How observability can save your business money
By Mark Crawford, Vice President, Strategy and Execution at New Relic
Tech is essential for almost all modern businesses. How many could function without their word processors, their CRMs, or their analytics tools? Tech simplifies processes, it improves productivity, and it creates the frictionless customer experiences appreciated by both customer and vendor. But tech also costs money. And for many businesses, it’s costing far more than it should.
Overspending on tech
As a business’ tech infrastructure grows and diversifies, it is almost inevitable that the number of cloud and microservices needed to support it will grow. This then leads to sprawl, which by definition results in overspending. And with the economic downturn almost in full swing, every business is becoming increasingly wary of overspending.
But while tackling sprawl, businesses also need to contend with tool and software fragmentation, which again results in a loss of control of expenditure. When enterprises allow individual teams the option to choose their software, each one will go for whichever ‘best in breed’ will most benefit their silo. But making these decisions in isolation incurs technical debt and raises costs related to software management.
This silo mentality also means businesses lose their global unified view and architecture. The resulting uptime, reliability, and performance issues create outages that impact engineering and developer teams’ productivity – causing toil and fatigue, and cut out innovation. Annoying in the moment, and vastly expensive in the long run. Businesses that consolidate tools and remain true to singular software vision find that their staff have more time and energy to spend improving their overall service and increasing productivity.
So, what is the solution?
These inefficiencies are estimated to cost millions each year. A recent study from the Uptime Institute found that over 60% of failures result in at least $100,000 in total losses. When this is contextualised alongside the current economic backdrop of inflation and budget cuts, it’s clear that no business can afford to compromise on their software performance. Software should always be adding value, whether through innovation, a stronger customer experience, improving productivity or, importantly, cost reduction.
The truth is that there is no silver bullet that will instantly solve these cost-related issues businesses are facing. But a mature observability practice does go a long way. By implementing golden rules across their teams, businesses can begin to minimise software complexity and sprawl – with an observability platform at the core of this initiative, providing full stack visibility. This same visibility also helps to demonstrate the benefits that each piece of software brings.
Changing the way businesses pay for observability
Even once businesses have established that they should be using an observability platform, further savings can be made simply through how they pay for it. Traditional pricing models bundle products together for each kind of monitoring, spreading costs over multiple pricing units, such as hosts, nodes, agents, and containers. But with how much infrastructures have grown, this pricing structure became unreliable.
By grouping use-cases, customers would be tied into paying for functions they don’t need – raising prices unnecessarily. Then there is the dynamic growth of businesses’ infrastructures to consider. Businesses’ needs might grow or shrink at the drop of a hat – going viral might see usage skyrocket, while global events could cut it significantly – and host-based models just weren’t designed to accommodate these kinds of fluctuations.
However, as with many other kinds of SaaS, observability users are now benefiting from consumption-based pricing. In short, businesses only pay for what they need, removing shelfware completely and not requiring them to be locked into multi-year deals. So rather than paying year-round for peak usage, businesses can conserve funds that could be used more efficiently elsewhere.
The Business Case
Businesses in every sector are tightening their belts. But there is a reason that of all kinds of tech investments, observability is one of the few areas that budgets are still expected to remain on an upward trajectory. Observability is critical for any business that wants to understand exactly how its software is running across the entire organisation. Having this visibility from a single pane of glass is a huge help when trying to understand where inefficiencies lie. This helps to improve productivity, removes toil from workers, and as such also serves to create a better company culture.