showing that 84% of companies have a multi-cloud strategy. Now Accenture has announced the formation of Accenture Cloud First, a new multi-service group of 70,000 cloud professionals that will help clients become “cloud first” businesses and accelerate their digital transformation.
“COVID-19 has created a new inflection point that requires every company to dramatically accelerate the move to the cloud as a foundation for digital transformation to build the resilience, new experiences and products, trust, speed and structural cost reduction that the ongoing health, economic and societal crisis demands — and that a better future for all requires,” said Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer of Accenture.
The company will make a $3 billion investment over three years in Accenture Cloud First, with the funds being used towards continuing to advance industry roadmaps, data models, and solutions; cloud AI data and AI architectures; integrated full-stack infrastructure and applications capabilities; cloud tools, assets, and automation; and research and development.
The announcement comes after Accenture recently held a virtual internal staff meeting, explaining that the company identified “real areas of efficiencies,” which could lead to the company laying off 5%—or around 25,000—of its global workforce. Accenture had already started slashing costs by decreasing travel, reducing contractor numbers, and pausing recruitment but those strategies were not enough to prevent layoffs. Accenture’s revenue streams have suffered as a result of the pandemic. Although the company’s revenue grew by 1.3%, it was well below expectations and the firm reduced its forecast for the fiscal year from 6% to 8%, to 3% to 6%.
Despite these challenges, the company has also been finding other ways to boost business, including a recent strategic investment in InCountry, a data residency-as-a-service platform provider that allows enterprises and software-as-a-service companies to ensure their company and customer data is used in compliance with the data residency regulations of more than 90 countries.