Last year at the Intercon Conference in Las Vegas, I found myself queued in the bar line alongside the rest of the attendees after a long day of presentations.
To pass the time I struck up a conversation with the man in front of me who I learned was the CIO of an ecommerce company that specialized in garden seeds. As we talked our conversation shifted to AWS and some of the announcements we were hoping to hear from re:Invent which was just a few weeks away at the time.
“I am really excited about the cost control tools” he shared. “I ask my team regularly why our costs fluctuate so much but no one really seems to know why. I also don’t know if everything we have is what we actually need.”
His comments touch on a lot of what I’ve heard from clients over the past few years. AWS and Azure offer amazing tools to virtualize almost every aspect of your operation but, they also have the distinct disadvantage of operating an ‘add to cart’ model that makes it easy for IT teams to add unnecessary or incompatible products to the console. Since the pricing comes in such small increments – usually between pennies to just a few dollars – it’s difficult for teams to calculate the overall costs until the bills start coming in higher and higher.
Additionally, these product suites have matured so rapidly that the environments you setup just a few years ago may already be antiquated. Both Microsoft and Amazon are rolling out new products monthly. For small to mid-size IT shops this can be too much of a burden to bear – keeping costs under control and deploying the most modern technology for the organization – so rising costs and unattended tech tends to get dismissed as ‘just a part of the cost of doing business.’
Both AWS and Azure offer tools to monitor costs but, those too, require configuration. There are organizations that specialize in helping large companies streamline their environment but small and mid-size companies that could benefit the most from the savings are largely left to fend for themselves.
Recognizing this under-served market, earlier this year I approached the team at Core Catalysts with the idea of partnering to support our local clients. Smart Factory and Core Catalysts have partnered on many projects over the past several years – my team specializes in Remote Workforce Management (on/near/off-shore resources managed by local leaders) for special projects with Core Catalysts providing Financial and Operations experts.
Cost control is on the top of everyone’s action list this month. Reducing costs in AWS or Azure is a Finance and an IT joint effort that our teams can help deliver. Our mixture of technical, financial, and, business skills, can bridge the gap of the complexity to provide economic results that more than pay for our fees. Our team can:
1. Review invoices on a monthly basis for accuracy, recommend improvements and track resulting savings.
2. We can help clients develop policies and guidelines to prevent creeping costs incurred from unattended subscriptions.
3. If applicable, our team can also help clients structure their pass-thru costs to their end clients and validate what those costs mean to them.
4. We can offer both financial and technical training in this area that educates client teams and enables them to make better financially balanced technical decisions over time.
As Mark Jacobs discussed in a recent post RCM Assessment, this is about survival. There is no better time than now to assess your costs and find new ways to control them.
If interested, give us a call!
– Doug Richards, Client Service & Delivery