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Keep Cloud Costs, Optimization and Automation in Mind to Maximize Customer Satisfaction

Cloud Billing
Zanaris' Paul Rix

Paul Rix

BCM One's Randall Singh

Randall Singh

By Paul Rix, CEO, Zanaris, and Randall Singh, Partner Manager, Microsoft Practice, BCM One

Many customers believe that migrating most services to the cloud will get them to the end of the digital-transformation rainbow. However, instead of a pot of opex gold, many discover a whole new set of challenges in three areas:

 

 

  1. Spend: Costs keeps rising and are problematic to forecast or manage.
  2. Optimization: Sustaining peak efficiency is difficult with ever-evolving business drivers.
  3. Automation: Day-to-day administration is a significant effort and demands new skills and tools.

IT consultants, agents and MSPs who can address these three problems can differentiate their services. Here’s the scoop on these cloud realities — and guidance on how you can help your customers take charge.

The Reality: Spend

One of the biggest attractions of cloud computing is that you pay only for what you use. That’s a huge benefit as long as you spin down idle or under-utilized servers. Customers expect to see spikes and contractions based on the variability of business needs. But easy scalability – another key benefit – means that more applications and storage might move into the cloud even when that’s not the best option. This “cloud creep” can result in constant expansion without the offsetting contractions that you or your customers expected, which in extreme cases can lead them to repatriate workloads.

This challenge is compounded when companies can’t easily analyze their cloud costs or determine the financial efficiency of running a given service onsite versus with a cloud provider. Several factors contribute to the problem. First, it’s common for enterprises to lack clarity about exactly which services they need. Paying for unneeded options and foregoing ones that would benefit them can erode the benefits of the cloud. Second, many cloud-service bills are vague, so you as a partner simply don’t get the data you need to understand what’s driving the spikes and dips in costs. It also makes it nearly impossible to accurately allocate the cost of cloud assets to associated departments to manage charge backs.

How can customers explain increasing cloud spend to their CFOs when they don’t understand it themselves?

How to take charge:

  • Find out what cloud analytics are available to help you determine exactly where the money is going. Analytics will also help you understand customer usage patterns, and how patterns change over time, which will help you control “cloud creep.”
  • Request a sample invoice: Cloud-services invoices can often be vague and confusing. Ensure that if (or when) there’s a spike in cost, the invoice gives your customer the data they need, in a manner that’s easy to read and comprehend so they can understand exactly where that expense is coming from.
  • Ask for regular business reviews: A cloud service-provider partner should be willing to conduct reviews quarterly or even monthly to assess usage and spend, and help your customer get the most value from their cloud budget.
The Reality: Cloud Optimization

Getting workloads into the cloud is only the first step. You need to …

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