Why optimising infrastructure costs should be a top priority for the whole C-suite
By Terry Storrar, Managing Director, Leaseweb UK
With inflation and energy prices still at unprecedented levels around the world, businesses everywhere are looking for ways to optimise their infrastructure costs and reduce overhead during these difficult times. For many, the answer lies in changing their fundamental approach to the technology and vendors they use. While change is often difficult, it can also unlock new levels of operational effectiveness if done correctly, helping companies maintain a positive, thriving mentality, rather than switching into survival mode. However, in order to enact meaningful change, two key things need to happen:
- CFOs and other members of the C-suite must take a more active role in key decisions around cloud infrastructure, instead of relying solely on the CTO.
- CTOs need the freedom to engage with a much wider range of potential vendors and providers rather than having to default to hyperscalers time after time.
Effective optimisation starts in the boardroom
The vast majority of modern organisations understand the pivotal role that cloud-based infrastructure now plays in transforming operations. It offers a more flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solution than can be achieved using on-premises alternatives. However, cloud solutions aren’t off the shelf products, they often require significant customisation and tailoring to perform at an optimal level. As such, it’s crucial that an organisation stops, takes stock of its business requirements, and ensures that any new deployment decision is based around its own specific needs, before putting a new solution in place.
This process starts in the boardroom and isn’t the sole responsibility of the CTO. It requires input and support from all the C-suite, including the CFO, CIO and CEO, to ensure the final solution fits the true needs of the business. This also allows CTOs to gain a clearer picture of what success will look like from the very start. It’s not an easy process but getting all senior executives on the same page from the start helps to eliminate many of the most common barriers to success and ensures the best possible outcome.
Further evidence of the importance of C-suite collaboration comes from a recent Leaseweb study, which found that while IT still manages the majority of cloud services and costs in UK organisations (76%), responsibilities are much less centralised than they used to be. In fact, multiple other departments now have some degree of responsibility for cloud workloads – including finance (24%), and operations (20%). All the more reason for corresponding board execs to be involved in the key decision making processes.
Look beyond the same handful of hyperscalers
Too many times, CTOs feel that defaulting to hyperscalers is the safer option because of brand recognition, rather than the products or services on offer. Hyperscalers may be the giants of the industry, but a well-known brand name isn’t necessarily a performance or quality guarantee. In many cases hyperscaler solutions come with significantly higher monthly costs, especially in relation to bandwidth consumption. The truth is, in some cases, companies can get the same level of performance at a lower cost if they are simply willing to explore alternative solutions and providers. With the right provider, not only will they get a trusted advisor, but also that much needed personal touch that’s often missing amongst hyperscalers.
Dividing infrastructure can yield significant benefits
For companies that need the ability to scale “infinitely”, it’s logical that hyperscalers are the solution for meeting that need. However, every company has static/stable infrastructure that they know will be there year-round. A great example is e-commerce: most e-commerce companies know they can expect steady levels of traffic throughout most of the year, but when peak shopping times occur (such as Black Friday and Christmas) they need to be able to scale rapidly to meet the additional demand.
Using this knowledge, e-commerce companies can make significant savings by moving their stable workloads to a more cost-effective provider; one that still offers high performance with a quality network, while also having the ability to integrate their platform with a hyperscaler to offload that peak traffic. If a company knows what kind of stable infrastructure to expect for the coming year or two, they can select a longer contract term and save even more money without compromising on performance or resiliency.
Customisation is king
When it comes to truly optimising infrastructure, small changes can quickly add up to big savings. In many cases, hyperscalers don’t give companies the ability to fine tune their offerings. However, providers like Leaseweb let customers customise everything from processor speed to storage types, allowing money to be allocated where it’s really needed. Doing so means companies always have complete control over their infrastructure expenses, which is invaluable.
While there appears to be a small amount of light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to eye-watering energy prices and spiralling inflation, we are by no means out of the woods yet, which means businesses must continue doing all they can to weather the storm. Optimising infrastructure costs not only helps executives to stay on the front foot at this difficult time, but also stands them in great stead for the future, making it a no-brainer. Hyperscalers may seem like a safe pair of hands, but not only do many alternative cloud providers offer the same, if not better, levels of service, they often do it at significantly lower price points. Like everything in life, it pays to shop around, and you may well find that doing so now reaps significant rewards, both now and in the future.