Accenture has been one of Oracle’s largest channel partners for much of the 30-year relationship between the companies. From back when Accenture was still Andersen Consulting, the two have joined forces to solve complex challenges for the world’s largest enterprises by implementing advanced technologies with a focus on business outcomes.
Both companies have gone through major cloud transformations over the last few years. As Oracle dedicated enormous resources to building a native cloud stack comprised of a comprehensive application suite and a rapidly emerging infrastructure business, Accenture leaned into cloud by scaling its professional services and go-to-market expertise to become a leader in both cloud applications services and infrastructure.
In the midst of that transformation, Phillip Hazen took over as global lead of Accenture’s Oracle practice in 2019.
According to Accenture, the migration to cloud is still in its infancy, which is why Accenture continues to invest heavily in the Oracle relationship. The company has put in place market development teams in every part of the world to drive joint pursuits at a scale it had never done before.
Those investments are paying off, allowing Accenture to build up the expertise and experience that has recently been applied to joint Oracle engagements for industry giants like Marriott International, Kaiser Permanente, McDonald’s and Ford Motor Company.
“Lots of very large clients are now moving at scale to Oracle SaaS, IaaS and platform services,” Hazen said.
It’s a trend Hazen expects will accelerate for several years. He outlined several reasons to be bullish on the combination of Oracle and Accenture as companies find themselves and their industries navigating the new normal of “compressed transformation.”
In years past, CIOs were the driving force behind technology purchases. But that’s changed in the post-pandemic era of compressed transformation in which the imperative of coping with rapid disruption has significantly hastened IT buying and implementation cycles.
CIOs will always play a major role in the decision and deployment process, but CEOs are extremely concerned these days about getting disrupted by adjacent industries or new competitors from within their own industries. They understand the need to modernize their digital core to stay competitive, according to Hazen.
CEOs want advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, IoT and other modern cloud technologies which they never previously scaled because of the constraints of their legacy environments.
“They see a business imperative to do it,” Hazen said. “Having a digital core really accelerates and unlocks that potential. Our clients get that but where they struggle is how. Where do I start?”
A common starting point in helping clients adopt cloud is migrating their existing applications and databases directly to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).
It’s important to remember the legacy-to-cloud journey is essentially a cost-saving measure—not a substantially transformative one delivering all the agility associated with cloud. But shifting legacy apps is a great onramp to the cloud for enterprises not yet ready to walk away from prior investments (and all the bespoke configurations they’ve made to them), Hazen said.
Accenture is among the world’s largest managers of Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JDEdwards and Siebel implementations.
“We have that big install base, which is all that legacy technology we run for our clients,” Hazen said.
Many clients are holding off on replacing those systems with Software-as-a-Service. At the same time, they want to be in the cloud, and they recognize that “obviously, Oracle runs better on Oracle. They’re optimized for that,” Hazen said.
Clients that make the decision to “lift-and-shift” to the cloud often take the cost savings they see from running their legacy workloads in OCI and re-invest them back into new modernization initiatives, Hazen said.
That then opens the doors to new opportunities—still largely untapped—to build net new applications on Oracle Cloud.
“Then you can have them build on OCI. Then you can use Platform Services on OCI to build out different analytics and blockchain scenarios and leverage inherent AI capabilities,” Hazen said.
While some Accenture clients prefer a measured approach to modernization, others want to dive right into their digital transformations to take advantage of a wave of innovation that’s revolutionizing how enterprises conduct business.
“A lot of clients we work with jointly want to adopt SaaS right away,” Hazen said. Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications Suite gives those clients confidence because of the constant innovation that comes with regular releases.
Those transformations typically start with Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM), he said.
And a second wave is following just behind. That one will drive large-scale adoption of other SaaS applications, including Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing (SCM), Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Oracle Advertising & Customer Experience (ACX).
To ride that second wave, vendors and partners will benefit from a focus on verticals—an organizing principle within Accenture for more than three decades.
For example, heavy manufacturing is on the cusp of digital transformation with modern supply chain and logistics solutions. But manufacturers have specific needs that demand vertical expertise from the vendor and the partner.
Hazen cites Accenture’s long history with Siebel and manufacturing expertise as a significant advantage. Siebel components running supply chain and manufacturing processes are so closely integrated with ERP systems, and have been so highly customized, very few manufacturers have begun the process of migrating those systems to the cloud.
“That’s still very complex, still everybody’s running it, that’s a huge opportunity for Oracle Cloud SCM and Oracle ACX,” Hazen said. Hazen believes Oracle and Accenture can uncover similar opportunities for businesses across nearly every vertical.
“That’s where we partner so well,” Hazen said. “We speak the language of industry, and we marry that with Oracle technology.”
Just about all Accenture clients power their mission-critical workloads with Oracle Database. Many of them are running those databases in conjunction with Oracle Applications. For those customers, OCI is an obvious choice for cloud migration. But there are also customers using Oracle Database to support applications from other vendors.
“The question for those clients becomes what do they do next?” Hazen said.
The answer is unique to every client, but the “bottom line” usually involves more than one cloud infrastructure provider. And “having that multi-cloud strategy opens up an opportunity for Oracle to get into clients from an applications perspective,” said Hazen.
The omnipresence of Oracle databases powering third-party applications not only makes room for Oracle to play a large role in multi-cloud transformations with products like OCI and Oracle Autonomous Database, but also creates opportunities for Oracle applications to challenge competing products that were used in the on-premises world.
To identify the infrastructure and application environments that will deliver the best business outcomes, Accenture evaluates the entire IT estate at the start of a cloud-transformation engagement, Hazen said.