4 key takeaways from our webinar with AWS on fixing cloud cost optimization

How to solve the cloud cost conundrum: growth vs. efficiency

Emily Glover | JUN 06, 2024

5 min read

Today’s finance and engineering leaders face a unique and complex challenge: controlling costs while investing in the cloud infrastructure needed to thrive.

In the quest for capital efficiency, controlling cloud spend has become a top priority for over 78% of companies, but only 31% have managed to implement a strategy that works.

Understandably, the challenge gives rise to a lot of questions. How do you optimize cloud spend without sacrificing performance? How should finance and engineering work together? And what technologies, if any, can maximize return on investment?

Enter Mark Zaytsev, Customer Optimization & Acceleration Specialist at Amazon Web Services. Partnering with hundreds of finance and tech leaders, Mark helps organizations big and small to make their AWS spend more commercially sustainable. 

In a recent webinar, Mark teamed up with Josh Wigmore, VP of Product at Vertice, to reveal the cloud spend strategies that the shrewdest organizations are relying on to control costs without hindering growth and innovation. 

Get ready to learn the most critical takeaways.

4 insights on building and sustaining an effective cloud cost optimization strategy

1. Cloud cost visibility: The first step to savings

Organizations often struggle to obtain clear visibility into their cloud infrastructure – impacting their ability to control and optimize costs.

Whenever Mark starts working with a new customer, the first thing he recommends is gaining a clear picture of where their AWS costs are coming from. 

Here are Mark’s top 3 tips for visibility success: 

  • Democratize cloud cost data: Make cost information transparent and relevant across teams – finance, engineering, product, and leadership. A single, shared view accessible to everyone fosters collaboration and cost awareness.
  • Drill down with granular visibility: Use tags or categories to categorize costs by project, product, or even team. This granularity helps finance pinpoint hidden savings opportunities that might be missed with a high-level view.
  • Embrace continuous monitoring: Don’t stop at initial visibility. Regularly monitor costs to identify and address cost fluctuations before they snowball. A proactive approach is key.

2. Bridging the gap: Collaboration is crucial 

A major hurdle in cloud cost optimization is fostering collaboration between finance and engineering teams. Both teams naturally have different perspectives when it comes to the cloud, but Mark emphasizes that the “relationship part” of FinOps is just as crucial as visibility:

  • Shared vision: Finance needs visibility, but without close collaboration with engineering, implementing changes based on that information becomes difficult.
  • Technical expertise: Engineering teams hold the technical knowledge to implement cost-saving solutions. Collaboration allows finance to leverage this expertise.
  • Mutual benefit: By working together, both teams can identify optimization opportunities that benefit both cost control and innovation.

This collaborative approach empowers organizations to achieve the ideal balance: unleashing innovation while keeping cloud costs under control.

3. Beyond cost cutting: Driving maximum ROI

A common misconception is that FinOps is solely about slashing cloud expenses. While cost control is important, Mark sees that a narrow focus can stifle innovation. 

Here’s what Mark suggests:

  • Focus on value, not just cost: FinOps isn’t about spending less, it’s about eliminating waste and maximizing the return on every cloud dollar invested.
  • Think about cloud cost optimization as an enabler for growth: Understanding what drives the value in the cloud will allow you to make much better decisions for your whole business. As a result of optimizing your cloud infrastructure, you may have more confidence in the cloud and decide to invest in more services that you feel are giving you better ROI.

4. Establish ownership of cost optimization

Effective cloud cost optimization requires a cultural shift where everyone feels responsible for using the cloud efficiently. However, to drive this change, it’s crucial to establish clear ownership.

The most successful companies Mark sees have some sort of FinOps representation across the company. 

Some organizations have FinOps teams and specialist roles, but Mark emphasized that it doesn’t need to be a full-time job – you simply need representatives who feel invested and empowered in the task of cloud cost optimization:

  • Identify the key representatives in your company who can work together habitually.
  • Ideally your cloud cost optimization project should have representatives from engineering, finance, procurement and product teams – as well as a C-suite level sponsor.

Josh Wigmore, VP of Product at Vertice, says that when you assign ownership, that’s when the best cost savings are discovered – even in cloud infrastructures that seem well optimized.

A great example of this is Encompass. Using Vertice, Encompass discovered $500,000 in potential AWS savings from automatic or low-effort changes. 

Use technology to support you

Mark is passionate about setting companies up for success in cloud cost optimization, but he acknowledged that it can be a huge and complex task.

That’s why AWS partners with experts like Vertice that can offer specialist support with controlling cloud spend. The Vertice platform gives finance and engineering leaders a shared, real-time view of cloud spending so they can work together effective to control costs. It also offers detailed savings recommendations that are actionable, automated and designed for minimal engineering effort.

If you’d like to hear the entire session, you can watch the recording here. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for more Vertice workshops coming soon. 

Get InsideSaaS