SkyArch Networks provides a service called “SKY-OPT” which packages AWS account management, billing management, monitoring, operation, and optimization based on AWS Well-Architected Framework into one and enables its customers to use IT infrastructure on AWS securely and efficiently.
AWS billing solution is one of the major pillars of SKY-OPT, freeing its end clients from complex cost management, and making it possible for them to pay the bills in domestic currency instead of in US dollars when they receive the invoices directly from AWS.
SkyArch Networks spent a considerable amount of man-hours on the billing operations every month previously. The process started off with exporting Cost and Usage Report (CUR) from the AWS console with switching accounts managed for login and logout. The data obtained were then merged and processed in Microsoft Excel files and filtered by each client. The generated invoices then needed to be double-checked and confirmed by the respective account executives for each client in case there were any miscalculations or misunderstanding on the business terms between the sales team and the back office.
Reserved Instances (RIs) and Savings Plans (SP) management were also a source of pain to the Sales Support team at SkyArch Networks. The team had to review the bills for RIs and SP that were delivered separately, in order to confirm the amount used by instance type and region before accurately reflecting the amount to the respective invoices. The manual nature of these tasks increasingly strained the team as the number of accounts managed by SkyArch Networks increased.
“We tried to complete the process within three days every month, but we often end up working late nights”, recalls Tomomi Yoshida from the Sales Support team. It usually took 9 man-days (3 people x 3 days) before passing the invoices to the account executives for further review.
SkyArch Networks heard of Alphaus Cloud through the AWS user community and thought that it would solve the problems that plagued their team. SkyArch Networks had Ripple, an account and billing management component of Alphaus Cloud, on free trial to see if it would automate the manual billing process required before issuing invoices to its clients, and mitigate another problem related to a tacit knowledge.
The complexity of AWS cost often results in the situation where a company relies solely on a specific person with a clear understanding over AWS cost and who is usually one of the most experienced AWS engineers in the company. The knowledge on AWS cost calculation and billing tends to be limited to that person, thus becoming tacit and individualized. SkyArch Networks experienced the same problem at the time.
SkyArch Networks also intended to confirm that Alphaus’ solution would optimize the operational cost for running the AWS billing solution in the mid- to long-term.
Why Alphaus Cloud
After completing the free trial, SkyArch Networks found that Alphaus Cloud would automate most of the steps in the billing process which was labor-intensive. SkyArch Networks also verified that the human errors in the billing job with zero tolerance for mistakes and the problem on the individualized tacit knowledge could be significantly decreased, and decided to sign up with Alphaus Cloud.
Tomomi refers to Alphaus’ support as another reason that SkyArch Networks chose Alphaus Cloud. “There are still few services in the industry that support the customers in the local languages and in the same time zone. We are satisfied with the support provided by the Customer Success team at Alphaus in Japanese, who are backed by a deep knowledge and experience on AWS billing.”
Automating the manual jobs for calculation and invoicing with Alphaus Cloud improved the working efficiency and productivity at SkyArch Networks. The process of data collection, processing and calculation which took 9 man-days in the past has been fully automated.
“We no longer have to log in and log out of each AWS account’s console to fetch the cost data. Now, we have Alphaus Cloud that can manage a large number of AWS accounts in one place, and we can check the spend there,” says Tomomi.
With the increased efficiency, now SkyArch Networks can focus on jobs that deliver values to its clients. SkyAch Networks also provides Wave, a cost dashboard component of Alphaus Cloud designed for end clients, to its clients as a part of SKY-OPT.
“Need and granularity for cost allocation differs from one client to another. Alphaus Cloud enables us to deliver the customized cost reporting and billing to our clients effortlessly,” Tomomi continues.
SkyArch Networks keeps its effort on delivering better customer experience as well as improving the profitability through purchasing RIs and SP more strategically.