How improving your AWS cloud infrastructure can reduce cost and increase capacity

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Vatsal Shah

Director, Cloud & Digital, PwC US


Jayant Raj

Director, Cloud & Digital, AWS Ambassador, PwC US


Scott Weber

Managing Director, Cloud & Digital, AWS Ambassador, PwC US


Most business leaders know that utilizing the cloud is essential if a company is to remain competitive. In fact, in response to PwC’s 2023 Cloud Business Survey, 78 percent of executives said that their company works in the cloud to some extent. But many organizations have struggled to completely migrate their operations to the cloud or to modernize their cloud-based activities, which means that they aren’t taking full advantage of the ability of cloud-computing to cut costs and strengthen digital capabilities. 

How can companies utilize cloud strategies to improve their own company’s cloud architecture? Find out how PwC helped one small business achieve the benefit from its AWS cloud plan and the three steps that could help your cloud strategy work better for you.

Helping improve online operations for a startup company

A healthcare and life sciences startup approached PwC hoping to improve their online operations. The company was using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to engage with clients, but they often faced difficulty with basic issues such as onboarding new customers and scaling their infrastructure to consistently meet the needs of a growing client base. The organization had a small AWS cloud footprint, but it didn’t mesh well with their existing operating model, which led to cost overages.

Using its new cloud-native architecture, the company was able to:

Cut costs by 50% within six weeks Trimmed the deployment cycle from 30+ days to under 60 minutes Reduced the cost of infrastructure from $886,000 a year to less than $200,000 a year

PwC’s 3-step solution in action

Step 1: Get to the root of the problem

Whether migrating to the cloud or building cloud-based infrastructure from scratch, it is crucial to identify what operations you are hoping to move and/or modernize and to recognize any potential roadblocks. That means consulting with team members from across the organization — especially the chief financial officer (CFO) and finance team — to understand the potential costs and benefits of interrupting critical workflows, deconstructing and modernizing monoliths and adopting new levels of automation. What redundant tasks do teams spend the most time on, and can those tasks be streamlined or automated in the cloud to enable team members to use their time and energy more productively? 

As PwC worked through this process with its startup client, it learned that the company had not tagged its online resources to allow it to take advantage of the cloud’s ability to monitor their capacity and usage, a situation that was costing them $8M in annual spending.

Step 2: Become cloud-powered

A common mistake companies make is to attempt to replicate their existing digital systems in the cloud rather than design new platforms that are cloud-native and optimized to meet the needs of their information technology environment while remaining flexible enough to evolve with their business. Five guiding principles to consider when engineering a cloud-native architecture include:

  • Plan for modularity and reusability: A modular architecture — with a single code base —  allows for future services and packages to easily be added and reduces the need for costly maintenance.
  • Be scalable: Meet the demands of your business by allowing more people to use the platform without sacrificing quality.
  • Design with purpose: Empower development teams to customize tech for their business needs, rather than having them select from a generic database of choices.
  • Streamline data: Structure more efficient workflows within modules that are powered by serverless and event-driven architectures. This will allow you to increase the benefits of AWS’s “pay as you use” approach.
  • Tag everything: Giving everything a label — or in the case of the cloud, a tag — helps make navigating simpler and lets you spot and greatly reduce redundancies. Once this system is in place, you can reject future resources that don’t fit into any of the categories you’ve established. 

In the case of PwC’s startup client, the company chief information officer (CIO) reported that it typically took more than 90 days to get each new infrastructure component up and running and a week or two to manually debug and fix glitches. By deploying automation and other features of the cloud, PwC was able to execute a new architecture within four days; the company is now able to reengineer elements of this cloud-native architecture in as little as an hour.

Step 3: Make cloud work for you

Once you have successfully transitioned to the cloud, you’re positioned to start reaping its benefits. By monitoring your tagged resources, you can quickly notice patterns in how company team members and clients interact with them. That can allow you to deploy the optimal number of resources where and when they’re needed while greatly reducing waste. As you develop and launch new applications, such monitoring should also help you see potential problems and avert them. If your operations are fully in the cloud, there is no need to spend money on infrastructure management, as much of the routine monitoring and upkeep of your architecture can be automated using Infrastructure as Code (IaC) methods. You can thus “pay as you go” for these services as opposed to budgeting for a range of possible contingencies.

Following these steps, PwC’s startup client was able to transition to the cloud efficiently and build a sustainable infrastructure there — one in which its internal operations were integrated rather than siloed.

Your cloud, fit for the future

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