Accenture helps Leonardo with move to cloud

25 April 2023 3 min. read
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Military and security services provider Leonardo has migrated its UK services to a ‘backbone’ located on the cloud. The move was supported by professionals from Microsoft, and IT consultancy Accenture.

Leonardo designs, develops, produces, maintains and upgrades commercial, military and military training aircraft, as well as producing aerostructures. The global firm also develops and integrates systems for the air and sea traffic management and the control and protection of land and sea borders. With annual revenues of more than €14 billion, it works with military and security clients in the UK, US, Italy, Poland and Israel.

As the firm looks to cut development costs, improve efficiency and reduce delivery times for its UK clients, Leonardo’s British wing has opted to move its key applications onto a secure cloud server. According to a release from the firm, the migration will mean its UK-based scientists and engineers will gain secure access to a remotely-accessible ‘digital backbone’, enabling closer collaboration with customers and other partners. In the future, Leonardo will also be able to use this to exploit the huge amount of data it collects in the form of new products and services.

Accenture helps Leonardo with move to cloud

Gareth Hetheridge, Director Digital and IT, Leonardo UK, said, “With the introduction of the Leonardo digital backbone, employees, partners and customers can now securely access relevant data and applications anytime, anywhere. This will be vital as industry moves to a model of defence contracting where companies and customers work more closely together than ever before, despite being physically located around the country and internationally. Our close partnership with Microsoft UK and Accenture has allowed us to adopt this disruptive technology at pace and we’re very proud to be flying the flag for bringing the benefits of the cloud to the UK defence industry.”

Leonardo is best known in the UK for its Yeovil facility which has been manufacturing helicopters for 80 years – supplying the UK's only end-to-end rotary wing capability – as well as its onshore production of advanced electronics for the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fleet. The firm is investing around £100 million this year in the UK in its ongoing enablers strategy, including the Future Factory transformation project.

Cloud technology will support the delivery of collaborative modern defence projects such as the Global Combat Air Programme, under which Leonardo is at the heart of an international effort to develop a 6th generation combat system. The firm’s shift to cloud capabilities was overseen by a collaboration between consultants from Accenture, and technology giant Microsoft, which supplies the Azure platform Leonardo will now use.

Aaron Neil, Director Defence & Secure Markets, Microsoft UK, noted, “Over the last year we have worked with Leonardo UK to better understand its digital transformation aspirations and priorities. We are delighted to support Leonardo's migration to Azure, enabling highly secure access to the cloud; this announcement is testament to our close partnership and an exciting milestone in delivering advanced technology to accelerate capability delivery for UK Defence.”

With the Azure platform, Leonardo aims to benefit from the cloud while enabling enhanced security. However, while the cloud has become increasingly prevalent over the last few years, security concerns have previously prevented the UK’s defence industry from fully benefitting from cloud technology – something that the experts from Accenture played an important role in navigating.

Louisa Hainsworth, Managing Director, Accenture’s Microsoft Business Group Lead in UKI, concluded, “We are helping Leonardo break barriers in the defence industry with the benefits of a cloud-first environment. Their commitment to continuous reinvention, learning new skills and embracing new technologies will enable Leonardo to deliver modern defence capabilities at speed.”