Who’s in control of cloud spend in your organisation? And how deep is their understanding of those cloud expenses?
While the cloud may streamline complex operations and drive efficiency, the management of cloud assets themselves needs to be controlled carefully and kept on a tight leash.
In Capita’s consulting work, we prioritise visibility of cloud assets for good reason. Cloud is an evolving suite of technology tools and, as we implement a solution, we need to consider the end-to-end client lifecycle. This means building cloud capabilities that integrate full visibility of all cloud assets and where these costs are going. Whether it’s a dashboard or service management toolkit, decision makers in the business need a clear, simple means to understand what is going on in real-time. This is not only an important imperative on behalf of the consultant, but it gives clients comfort of cloud spending, and the confidence to free up more investment.
There is also the matter of skills distribution in the business. By having full sight of cloud assets and clear understanding of how a solution has been defined, consultants and business leaders can put skills in the right places and track the progress and changes as the solution progresses and evolves. Drilling down to the detail in this way can unlock unexpected and vast savings. As an example, we worked with a large international consultancy to implement a small change to their cloud storage configuration, which resulted in a drastic reduction in costs overnight.
Ultimately, it’s about transparency of costs. The reasons for this run deeper than may be expected, as we discover through the topic of cloud economics. Cloud costs are dependent on where decision makers sit in the business, and the particular lens they view spend through. A Chief Operating Officer might have a different perspective on cloud spend to a Chief Financial Officer, who will likewise have different priorities to the engineering team.
Cloud costs are dynamic, but optimising cloud infrastructure can be difficult when impacted by the cognitive biases of those making the decisions. This could include blind spots around escalating cloud costs in the business, and the inability to view and track projects as they progress. Clients may also be thrown off course by choice overload, as major cloud providers continue to add to, and diversify, their services.
Where do we, as consultants, add value to cloud rollouts? In the case of clients with small teams, we can bridge the gap by setting up internal centres of excellence around the cloud. Within Capita, we are creating high impact leadership tribes (HILT) that bring together people with deep expertise in a number of fields. This is made available to our clients, enabling them to see wider trends and costs to draw from.
From a technical point of view, we are building support for cloud platforms on ITSM (IT service management) tooling. This enables Capita, and our customers, to monitor how a cloud service is running, and easily make changes to optimise services and costs. Clients also have a view of a clear schedule of upgrades and possible features to unlock, when budget permits them to do so.
In order for consultants to rollout cloud projects to continue to add value, and for clients to see continued benefit from their cloud investments, there has to be an embedded culture of transparency around costs. This must be complemented by a diverse decision-making base to counteract bias in building cloud infrastructure and appropriate placement of skills.