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Align Business and Cloud Realities with Business Mapping

By Andrew Midgley on April 8, 2019
Unlock innovation by accurately mapping your cloud to your business with Cloudability's new Business Mapping.

Often the prime motivation for a business in adopting public cloud is the promise of stimulating innovation and gaining a competitive advantage. A key aspect that fosters this innovation is how cloud changes and deepens the entire business’ engagement with technology. If we think back to how organizations operated a traditional, on-premise data center, it was usually managed by a few key stakeholders in a very controlled process that didn’t engage much of the business. There simply wasn’t a need for many people to understand daily operations, to increase general accountability or to classify the infrastructure costs to help with decision making.

Cloud turned this on its head, as it democratized access to provisioning infrastructure and created huge amounts of constantly changing cloud consumption data (usage and spend) that we need to classify in new ways in order to be able to understand what we are doing and make daily decisions.

How Do You Link Your Business Structure to Your Cloud Use?

As organizations have evolved for this brave new world, there’s been a strong motivation to take concepts or dimensions that exist within the business and overlay them onto cloud cost and usage data so the business can make sense of what it’s actually doing in the cloud. Many large corporations also need to comply with regulations and financial reporting requirements, which makes this a must-have. When organizations provide a platform for this visibility, and maintain the underlying rules, the foundations are set for the wider business to fully embrace the power of public cloud while also removing inefficiencies between functional groups.

Unfortunately, providing such a facility is an extremely challenging endeavour and simply exposing regular vendor artefacts like tags and accounts just doesn’t cut the mustard for use cases of any complexity where multiple criteria must be evaluated dynamically in order to categorize spend.

Introducing Business Mapping

Cloudability is excited to announce a new capability that solves this challenge in a new and powerful way. It’s called Business Mapping, and it belongs at the core of the FinOps model. Business Mapping works by you declaring what your critical business dimensions are and using our purpose-built classification engine to map them to the underlying cloud billing data.

Our implementation has been intentionally built to embrace the governance strategies you currently have in place and encourage you to develop these strategies further so as to achieve operational excellence. This declarative nature and focus on governance is a proactive approach to cloud cost management which contrasts to efforts that were reactive in nature and required massaging and shifting costs around after the fact.

Start Delivering Business Insights Now

During its beta release phase, we’ve seen very successful and sophisticated uses of Business Mapping. Some obvious applications include delivering full reporting on cloud expenses as they relate to project status for project managers, separating cloud cost that are Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) versus operating expenses for finance, and providing a complete and accurate chargeback for the entire business.

Among the most exciting patterns we’re seeing are organizations setting up their entire financial governance story across multiple business dimensions which build on each other. This generally starts with declaring a tag compliance dimension (which by itself improves governance and visibility) and culminates with delivering an official chargeback dimension. For these organizations, what was once a lengthy and painful manual process that occurred in monthly spreadsheet manipulations within the finance department goes away. It’s replaced by reports and dashboards which the entire organization can access whenever they need.

We’re only beginning to see the potential uses of Business Mapping, with customers also producing insights around geolocation and compliance of their cloud infrastructure.

“At Atlassian we have a chargeback system based on compliance to a tagging standard, and rely on a fall back to an account ownership model. We also have a program to remap incorrectly tagged costs to the correct value for the months they occur. We use Business Mapping to define these exact rules, which enables us to reliably get a full and accurate chargeback of cloud costs every month. By having the results of this mapping available to everyone all the time in Cloudability, we’re able to have a shared view of what’s driving our infrastructure costs.”
-Mike Fuller, Principal Systems Engineer, Atlassian

Some Unique and Awesome Things About Business Mapping

We expect Business Mapping to significantly impact how the wider business engages with their cloud deployment. Here are some particulars and unique properties that make this feature so powerful:

We’ve worked very closely with our customers to provide maximum flexibility with comparison operators (such as regular expression support) and features such as allowing rules to be date-bound. We’re confident Business Mapping is sophisticated enough to handle your toughest business rules.

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Empowering FinOps and Accelerating Innovation

Bringing technology, business and finance together to master the unit economics of the cloud for competitive advantage is the ultimate goal of FinOps, and Business Mapping makes Cloudability a complete and ideal platform for FinOps.

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