Cloud computing can quickly become a double-edged sword. Cloud services are so easy to scale that they can become unwieldy, with IT staff lacking the visibility and structure to manage their cloud environments effectively. Frequently, we find that organizations are overprovisioned, paying for more than they need. In some cases, they have idle resources, often for storage, which also represent unnecessary costs; in others, they may be unaware of security vulnerabilities, such as open ports.
When organizations reach this point, they often engage a partner to optimize instances, identify unused resources and regain control from cost and security perspectives. We offer this kind of support through our Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure Optimization assessments. Our goal is to enable customers to create more structure around the cloud so that they can strengthen monitoring and management of these resources.
Organizations often initiate an optimization assessment because they want to save money on cloud services. But much of the time, when we peel back the layers of the onion, they also want guidance on leveraging the cloud to launch a new revenue stream or optimize an existing one. That’s when our assessments take a more strategic, outcomes-based approach — finding ways to reduce costs while also positioning the organization to pursue broader initiatives.
Business Use Cases Shape a Custom Cloud Assessment
Cost optimization starts with a business use case. One example we’ve seen repeatedly in the past year has been a desire to expand e-commerce for a new product or service — one that can mitigate some of the revenue gaps related to the pandemic. Instead of investing in a larger data center footprint, companies want to develop products and services for a digital-first environment that are more agile and less hardware-dependent.
As they do so, a public cloud is often the best option. It can scale quickly to a large customer base, facilitate application development, enhance the user experience and provide a better platform for sales (especially remote sales teams). Companies seeking to use the cloud in new ways often find that an optimization assessment can position them for success, identifying opportunities to establish a governance model and other components of a strong foundation.
In other cases, organizations use an assessment to support a transition to this new way of consuming IT resources. For business leaders and procurement departments, cloud billing and budgeting can be a significant shift. It doesn’t help that invoices for cloud environments can be both confusing and hard to connect to specific departments or lines of business. Often, organizations need support to bring visibility and clarity to these processes.
Better Control of the Cloud Reduces Costs and Improves Security
Our assessment takes a two-pronged approach. The quantitative portion analyzes data in the cloud environment with the goal of optimizing services and eliminating unnecessary resources. In the qualitative piece, we use interviews, best practices and our extensive cloud experience to develop insights and recommendations.
Nearly always, we find ways for customers to cut costs by decommissioning resources that are not needed or have grown in unintended ways. Once they structure their environments more effectively, they’ll have the control and visibility that allows them to leverage the cloud as intended: to drive business objectives forward.