Telstra 'gamifies' cloud cost reduction efforts among internal teams

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Telstra 'gamifies' cloud cost reduction efforts among internal teams

Updated: Encourages resource-sharing arrangements.

Telstra has “almost gamified” internal efforts to reduce cloud consumption costs among its internal teams, leading to the emergence of new models and shared resource arrangements.

The telco revealed the initiative during a presentation to the TBM ‘21 conference late Wednesday, where process architect John Feore talked about Telstra's FinOps - cloud financial management - efforts.

Feore said Telstra had been implementing TBM - technology business management - through Apptio software since 2015, as a way to account for application and IT system costs and to measure the value these assets delivered.

More recently, Telstra has started using Cloudability, a specific cloud financial management platform also made by Apptio, with Feore saying the telco had spent “a fair bit of time … getting Cloudability and Apptio linked together.”

The integration has been in place since June, and coincided with several efforts within Telstra that targeted more efficient and cost-effective use of public cloud services.

Feore said Telstra “runs FinOps for the cloud” - FinOps is a set of practices used to manage cloud spend - and that the FinOps team, together with internal “evangelists”, had “almost gamified” some cost reduction efforts.

“They’re actually trying to get internal competition [between] projects for better ways of designing, reviewing, or sharing some platforms,” he said.

“Even within AWS and Azure, we are sharing platforms and we have multiple applications running on single groups, whether it be data services or whether it be an application platform.”

Feore said evangelists in different areas of the telco had “taken on the business view [of cloud spend] and said, ‘We can do this a lot better, a lot cheaper, a lot more efficiently, by combining all these small cloud things into a shared platform’.”

This was the opposite of “the way people first started [in cloud], which was, ‘I’ve got my small thing and I’m a project team and I’m going to do it as if I was a very large application’,” Feore said.

“I think one of the key things is that Cloudability has been giving them some real access and linkages between performance, between recommendations and how much it’s costing, through to the FinOps team actually being able to see it summarised in Apptio.”

Business managers could also go behind the numbers they saw rolled up into Apptio by looking directly into Cloudability, where they could view change “trends on a daily basis”. 

Story update, 14/10 6.30pm: 

This story originally reported on a second cloud cost reduction initiative whereby Telstra indicated that it had been able to claim over $500,000 of service credits from the three major cloud providers - AWS, Microsoft and Google - allegedly due to incorrect billing over the past “four or five” months.

Telstra has since said these statements were incorrect.

A Telstra spokesman clarified to iTnews: “There were no billing errors from our cloud partners as reported in comments made in yesterday’s TBM ‘21 Conference by our panel speaker.  Our speaker was articulating the internal process improvement to the tracking and optimisation of cloud consumption within Telstra, and incorrectly aligned this to billing errors from partners, which it was not.”

The story has been updated to reflect this.

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