Calling all CEOs: cloud is an investment worth closely managing

The complexity of a well-managed cloud can be overwhelming and may discourage CEOs from properly investing resources. Here’s why it’s worth the headspace

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For CEOs leading high-growth companies, managing their public cloud environment can seem daunting. Leaders are laser-focused on driving business growth, but can’t ensure that growth unless their IT backend is working correctly. 

There are often concerns about lacking the right skills internally to leverage the cloud effectively – and businesses struggle to find the right staff to bring the promise to a reality. Cost control is another major concern: although a well-structured cloud can deliver significant savings, improper management can quickly lead to skyrocketing and unpredictable costs. 

“The biggest challenge CEOs face is growing their business in this economic environment,” says Jaret Chiles, chief services officer at global multi-cloud innovator DoiT. “It can be easy to develop tunnel vision around growth and revenue-generating activities.” 

However, failing to enable a strong operational practice means CEOs risk missing out on one of the cloud’s core benefits – the ability to be nimble and quickly experiment. “One of the big benefits of the cloud is the ability to test things quickly,” says Chiles. It’s possible to spin up ideas and iterate on them at speed. “Cloud users can build a proof of concept and test the market without having to initially sink significant chunks of capital into it.” 

Stopping spiralling costs

Yet the risk inherent in that approach is that if a cloud-based idea succeeds, costs can quickly spiral – often without you knowing. “The trick is, when the experiment suddenly takes off, you need to have the right muscles and resources in place to control costs – not just tactically, but by operationalising how you manage the unit economics of your cloud environment,” says Chiles. For that reason, it’s vital that organisations and their leaders closely manage their cloud investment.

For CEOs feeling torn between investing enough energy into growth activities versus cloud operations, Chiles argues there is a simple, straightforward business case for prioritising cloud management: failing to do so can prove disastrous in the long run.

“If you’re not managing and getting ahead of growing cloud costs, what manifests is a surprise cloud bill that pulls the CEO’s focus from driving the business forward to putting out fires in the present moment,” says Chiles. 

“Whereas if you have the right practices, tooling and expertise in place upfront, it allows the CEO to remain focused on what they should be focused on – envisioning where the business needs to go over the next 12, 24 or 36 months, and making it happen.”

Following best practices 

Of course, getting to that point is easier said than done, which is where innovators like DoiT can help. Historically, the market has gone through several approaches to balancing cloud’s benefits with risk mitigation, says Chiles. “One early strategy was to put tonnes of fences and guardrails around my cloud environment to control the cost,” he explains. “While that did help avoid billing surprises, it stripped the value away of having access to move quickly and do things with the agility that organisations need.” 

Failing to enable a strong
operational practice means
CEOs risk missing out on one
of the cloud’s core benefits
– the ability to be nimble and
quickly experiment

Another early-days challenge was the siloing of functions within organisations. Traditionally, engineers were solely responsible for building up new capabilities, while finance teams were held liable for cost overruns. This fundamentally puts these stakeholders at odds, each incentivized by opposing metrics, explains Chiles. Companies that can attribute costs more accurately can foster greater accountability among engineering teams, and give them the tools to prove the unit cost benefit their projects produce.

DoiT’s console, for example, offers tools which allow an organisation to tag cloud costs to specific departments and analyse cost and spend efficacy. This not only introduces accountability, but encourages employees to become a part of the solution. “It can bring engineering teams and finance teams closer together, because engineers historically didn’t need to think about cost,” says Chiles. “Maybe they cared, but just didn’t have visibility.”

Of course, CEOs don’t need to become cloud experts themselves. The key is taking an active role as a sponsor and champion for prioritising good practices company-wide. As Chiles advises, “Their ultimate responsibility is making sure they are advocating for the importance of having the right solution, tooling and expertise in place to operate the cloud environment with accountability and optimisation as the organisation scales.” 

Making work, work

DoiT’s three-pronged approach can guide CEOs through this journey. The process starts with DoiT Cloud Advantage, which ensures companies procure their cloud investments intelligently to maximise cost efficiency. Through Cloud Advantage, companies harness DoiT’s purchasing power to get access to volume pricing, automated cost savings, billing support and much more.

The second element of DoiT’s triangle of value is the Cloud Navigator Toolset, which provides financial operations teams with comprehensive analytics, cost optimisation recommendations and anomaly detection. These best in class tools offer powerful insights into not only areas of improvement in cloud structure, but can highlight where investments are providing the most value.

Finally, DoiT’s Cloud Solve services grant access to the company’s global team of experts, with decades of experience in cloud architecture, Kubernetes, machine learning, GenAI and more. Along with helping to solve cloud issues in real time, DoiT’s experts act as copilots, helping customers advance their cloud knowledge to accelerate innovation. 

When combined, each arm helps to simplify the most important cloud challenges to optimise use and accelerate return. “Rather than just having a tool that flags issues and leaving companies to fend for themselves, you get ease and efficiency from Cloud Advantage, visibility from Cloud Navigator and then have direct access to our world-class architects that can teach you how to solve,” explains Chiles. “It’s building proficiency, not just having dependency.” 

All three options, which are used by thousands of cloud-driven organisations around the world, including names such as AutoTrader and Wix, establish the importance of thinking about cloud carefully. While CEOs are understandably heads-down driving growth, dismissing cloud investment as a low priority issue is missing a massive opportunity. Or as Chiles sums it up simply: “Our proposition is unlocking the true promise of the cloud to drive business growth.”

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