Making ready for what’s subsequent: Monetary issues for cloud migration

Co-authored by Jorge Magana, Director, Azure Finance (Monetary Planning and Evaluation).

Within the kick off weblog of this collection, I shared our prime suggestions to speed up your cloud migration journey, one among which was round aligning key stakeholders throughout your group. As you progress by way of assessments and plan your migration, it’s essential to get purchase in out of your CFO and different monetary stakeholders—much more so in at the moment’s difficult macro-climate.

IT and finance organizations should be aligned round the right way to be agile to regulate to quickly shifting calls for whereas guaranteeing that their price construction is lean sufficient to climate robust market situations. With this twin focus, it’s essential to grasp not solely the technical advantages of a cloud transition, but in addition the monetary and financial alternatives related to it. Right now I am sharing my very own expertise of partnering with finance together with the knowledge that prospects have shared about their journey.

How can cloud migration have an effect on CFO priorities?

Listed here are three key areas that IT organizations have to internalize and align on with their finance group as they plan cloud migration:

  1. What’s the holistic affect to the group’s monetary posture? 
  2. What’s going to the affect be on exterior and inside finance KPIs and processes?
  3. What operational adjustments are required throughout and after migration to make sure that finances/ROI controls are met? 

How is the group’s monetary posture going to alter?

Azure prospects always unlock new, constructive ROI tasks beforehand not potential on-premises as they migrate workloads. By design, Azure is constructed to facilitate enterprise agility, creating alternatives for true aggressive benefit and substantial lower in time to market. Consequently, our prospects acknowledge important monetary advantages pushed largely by cloud flexibility and elasticity and adjustments in companies’ monetary working fashions that scale back asset purchases and upfront money investments.

Cloud flexibility and elasticity

First, Azure prospects can modify their price construction to enhance their group’s backside line, which is desk stakes in at the moment’s atmosphere. In latest earnings calls, CFOs of firms not leveraging the cloud talked about their incapability to scale back mounted bills, which damage profitability. As our prospects migrate to Azure, they’re shifting to a price construction that’s variable by design:

Determine 1: Cloud price construction supplies flexibility

Graph of IT Demand versus on-premises capacity


Subsequent, Azure prospects can maximize useful resource effectivity. Now we have labored immediately with massive and small prospects alike who have been operating on-premises workloads at very low useful resource utilization. These prospects bought property for peak demand and lead-times, however more often than not these servers, and even some datacenters, have been sitting idle and underused. By rightsizing and optimizing capability when migrating to Azure, prospects can understand financial advantages from cloud scale and elasticity. For instance, the built-in scalability in Azure has helped Maersk shortly scale up on demand eliminating the necessity to keep idle assets throughout off-peak occasions.

“Scalability is likely one of the large advantages we get from Azure. Up to now, it may need taken us months to obtain and configure servers and get them into manufacturing. Now, we are able to scale up on demand in Azure in a matter of minutes.” – Musaddique Alatoor, Head of Tools Innovation, A.P. Moller – Maersk

Lastly, shifting to a cloud mannequin can scale back prices by enabling prospects to eat assets solely throughout peak utilization durations, whereas decreasing capability when demand wants drop.

Modifications within the monetary working mannequin

Key monetary advantages of Azure are pushed by a elementary shift within the IT working mannequin, which advantages the group’s core monetary statements within the following methods:

  • Stability sheet: Previous to migrating to Azure, a lot of our prospects owned or operated their datacenters. These have been costly long-term property that restricted the money and capital required to develop the enterprise, help strategic initiatives, and reply to market situations. As soon as on Azure, our prospects keep away from shopping for tools, repurpose costly actual property, and shift datacenter operations prices into creating cloud purposes and different tasks that drive enterprise progress. This makes their stability sheet extra agile, shifting mounted property to money. That is what drove Maersk to maneuver their 5 regional datacenters to Azure to decrease the corporate’s dangers and place them for continued progress.
  • Money circulation assertion: Azure prospects save rapid money by avoiding cyclical and sporadic IT asset purchases. With the “pay for what you employ” mannequin together with platform capabilities like coverage and tagging that Azure permits, CFOs enhance visibility, predictability and delay money spend.
  • Revenue assertion (revenue and loss): Over time, Azure prospects can enhance profitability by decreasing the fee to ship equal or bigger IT worth by benefiting from Azure’s flexibility, low administration prices, its broad portfolio of companies and pricing fashions. Find out how CYTI was capable of make the most of Azure’s flexibility to scale back infrastructure prices.

“We’re now saving about 30 p.c a yr on infrastructure prices simply by transferring to Azure, with extra flexibility, higher servers, better customization, and extra freedom to do what we wish.” – Darren Gourley, Chief Know-how Officer, CYTI

How will monetary KPIs and processes change?

When migrating from on-premises to Azure, there are a number of monetary advantages that subsequently affect KPIs and finance processes. The 2 most outstanding are: 1) finances and monetary reporting processes: expense shifts from capital expenditure (CAPEX) to operational expenditure (OPEX); 2) Impression on EBITDA (earnings earlier than curiosity, taxes, depreciation, and amortization).

  1. CAPEX to OPEX: Throughout an Azure migration, spend that was beforehand allotted to CAPEX is now being redeployed to OPEX. That is optimum from a cashflow timing and a stability sheet flexibility perspective however requires CFOs to shift budgets to help the brand new mannequin. Capstone Mining used this strategy to considerably decrease their capital prices by transferring to Azure.
    “We wished to eradicate $three million (USD) in capital prices over about three years, and to scale back our working prices by roughly the identical quantity. On the similar time, we wished to enhance our high quality of service. With Azure, we’re assured about assembly these targets.” – Jim Slattery, Chief Monetary Officer, Capstone Mining
  2. EBITDA: EBITDA is a monetary metric that firms use to measure profitability. This metric ignores actual prices like server spend. When transferring to the cloud, EBITDA is impacted as a result of the metric can now not ignore prices like server depreciation. When transferring to the cloud, if your organization tracks EBITDA, it’ll possible be impacted from a migration shift. Versus overly specializing in EBITDA, many purchasers select to establish further monetary metrics that higher measure enterprise worth enhancements (resembling money flows, working earnings, or price of products offered effectivity).

Managing monetary KPI’s and processes is a essential element of a CFO’s job. By making a channel of communication together with your monetary stakeholders and highlighting symbiotic relationships of a few of the KPI and course of impacts of a cloud migration, you may start working together with your finance workforce to proactively reset expectations round each capital/working budgets and EBITDA targets in a cloud vs on-premises world.

Implementing the enterprise case: Ongoing cost-optimization and administration

As soon as the cloud migration challenge begins, listed below are a number of ideas and finest monetary practices for fulfillment:

  1. Lowering on-premises asset acquisitions: There have to be broad inside alignment and processes to guage and management how and when groups purchase new on-premises property. Each new buy will add mounted prices that can forestall cloud financial savings for an extended interval.
  2. Preliminary useful resource clean-up, rightsizing, and optimization: When migrating to Azure, contemplate which workloads are now not wanted and might be turned off. For workloads nonetheless wanted, contemplate what might be accomplished to optimize these assets and operational hours, leveraging instruments resembling Azure Migrate.
  3. Steady price optimization: Workloads aren’t static. As soon as in Azure, leverage our instruments (together with Azure Price Administration and Azure Advisor) and set up processes to watch assets and patterns to constantly optimize cloud prices.
  4. Useful resource tagging and spend categorization: Azure permits for simplified useful resource tagging and value allocation in contrast with on-premises. This helps enhance spend accountability, whereas evaluating workload ROI. By way of useful resource tagging you’ll be able to higher align your spend to price classes like the price of items offered (COGS) or analysis and improvement and allocate prices of workloads on to underlying enterprise items. Focused price allocation can immediately assist drive efficiencies and reductions.
  5. Billing fashions: Azure billing fashions like reserved cases and spot pricing are incredible alternatives to economize. For instance, Azure three-year Reserved Situations (RI) don’t require upfront cost, have great flexibility, and supply reductions as much as 72 p.c.
  6. Azure Hybrid Profit: With Azure you may make the most of your current Microsoft licenses with Software program Assurance to keep away from incremental licensing prices for migrating workloads and maximize earlier investments.

Determine 2: Effectively-optimized cloud utilization can liberate extra capability


    Aligning cloud spend with underlying workload utilization

    A) Idle capability: Azure permits prospects to eradicate idle capability meant to cowl future progress throughout workloads. Actions like rightsizing or eliminating pointless workloads can assist you scale back your idle capability when transferring to the cloud.

    B) Variable workloads: Azure prospects solely pay for the hours they want when demand quickly peaks above common ranges on variable workloads. Benefiting from instruments and actions like VM scale units and “snoozing” can assist you solely pay for the assets wanted.

    C) Predictable workloads: Azure prospects can decrease prices of predictable workloads by benefiting from Azure Reserved Situations and Spot costs.

    What’s subsequent?

    1. Because the cloud migration workforce in IT, guarantee finance companions and key stakeholders are introduced in from the start, and embrace them in applicable decision-making and progress assessment boards. Attain out to your finance friends to higher perceive their expectations and how one can collaborate as you embark in your cloud migration challenge. Use the Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure for finest observe steerage round aligning your group to a standard imaginative and prescient and strategy.
    2. Leverage cost-savings gives (together with Azure Hybrid Profit and Reserved Situations) and free instruments (Azure TCO calculator, Azure pricing calculator, Azure Migrate) as you intend and put together for cloud migration.
    3. Use instruments like Azure Price Administration and Azure Advisor as soon as on Azure to drive steady optimization; guarantee monetary stakeholders have applicable entry and visibility.
    4. For professional help from Microsoft or our certified companions, take a look at our Cloud Answer Evaluation choices or be a part of the Azure Migration Program (AMP).

    We hope this offers you understanding of the essential intersection between IT and finance within the context of your group’s cloud migration journey. Participating the migration management workforce inside your group to collaboratively create each the technical and correlating monetary roadmap ensures alignment, facilitates migration success and long-term organizational success. Within the coming weeks, we’ll proceed this weblog collection with deeper dives on subjects like assessments, Touchdown Zones, infrastructure, knowledge, and utility migration finest practices.  

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