Atos OneCloud brings a €2bn shakeup to the cloud market

This week, Atos announced the launch of its OneCloud initiative which unites assets and resources from across the business behind one goal: helping enterprises speed up their cloud migrations. The move comes at a crucial period for the cloud services market, which continues to benefit from healthy growth in demand, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A major drawback, however, is that at the same pace the market has become more confused and cluttered, and CIOs have a harder time balancing the need to service necessary legacy infrastructure while bringing in new technologies from the rapidly evolving landscape. 

The solution, as far as Atos is concerned, is to create a single window to access the full suite of infrastructure and cloud capabilities the firm brings to the market. Stretching from public cloud migration to bare metal servers. While setting up a single point of contact to tap into a provider’s full suite of services isn’t a revelation in itself, it does help accentuate a unique capability Atos brings to the market. Most of the firm’s competitors have backed out of core infrastructure work, instead preferring to tap into the lucrative and rapidly growing public cloud market. Atos, on the other hand, has a presence across the entire infrastructure value chain. So helping enterprises access this and select the right building blocks for their enterprise makes a tremendous amount of sense. 

An important part of this approach is facilitating access to the mature partner ecosystem Atos brings in to support engagements. And while partnerships with the hyperscale firms are ubiquitous in the service provider community now, Atos does have a unique angle. The firm was one of the first to build a strong alliance with Google and continues to cite innovations and experiments originated from their close partnership. It also has alliances with a raft of other players too - including Amazon Web Services, Dell Technologies (including Dell EMC and VMware), IBM - Red Hat, Microsoft Azure, SAP, ServiceNow and Salesforce. Indeed, at the time of the announcement, a range of executives and leaders from the cloud giants endorsed Atos’ initiative, helping it to champion its position as a vendor-agnostic advisor to businesses, that cab bring in the right partners and capabilities for their unique environment. 

Atos also has ties to a plethora of smaller European players, enabling the firm to leverage an unrivalled focus on sovereignty and compliance concerns cited by clients in the region. To this end, the initiative will undoubtedly find popularity in Europe, where the firm co-founded the GAIA-X Foundation to help build a secure and transparent European data and cloud framework, and evolve ongoing conversations around data and digital sovereignty. 

Another area where Atos has managed to sense the zeitgeist is through its focus on sustainability. One of the initiatives core offerings is a decarbonisation pledge – guaranteeing year-on-year carbon footprint reduction across a client’s infrastructure and applications estate. Supporting this is ongoing work from the firm’s Decarbonization Centre of Excellence. 

From an industry perspective, the OneCloud initiative seeks to bring highly-verticalized capabilities that cut to the core of specific challenges, supported by industry-specific consultancy capabilities. Again, while this approach isn’t unique in itself, it does pool industry, business, and technology expertise together – and consultants are now armed with a well-stocked arsenal of cloud capabilities to bring to engagements. Atos also announced that enterprises can benefit from a personalized “Your Atos OneCloud Plan", built from customized Cloud business cases, an industry-specific Cloud reference architecture and a roadmap for applications, data, and infrastructure modernization. 

To fuel this investment, Atos has set aside €2bn over five years which will initially be spent on securing the talent necessary to meet the insatiable enterprise appetite for cloud services. Upskilling existing staff, boosting cloud certifications, and bringing in fresh talent through the firm’s graduate scheme are all on the menu as it scales up. 

The announcement from Atos heralds a potential shake-up for the cloud services market. However, many of the aspects of the initiative in isolation aren’t unique to Atos. Simplifying portfolios to help clients speed up meantime-to-value on cloud transformation projects is an area where many of the firm’s competitors are dedicating resources and mindshare. Similarly, pooling resources from across the business and focusing efforts on tackling industry-specific challenges is an area of focus across the services industry. The value, however, comes from packaging all of these aspects together in a single endeavour. Crucially, the investment programme will help Atos tackle one of the biggest challenges in the space: harnessing fresh cloud talent. Which combined with the amalgamation of existing skills, expertise, and capabilities from across Atos into a one-stop-shop is crucial when addressing enterprise demand.