Succeeding on the cloud means matching tech needs to business needs — which is not an easily accomplished task. It’s a complex journey with several distinct phases, each of which affect your business differently.
Optimizing growing costs and usage becomes exponentially more complex as clouds increase in scale. Focusing only on the technical aspects of a cloud migration and ignoring the financial ones can lead to unwanted surprises once your business needs to justify the costs of operating on the cloud. Understanding the nuances and critical steps of this process and demonstrating the ROI to the business is something we’ve been helping customers do for over six years.
Companies cannot expect to build, scale and succeed on the cloud with cloud providers’ default tools alone. In the process of helping businesses like Uber, Seek and Atlassian save and scale efficiently, we’ve defined the cloud journey and broken it up into three distinct phases. We’ll walk you through each part of the journey so you can be sure you’re doing it right and reaping the benefits that scaling on the cloud can provide.
The cloud journey isn’t simple, but understanding the characteristics of each phase is a great way to start.
Phase 1: Deploy, Then Get “The Big Picture” When it Comes to Your Usage
Of course you want the limitless scaling and speed that the cloud can offer, but you also need predictability and efficiency for your business. With more and more cloud service providers offering more and more options, the cloud is only getting more complex. You need to be able to have a single view into all of your cloud service cost and usage trends at once.
Managing the financial impact of cloud is a big data problem. With tens of thousands of options and permutations changing all the time, and billions of data points accumulated every month, you need advanced big data analytics to get visibility into your cloud spend. This kind of solution isn’t typically part of the everyday enterprise tech stack (you’ll want a proven cloud optimization platform like Cloudability).
During this phase of the cloud journey, it is essential that you get an accurate picture of exactly what cloud resources your business is using. This may sound simple, but for one large UK retailer, it was enough to stop them in the tracks of their planned cloud migration. They had completely halted cloud migration initiatives because they had no visibility on spend. Once they partnered with Cloudability they gained the needed visibility and confidence to proceed with their migrations and have reaped financial benefits in the process.
This level of visibility starts with integrating and consolidating all cloud spend under one account (or as few accounts as possible). From here you can achieve on-demand visibility into cloud billing to know what’s happening and the impact in real time. We even offer role-based visibility, which can give engineers, technology leaders and finance teams custom visibility and personalized views into cloud data to empower the best choices (but we’ll get to that in Phase Three).
Phase Two: Optimize and Free Up Your Time with Programmatic, Data-Backed Solutions
Once your teams have an accurate picture of your company’s usage, it’s time to put that data to work for your business, and begin optimizing and/or automating some core functions of your cloud infrastructure. Remember, optimization is not a one time event, it must be thought of as an ongoing process; Your number of users change, new instances are spun up, existing instances and services are no longer used. Your cloud needs to adjust on all fronts (computing, databasing, storage and other services) to keep up.
One customer of ours decided to give our optimization methods (this includes exercises like cloud resource rightsizing) a try and ended up saving $10K from just storage alone. Another large, consumer-facing SaaS company with big data needs saved nearly $10k per day through Cloudability RDS RI recommendations.
The opportunities for scaling your business on a lean cloud are unlimited, as long as you have the right cloud optimization platform to make holistic resource optimizing decisions along the way. Cloudability helps customers optimize by ingesting multiple data feeds, in close to real time, to make actionable recommendations that lead to more efficient use of resources and higher overall return from your cloud investment.
Phase Three: Democratize and Empower Your Teams to Make Important Decisions Confidently
Companies go to the cloud to be able to move fast and compete — but they also need to be able to hold teams and people accountable. Is the latest feature you launched a win? How much money is a new customer acquisition truly costing you? Are you making a profit from your new mobile applications?
Having the right metrics will let your teams tell the best possible cloud ROI story or business case. Engineering teams can move confidently and focus on the next big thing. The right metrics and views demystify cloud spend for non-technical teams, revealing the ROI on every dollar in the cloud. This empowers all teams to confidently plan, knowing they have all of the essential information they need, right at their fingertips
Having the right automated efficiency tools in place lets your engineering teams focus on building the next big thing. They can put their time towards R&D, test and launch confidently with finance teams knowing how, where and why every dollar on the cloud is spent (and knowing the ROI as well!).
Business leaders and executives can understand the costs of the cloud in ways that make sense to them. Having this kind of transparency removes any kind of “black box” around cloud spend and encourages strategic dialog and thinking around growing a cloud-based business at scale. This is a great way to set the way for empowered teams who can confidently plan, knowing they have all of the essential information they need, right at their fingertips.
Start Your Journey
If you want help launching your cloud financial analysis, or would like to explore the possibility of outsourcing the financial optimization while your cloud migration is in progress, please get in touch with us today.