AWS Cloud Financial Management

Where do I begin to get business insights from my cost and usage data?

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One key advantage of migrating to the cloud is having near real-time visibility into your cost and usage data. But if you’re just starting out, you may not know where to begin when looking to convert your data into actionable insights, so you can make sense of your cloud investments, and support your ability to visualize, analyze, organize, and optimize your cloud costs to accelerate business outcomes.

How can you make your data work for you and your specific business needs? We asked three AWS CFM experts to share their advice on how you can get started:

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Bryce Dickens, Senior Financial Architect, says you need to identify and establish the fundamentals of your data best practices, like tagging early and tagging often. What are some other foundational things you should be doing with your data? Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out, he says. AWS has several tools and features that you can experiment with for free, so you don’t have to worry about affecting data downstream. That way, you can start fleshing out what fundamental data insights are best aligned to support and deliver on your overall strategy. Beginners and the most mature customer alike will use these fundamental elements of AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Cost and Usage Reports, so getting them in place as early as possible is paramount.

💡 LEARN: Cost allocation basics that you need to know

Consider account structure and automation

There are two things that Steph Gooch, Commercial Architect, says can maximize the utility of your data:

1. Account structure: Get your account structure right. She suggests avoiding shared resource structure so that you can use as much of your data as you can to chargeback to a cost center or a project.

2. Automation: Taking advantage of existing automated process, or encouraging developers to find ways to automate, can increase productivity, improve efficiency, and optimize your actionable data output with less human effort (or error!). So ask yourself: can I automate this?

🔎 EXPLORE: AWS Well-Architected Labs: Cost Optimization

Work backwards from your strategy

Danny Lee, Product Leader, encourages everyone to think about what good looks like first—what’s your cost management end state? Work backwards from there. That way, you can start establishing your best practices model across the organization to effectively use your data to manage and report your AWS cost and usage. Using a wide angle lens perspective to inform your data insights and reporting strategy can lead to long-term dividends.

📖 READ: Cloud Financial Management Maximizes Business Value on Amazon Web Services

Evolving your cost data insights based on your unique business needs

It’s important to understand that what’s right today may not be right further down the road, because cloud financial management is an evolving practice based on your organization’s unique cost management journey. Having an understanding of each stakeholder’s need will help you define, evaluate, and re-evaluate the data solutions you have in place. Cost management is a team sport, after all. And knowing how to turn your cost and usage data into actionable insights will help your team chalk up the win.

Get started now

AWS Cost Explorer: Visualize, understand, and manage your AWS costs and usage over time
AWS Cost and Usage Reports: Dive deeper into your AWS cost and usage data
AWS Cost Categories: Map cost and usage information to your organizational structure

Gena Chung

Gena Chung

Gena is a Digital Campaigns Manager for AWS Billing and Cost Management services. She focuses on helping customers understand and adopt cloud financial management solutions to harness the value of the AWS cloud, and transform their business through cost transparency, control, forecasting, and optimization.