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Two Ways to Get More from Your Cloud Billing Data with Business Mapping

By Max Calabro on May 7, 2019
From broad categorization to complex, algorithmic distribution, Business Mapping allows you to allocate every dollar you spend in a way that makes the most sense for your business.

Business Mapping gives you a powerful method for achieving full cost allocation for your cloud spending. Similar to tagging, Business Mapping adds meaningful labels to your billing data, but Business Dimension values are applied algorithmically via user-defined rules to every line in your billing file, so you’re able to achieve 100% coverage. A full introduction to Business Mapping can be found in this previous blog post.

In this post, we’re going to discuss two effective methods for creating Business Mapping Dimensions to monitor your cloud spending — and how those methods work together. The first method uses Business Mapping to broadly categorize your spending, ensuring every dollar is tracked and allocated appropriately. With the second method, you can get the precision needed to label every dollar spent to whatever level of granularity is most meaningful for your business.

Part I: Creating Broad Mappings to Allocate All Costs

If you’re just getting going with Business Mapping, a great place to start is by writing a set of rules that classify your spending into a handful of useful buckets. This might include actions like highlighting where tags are missing, combining existing tags with untaggable spend to ensure full allocation to teams, or grouping accounts in a specific way within the structure of your business.

For example, you may want to categorize your spending by team: ETL Pipeline, Data Science, Frontend, etc. Some of your rules may group and reorganize existing tags and accounts into those definitions, while others may attempt to classify untaggable spend and distribute it accordingly. You might also create a category for leftover untagged or untaggable spend to be examined later.

These broad Business Mappings may depend on only a handful of dimensions in the data, such as existing tags, specific services, usage types, or AWS Account/GCP Project/Azure Subscription (and yes, you can group separate vendors together in Business Mapping). You can rearrange and group these items in a way that is meaningful to your business — and that can be further sliced to provide additional granularity if needed.

By starting with these broad rules, you’re ensuring every dollar is accounted for while also creating a foundation on which to build future business dimensions.

Part II: Build Intricate Rules for Deep Precision

Now that you have a basic schema set up to take a broad look at your billing file, you can start digging deeper into each of those categorizations. Because each mapping can refer to previous ones you’ve already defined, you can set up unique logic to handle each Business Dimension you’ve created in your initial mapping. These dimensions can stack on top of one another to give deep precision into each category.

Depending on your business case, you may choose to build multiple layers of Business Dimensions on top of each other to gradually refine your allocation picture. Because your Business Mapping rules are applied algorithmically to every line in your billing file, it’s possible to achieve extremely granular precision with these values. Precise mappings can break down cost by dimensions like service name or usage family, or even slice those boundaries further, using data like availability zone, instance type, usage type or even resource ID.

As an example, say you’ve already created a Business Dimension in Part I to capture all the accounts and tags associated with your ETL Pipeline. You could build another dimension that refers to the first (e.g., Dimension 1 equals ETL pipeline), but then applies additional rules with the AND operator to bucket spending by availability zone (AND Availability Zone equals Zone X). This creates a clear pathway for ensuring that any spending outside of approved areas gets noticed right away.

By building these precise Business Mapping rules on top of broad existing rules, you’re able to uncover the details of your spending at every level of the organization, allowing you to adjust your allocation to your specific business needs.

That doesn’t mean you have to use these methods together. Depending on your company’s guidelines for cloud spend, you might decide to jump straight into building precise rules to catch and track down any spending that’s non-compliant. This could include mapping by availability zones, instance types or combinations of several dimensions that are restricted within your organization.

Build Mappings for Your Business

The great thing about Business Mapping is that there’s no one way to set it up. The whole point is to map your cloud costs and usage to the organization and structure that works best for your business. Here, we’ve outlined an effective method for building increasingly complex Business Mapping Dimensions sequentially to achieve granular precision and complete allocation across all the most important aspects of your cloud infrastructure.

We’ve had customers use each method individually, and we’ve had customers use both together. In the end, the goal is complete allocation of your cloud spend. Business Mapping gives you the flexibility to algorithmically accomplish that goal — and do it on your terms.

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Find out more about Business Mapping with this blog post or in our Knowledge Base.

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