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How Healthdirect Australia Uses Cloudability to Optimize Costs and Increase Visibility Across Teams

By Dave Stenson on August 25, 2017
Learn how Healthdirect Australia combatted limited visibility, rising costs and lack of accountability across their organization and used Cloudability to instill a company culture of efficiency and continuous optimization.

Healthdirect Australia, a national, government-owned, not-for-profit organization that delivers digital and tele-health services for Australian consumers,  faced a very common issue: limited visibility, rising costs and little accountability with cloud spend.

The Challenge: Combatting Rising Costs While Increasing Accountability

Chris Harwood, Service Director at Healthdirect Australia, kicked off a process to evaluate third party vendors that could help with the rising monthly costs and promote accountability and awareness of cloud spend throughout the different areas of the business.

“We wanted to introduce autonomy and accountability across not only our Platform and Operations teams, but across the whole organization, giving our service teams autonomy around infrastructure deployment, while ensuring they stay accountable for their own spend,” said Harwood.

“We had a major gap in our tooling, in that we had no useful way to report on costs by team for our cloud infrastructure and our teams were flying blind on how much it was costing to test and develop their respective products. We could manage costs effectively at an account level, however that didn’t support the ‘freedom with responsibility’ organization model.” 

After creating a list of requirements and evaluating several providers, Chris decided Cloudability offered the level of local support and expertise required. 

“From early on, I was very impressed at the level of engagement and investment from the local team. Having a local Technical Account Manager was a big factor in our decision making in going with Cloudability,” said Chris.

The Solution: Using the “Cloud Journey” Model

Cloudability teaches customers a “cloud journey” model, and helps them make sure they are taking the right steps for the stage of the journey they are in. They emphasize creating a culture of cloud cost efficiency, comprised of visibility, allocation, rightsizing, RI planning and role-based visibility. This is a philosophy that the team at Healthdirect Australia have bought into from the start, to create a lean cloud infrastructure that has helped significantly reduce costs, while usage has increased in the same time period.

“The strategy early on was to create a tagging structure to provide transparency and be aligned with the organizational mode,” said Andrew Midgley of Cloudability.

“We made the different product teams and stakeholders part of the process to get engagement early on. We had hoped this process would take days, but ended up taking months,” said Midgley. 

According to Harwood, having a dedicated Technical Account Manager throughout this process was a big help for his team.

“The Technical Account Manager was pivotal in this process, looking at organizational structure and shaping the tagging strategy around this. By rolling out the visibility on a team by team basis, confidence in the value of the process began to improve.”

The Cloudability Technical Account Manager worked with Healthdirect Australia directly to create reports and dashboards specific to the product or service, so that team leaders could immediately see the benefits of change, such as rightsizing or switching off test and development instances. Stakeholders could also see the benefits, spreading the sense of achievement throughout the team.

Introducing nightly shutdowns in test and development environments to reduce costs was a major win at the time for Healthdirect Australia. But it also had other, positive knock on effects.

According to Rob Shand, Dev Ops lead for Healthdirect Australia, not only did teams realize the financial benefits of switching off test and development resources thanks to Cloudability, it also improved confidence and demonstrated resilience in the deployment strategy, knowing applications could withstand a disorderly shutdown and can be torn down at any point.

Cloud cost optimization is now part of the culture at Healthdirect Australia, with regular evaluation of RI planning and performance, rightsizing and tagging coverage. Cloud cost optimization is an iterative process, with quarterly reviews performed by the local TAM team, deep diving into the data and setting goals for the upcoming quarter.

Creating A Culture of Cloud Efficiency

Instilling a culture of efficiency and continuous optimization within an organization is not an overnight process, but Cloudability offers the tools and support needed to do so successfully. To launch your cloud analysis, please get in touch with us today.

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