As your organization mature its public cloud programs, the role of Financial Operations (FinOps) becomes increasingly vital. A FinOps approach to IT financial transparency ensures effectively maximized budgets by providing transparency into billing, usage, and overall spend. Tactics like predictable cost models, internal chargeback/showback patterns, and vendor discount and incentive programs unlock cost savings and overall public cloud efficiency. AWS offers discount and incentive programs that can be used to reduce cloud operating costs. Failure to take advantage of applicable programs leaves money on the table.

AWS Enterprise Discount Program

The Enterprise Discount Program (EDP) is one of AWS’s best-kept cost-saving secrets. Organizations that commit to a predetermined annual AWS spend, typically $1 million or more, are eligible for contractually outlined discounts through the EDP. The discount will vary based on spend commitment but is generally ~9%. Qualifying spend can come from leveraging AWS solutions like EC2 on-demand instances, S3, and countless other services. EDP consumption can also be credited via AWS Professional Services, support, training, and the AWS Marketplace. Like traditional Enterprise Agreements or Enterprise Licensing Agreements, the risk of an AWS EDP lies in failure to hit the committed spend threshold. In this case, the user would still be required to pay AWS the committed minimal spend. This risk is fundamentally no different than shelfware purchased in an EA for example. On the other hand, if an organization goes above their contractually committed spend, the discount is applied for any dollar amount over, provided it is not part of an excluded category. A close relationship with your service partner can help validate the overall progress of EDP consumption and outline the best routes for meeting spend commitments. Note that services or training purchased prior to entering an EDP will not have the savings applied. Therefore, the generally recommended flow of a large-scale migration project involves entering an EDP first, then signing up for a specific project or migration program SOW with other opportunities for additional savings.

AWS Partner Opportunity Acceleration Program

AWS has several services programs available to customers based on the size of services spend. These programs can be leveraged to reduce overall services spend and provide cost-optimization for onboarding new applications to the AWS platform. The two main programs for achieving service cost savings (and complimenting EDP savings) are the AWS Partner Opportunity Acceleration (POA) program and the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP). The AWS POA program is for specific projects with well-defined outcomes. To participate in the POA program, organizations typically work with their strategic services partner to establish a specific scope of effort for a new, well-defined project. Total available funding for projects is based on projected AWS consumption for each project.

AHEAD POA Case Study: 

An international organization impacted by COVID-19 wanted to avoid spending millions of dollars on a new on-premises VDI deployment. AHEAD worked with the client to define a specific scope around Amazon Workspaces and AppStream. By leveraging the AWS POA program, AHEAD was able to reduce the organization’s up-front cost of services, therefore accelerating the adoption of Workspaces and AppStream for its global workforce. 

AWS Migration Acceleration Program

MAP is a cost-savings option for organizations seeking accelerated migration of mission-critical workloads into AWS. By working with AWS and your services partner, your organization can achieve fast time-to-migration and start seeing a faster return-on-investment and time-to-value. The MAP program consists of three phases: 1.     The Migration Readiness Assessment phase consists of determining readiness to migrate applications and workloads into AWS and identifying any readiness gaps. This phase is best completed by holding a workshop with your services partner to define the scope and your migration roadmap. 2.    The Migration Readiness and Planning Phase focuses on building the scope of work for what can be a complex, large-scale migration plan. Working closely with your services partner at this stage is the key to ensuring a holistic scope that stitches requirements across your IT stack. 3.     The Migration Phase establishes a migration factory. Alongside AWS and your services partner, you’ll determine which applications may need to be refactored, rehosted, or re-platformed to achieve success.

It’s Never the Wrong Time to Optimize Cloud Spend

IT financial transparency is always a work-in-progress. It is not a one-time event but rather an approach that requires a rigorous evaluation cycle to uncover new ways to achieve efficiencies at scale. Whether your organization is at the beginning of its cloud journey with AWS or a long-time customer looking for ways to optimize costs, these programs are available to help reign in cloud spend. Ultimately, cost savings programs, and FinOps, empowers teams to ensure proper stewardship of their IT budgets.
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