Coles keeps a close watch on its Azure cloud costs

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Coles keeps a close watch on its Azure cloud costs

Looks to justify its "nearly-doubled" tech budget.

Coles Group is using Apptio’s Cloudability product to manage its consumption of Azure cloud resources and to help different parts of the business understand the cost of infrastructure underpinning the applications they use.

Senior finance manager for technology Paul Dubaich told the TBM Council’s ‘21 conference this week that Coles has used Cloudability for about 18 months.

The grocery retailer called Azure its “platform of choice” in mid-2019, and uses it to host a range of core applications including SAP S/4 HANA for enterprise resource planning (ERP).

In addition to using Cloudability, Coles has also adopted ApptioOne to understand its IT expenses and spend, and to tie this outlay directly to value being achieved in the business.

ApptioOne places Coles on a TBM - technology business management - “journey”, albeit one Dubaich noted is still “quite early days”.

Dubaich said that Coles had “nearly doubled” its investment in technology over the past “three or four years”.

That brought with it a certain amount of “pressure” to justify the increased spending from a return-on-investment perspective, and to push as much of this spend as possible into opex rather than capex.

Dubaich said that while business functions could see the value that their applications or systems provided, they may be unaware just how resource-intensive these systems were on the backend.

“As we started moving to cloud based infrastructure, and [with the support of] end-to-end product teams, we've seen an opportunity for those business management functions to start closing that [knowledge] gap,” he said.

The TBM model, and the enabling Apptio software platforms, meant that Coles could increasingly “distinguish between our business functions, our supply chain and online brand [around] what it takes to support those functions at a technology level.”

Although early days, Dubaich said that Coles is also able to more accurately show the “immediate and immense business benefit” of using machine learning and advanced analytics in different parts of the business.

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