Learn how SEEK, Australia’s number one employment marketplace, uses Apptio Cloudability to get Engineers and Finance speaking the same cloud cost language, turning what was one a fractured process with a lack of accountability into a collaborative and sustainable cloud cost management strategy.
Seek’s platform engineers adopted cloud quickly to support the business’s goals, solving for speed. It wasn’t long before their teams realized that they also needed a means to account for cloud costs. Across the organizations that were using cloud, there was a lack of cloud cost accountability, no cost visibility, and cumbersome processes.
The lack of accountability meant engineering teams were unaware of what reasonable cloud spend looked like, while others who paid attention to cost spent three to four days a month only addressing large outlying areas of spend. There were also cascading consequences: budget overruns had an impact on SEEK’s finances and resulted in hiring delays.
Instead of waiting 14 days after the end of the month to understand actual post-discount costs, they needed a way to get accurate costs throughout the month to get a more granular sense of their cloud spending.
SEEK needed a cloud cost management platform that would allow them to automate this work, reduce errors and to greatly improve visibility into cloud costs. They found that Apptio Cloudability provided them with near real-time costs, allowing SEEK’s finance teams to chargeback actual, fully-burdened cost to each of their teams using cloud services.
With Cloudability, SEEK gained a granular breakdown of their costs in real-time, with no need to wait for an Amazon Web Services (AWS) invoice at the end of each month to see their post-discount costs. The flexibility provided by Cloudability’s Business Mapping feature allowed them to allocate and chargeback cloud costs to multiple business units automatically. Being able to granularly understand where cloud costs are originating allowed SEEK’s teams to get a more realistic view on the ongoing costs of these business units.
Leveraging Cloudability APIs, SEEK has ensured their cost allocation configuration is kept consistent across all teams using continuous integration and deployment processes. By standardizing how AWS costs are categorized across the business, SEEK is able to ensure that all cloud cost data is able to be consumed, organized, explored by distributed teams in a consistent fashion.
SEEK used Cloudability to change the conversation about cloud – from being a driver of costs to a driver of innovation – by creating common ground for engineers and finance teams to monitor and adjust cloud spending. Before using Cloudability budgets, SEEK’s engineering teams were unaware of the spend that was increasing 40% each quarter as they lacked visibility into fully-burdened cloud costs in real-time. Native tooling was unable to incorporate the discounting associated with SEEK’s significant investment in Reserved Instances and Savings Plans in real-time, and so engineering teams were left in the dark on the true costs of their spend. In contrast, finance teams that did have visibility into the final bill were estimating and budgeting using the fully-burdened rate. This disconnect and underestimating of budget led to many difficult business conversations.
SEEK used Cloudability to set cloud budgets by specific teams and establish consistency on how costs were measured across both finance and engineering by using recommended retail pricing, rather than discounted pricing. Using this model enables teams to track spending against a budget based on quarterly cost profiles, in near real-time, and also allows for the receipt of automated notifications when budget overages are predicted by Cloudability. Within six months cost growth had stabilized, and this approach was rolled out further across the business.
“With Apptio Cloudability, teams can watch their budget lines. If cloud spend goes over, it’s fine if they know why. If they have no idea why, then that’s a problem.”
This increased visibility and consistency allows engineers to have informed dialog with finance teams on how cloud spend was growing, and what that meant to the bottom line of the business. They could now identify a cloud spend run rate and adjust their engineering practices to utilize that budget much more efficiently. This also allowed engineers to speak up and become much more accountable for the amount they spent. In the future, the ability to use cloud cost data and insight to inform who is accountable and how to operate more efficiently form part of the foundation of growing a sustainable FinOps practice.
Cloudability provides SEEK’s team with a common ground and language to understand cloud cost and utilization. SEEK uses this information and insight to empower its entire team to better utilize cloud. Engineers and finance teams can stay informed with easy-to-use dashboards and immediately get a sense of cloud cost health.
Informed teammates can leverage Cloudability to understand how they can reallocate cloud savings to higher value initiatives, while continuously improving the unit economics of cloud. This increased focus on how cloud costs are contributing to business value becomes a competitive advantage when it results in strategic discussions that positively affect the bottom line.
Access to this kind of cost optimization insight supports SEEK’s decentralized engineering culture, giving power and responsibilities to engineering teams. Engineers have a tool and dashboard to make better cloud cost decisions that lead to a collective, positive impact on the business. Finance teams look at the same data, knowing that decisions are being made with the budget in mind.
As AWS users for many years, SEEK’s teams know that Reserved Instance (RI) and Savings Plans (SP) are a strategic investment. They are aware that they need long-term portfolio strategy for them to yield the most savings. This is where a cloud cost management platform helps their teams use RIs as efficiently as possible.
“Using the Savings Plans and Reserved Instance Planner through Cloudability enables us to reduce waste, only buy RIs with 30% or more savings, and maintain a coverage level of 80% or above.”
A majority of these savings come from SPs and RIs managed under Cloudability’s Savings Plans and Reserved Instance Planner. The planner recommendations enable SEEK’s teams to keep to a policy of only purchasing RIs and SP’s that yield 30% or more savings. Cloudability’s Lifecycle Management feature allows their teams to maintain a coverage “waterline” of 80% or more.
As SEEK continues to grow and utilize even more enterprise-scale infrastructure on the cloud, RI coverage and portfolio maintenance is crucial. Using a cloud cost management platform like Cloudability is recommended to track cloud costs at scale.
SEEK’s engineers and finance teams now have a common cloud cost language, built upon Cloudability’s machine-learned analysis of over $11 billion in cloud spend over the last decade. These teams can access dashboards, reports, and automation to generate the right cloud cost and usage insights to continue running an efficient cloud infrastructure at scale.
Whether you’re just getting started in building better cloud cost visibility or need to improve efficiency with Savings Plans and Reserved Instance management, Cloudability can help. Get in touch today for a free trial or more information.