AWS Cloud Financial Management

How DPG accelerated its digital transformation with Cloud Financial Management

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DPG Media Group is an international media company operating in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark. With strong, well-known brands in publishing, broadcasting, and online services, DPG Media serves customers 24/7, and employs 6,000 people. It began using AWS services in 2016 to support and accelerate its digital transformation by increasing agility, while decreasing time-to-market.

Where the journey started

It all began when DPG Media noticed an increase in its cloud bill. Three specific challenges needed to be addressed:

  • Traceability of cloud costs.  It was difficult to track spend and to allocate cost to the right IT departments and projects.
  • Complexity of forecasting and budget follow-up.  It was difficult to forecast the workload consumption among the IT departments and projects. The teams operated in “consumption mode” without thinking about a prediction mechanism.
  • Detection of unexpected cost increases. There was no way to proactively predict or remediate cost anomalies. It was only at the end of the month that their FinOps Team could discover that some costs for specific applications went up compared to the previous month.

With the help of the AWS Cloud Economics team, DPG Media’s Infrastructure team took a deep dive to understand the bill and how Cloud Financial Management (CFM) could help them identify and drive key cost optimization activities. Lorenz Van den Broeke, a systems engineer at DPG Media, is one of the heroes behind these efforts. He shares some of the challenges his teams faced, and how they addressed them for the win.

The key takeaways across DPG Media’s cloud transformation journey

1.         Getting executive sponsorship   
The operational IT teams drove awareness with senior management (CDO and CTO) on the benefits of applying CFM best practices. After securing executive sponsorship, the teams were able to proactively carry out cloud economics awareness: they organized information and cost accountability sessions with their colleagues in the IT and business departments. Additionally, leadership buy-in supported the development of processes and governance across different teams, and supported the teams’ capabilities to not only identify the source of their costs, but to manage and optimize them.

📖 READ: AWS Executive Insights- Cloud Financial Management: Small changes can make big impacts

2.      Using the right combination of tools and resources

DPG Media used a combination of native AWS and personalized tools to create a solution that aligned with their specific business needs. The comprehensive data provided by AWS Cost and Usage Reports allowed its FinOps teams to build their own Quicksight dashboard. The combination of the dashboard with an improved tagging and cost allocation strategy, gave project and product teams the ability to visualize their allocated costs at granular levels. This not only significantly improved cost awareness, but helped establish accountability.

🚀 GET STARTED: AWS Cost and Usage Reports

3.      Building Cloud Financial Management knowledge

CFM practices were applied with a step-by-step learning process and approach. Lorenz Van den Broeke says that he was never alone, and that the commitment was very much a team effort. He remembers the working session with a colleague who built the Elasticsearch DB. After introducing organizational implementation of CFM practices and injecting the data required, they were able to get the right financial view of the costs. Learning CFM practices allowed team members to use this knowledge to create the cost visualization layer that was critical to the organization.

🔖 EXPLORE: Getting started with Cloud Financial Management

4. Understanding Cloud Financial Management as a long-term practice

Committed to this dynamic over many months, DPG Media established the importance of not considering CFM as a project with a beginning and an end, but as a virtuous practice based on self-organization and a culture of cost awareness. For example, an ongoing CFM approach brings about continuous improvements, such as integrating automation that reduces repetitive manual tasks, that can ultimately lead to cost overrun. As a company moves to establish or mature its CFM practices, it needs to formalize goals for incorporating mission-critical automation.

Whether you’re developing your very first application on the AWS cloud, or looking to accelerate your journey with existing AWS services, implementing Cloud Financial Management practices delivers long-term benefits across the ways you optimize your cloud costs.

💡 STUDY: Cloud Financial Management maximizes business value on Amazon Web Services
About DPG Media Benefits DPG Media achieved using AWS
DPG Media is an international media company operating in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark. The firm’s mission is to inform, entertain, and inspire readers, viewers, and listeners. With strong, well-known brands in publishing, broadcasting, and online services, DPG Media serves customers 24/7.
  • Established a culture of cost transparency and accountability so that anyone using AWS in the organization is now responsible for their cloud cost and has visibility across the whole IT landscape
  • Empowered teams to drive initiatives that look for cost-efficient solutions across existing architecture or when building new capabilities
  • Improved cost anomaly management enabling earlier detection and faster implementation of remediation actions

Lionel Van Dongen

Lionel Van Dongen

Lionel is Senior Business Development Manager at AWS, where he develops the partnership between Cloud Economics and global consulting partners in EMEA. In his previous career, he held multiple technology and consulting leadership positions at Capgemini and DXC. Lionel has an MBA from the University of Oxford and a master’s degree in political science from the UCLouvain.