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Optimising cloud costs for a large professional services organisation

A global professional services organisation needed a way to reduce cloud expenses. Objectivity’s team used a combination of cloud expertise, FinOps know-how, and modern optimisation tools to significantly lower costs.

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About the Client

The Client is an international professional services network with headquarters in the United Kingdom. The company operates in more than a hundred countries and is one of the world’s largest professional services networks.

Industry Professional Services
Technology Cloud, Azure, GCP, FinOps, Turbonomics, Aptio

Key Achievements

  • Annual cloud spend reduced by over £2 million
  • Thorough audit of the Client’s cloud landscape, allowing for the identification of precise needs
  • An individualised set of best practices and recommendation for the future

The challenge 

Business Need

Our Client, one of the big four professional services organisations, has been utilising cloud resources for many of their applications over the span of several years. However, upon closer inspection, they noticed that the combined Azure and Google Cloud Platform expenses significantly exceeded their budget assumptions. To address this issue, the Client began looking for a way to lower their cloud resource spend — without having to shut down any of their applications or remove any important functionalities. 

In order to achieve this goal, the Client needed guidance from a company with proven cloud expertise, especially in the area of resource optimisation. On account of many successful collaborations in the past, Objectivity was selected to deliver the project. 

The solution

Project Details

The scope of the optimisation comprised over 3000 assets, including applications, databases, virtual machines, and storage volumes. Objectivity’s team of cloud consultants and DevOps engineers started the engagement by performing a current state audit and configuring the cost optimisation tools used in the Client’s organisation. The tools in question were Turbonomic, Aptio and ParkMyCloud.

As anticipated, the audit identified multiple potential areas for improvement and proposed ways to address them. At this point, the team began working on the MVP phase of the project, focusing on the changes that were quickest and easiest to implement. This included:

Matching cloud resources to technical and business owners — ensuring that all assets and services are still operational and that their ownership is assigned correctly.

Improved reporting on resource costs and utilisation — implementing detailed reporting to better track inefficiencies and showcase how they compound into a substantial financial loss.

Creating a list of assets for potential cost reduction activities — some of the cloud assets couldn’t be modified as a result of the Client’s internal requirements. Identifying and grouping the assets that can be rightsized or otherwise optimised was a crucial part of the engagement.

Identifying the hosting needs — working with technical and business owners to determine the actual hosting requirements. This allowed for selecting the most effective hosting solutions and avoiding the underutilisation of resources.

After completing these steps, the team commenced with the implementation phase of the project. The activities at this point included:

  • Powering down the assets being used outside of working hours with a combination of out-of-the-box optimisation tools and custom scripts developed by the team,
  • Decommissioning the assets that are no longer supporting any business processes,
  • Resizing the infrastructure,
  • Optimising the use of assets by employing containerisation and deployment to common clustering whenever possible.

In addition to significant reduction of the cloud expenses, the Client received a list of recommendations and best practices to implement in their future projects.

The results

Business Benefits

The project was a success, as it contributed to a significant cloud cost reduction in the Client’s organisation. After investigating the full list of assets, the team managed to identify several major improvements. Implementing these optimisations allowed the Client to lower their cloud expenses by more than 40%, resulting in over £2 million of annual savings.

The Objectivity team managed to achieve this without having to decommission in-use functionalities or causing any negative impact to the business. This was possible thanks to the smart use of containerisation and leveraging modern cloud optimisation tools. It’s important to note that the cost of the project itself was very low when compared to the cost reduction it resulted in — total expenses amounted to approximately 2.5% of the amount saved.

Over the course of the project, the team, in cooperation with the Client’s stakeholders, developed an individualised set of best practices for their subsequent cloud projects. This, alongside the implemented solutions, should ensure the efficient use of cloud resources in the Client’s organisation in the future.

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