The best budgets aren’t roadblocks. They’re guardrails: boundaries for quick, collaborative work.
Historically, when finance and engineering teams have discussed cloud cost, they’ve run into an obstacle: They don’t speak the same language. At the end of each month, finance gets an ever-changing cloud bill, and engineering explains that, whatever the total, it represents what they need to do their work. Stalemate.
CloudZero emerged as a visibility platform — a way for finance teams to attribute portions of total cloud cost to specific teams, functionalities, customers, and more. Greater visibility means clearer communication: less cluttered pathways between organizations’ left brain and right brain.
The CloudZero Platform is built around a core feature called Dimensions, which allows customers to organize their AWS bills into whatever way makes sense for their business, at as granular a level as they want.
But a number of customers asked us to take it a step further. Could we build a solution that would let them track, in real time, inter-Dimensional costs against budgetary forecasts?
Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of CloudZero Budgets, a new functionality which allows our customers to set and track budgets against any and all Dimensions. A far cry from the undefined, lump-sum bills of old, CloudZero Budgets allow companies to see how much they’re spending, what they’re spending it on, and whether it tracks with their business goals.
Rather than an inflexible set of parameters, Dimensions let customers define areas of cloud spend however they choose, and craft budgets according to specific business objectives.
With Dimensions, customers can track by individual business units, products within specific business units, products that roll up to specific general managers, geographical regions … the possibilities are quite literally endless.
At the beginning of each year, companies set fixed financial budgets. But a lot changes in the span of a year — not to mention a quarter, a month, a week. So, companies complement the initial yearly forecast with variable forecasts on a monthly/quarterly basis.
CloudZero Budgets give companies the power to track cloud spend against both fixed yearly budgets and variable monthly/quarterly forecasts. Dimensions give team leaders the real-time view: At any moment, they can determine which business units are over/under budget, which teams within business units are over/under budget, and which product features are driving those trends.
But more than that, CloudZero Budgets send automatic Slack alerts to corresponding teams about how they’re performing against their budgets. If they’re tracking to go over, they get a Slack alert. Rather than reacting to a bill at the end of the month, CloudZero Budgets let teams make proactive, in-the-moment decisions about whether to change their approach.
How To Use CloudZero Budgets
Within CloudZero Budgets, customers set a “View” — a static view of any Dimension or grouping of Dimensions. Customers could View individual development teams (“Dev Team 1 View”), research and development operations (“R&D View”), or specific features (“Live Chat Bot View”). They connect spend with the people responsible for it.
After setting up a View, customers establish the View’s budget. Each budget shows up on a dashboard, where customers can track how spend compares to budgetary forecasts.
Examples of ways to use CloudZero Budgets:
- Track the cost of a new product launch
- Track the costs of individual dev teams
- Track the cost of running different product features
- Track each of your customers’ costs, and receive alerts when their margins get thin
- Track costs of different business units
Some people view budgets as roadblocks — uncrossable thresholds that hamper progress. We believe budgets can and should be used to track progress, enable proactivity, and hold people accountable.
Well-defined cloud spend budgets show engineering teams the financial consequences of different approaches, and give finance teams a clear sense of how engineering teams operate. They replace guesswork with data, and substitute failure to communicate with a common vocabulary.
CloudZero Budgets is a real-time solution giving unprecedented insight into cloud spend trends. It transforms budgets from roadblocks into guardrails: a way to trigger productive strategy conversations within and beyond individual teams.