Use Case: Measuring the KPIs that matter through lean capture and reporting of cloud service metrics.

Posted by
Denis Murphy Mar 12, 2018 10:14:04 AM

The problem we solve:

We help businesses make informed business decisions by proving timely reports on the best practice KPIs that matter.

Problem background:

Rapidly growing technology companies increasingly rely on a multitude of cloud services to deliver their business. To get to market quickly they combine Software-as-a-Service bug trackers, service desks, project trackers, log aggregators and monitoring tools along with cloud hosting and storage. These cloud services give businesses the agility to react quickly to market opportunities but create a challenge for the operational staff who manage them. Senior executives and investors are demanding to know what is working and what is not but the range of cloud services makes this difficult. Without Key Performance Indicators the value of cloud services to the business is impossible to quantify. Only by measuring best practice KPIs across cloud services can processes be optimized to manage operational cost and increase profit.

ServiceClarity solves this problem by automating the reporting of best practice KPIs across cloud services so that senior executives can make strategic decisions.

ServiceClarity Use Case:

PhotoGraph is a photo sharing service that arranges uploaded mobile photos into family albums. 10% of PhotoGraph’s 30m users have upgraded to the premium service and are generating revenues. The remaining 27m users are currently a cost of the freeMium service. To secure the next funding round, the PhotoGraph CEO wants John, the VP of Operations, to reduce the cost-per-user by 10% while meeting the aggressive feature roadmap. Before each monthly board meeting the CEO asks John for a service cost and service rollout report.

Like most operations managers of rapidly growing technology companies, John depends on cloud services to scale PhotoGraph. The PhotoGraph service is hosted on Amazon EC2 and each new customer is allocated storage in Amazon S3. DevOps track the development and release of new features in Jira, while TechOps rely on Pingdom, New Relic and Splunk to detect faults that they subsequently record in Jira. All customer service requests are recorded in ZenDesk.

Every month, a week before the board meeting, John scrambles to get his CEO the information he needs. Each of the cloud services has inbuilt reports but the operational reports have too much detail for an executive board report so John spends several hours exporting data from each cloud service and manually creating his reports. John is extremely busy keeping the service up and delivering new features. While he understands the need for regular executive reporting he thinks once a month is regular enough. Deep down John knows that he’s reporting the information he can easily get and not in enough detail on the things he’s doing well. He’s always wanted to get a better understanding of where operational time is spent but ironically has never had the time to find out.

ServiceClarity Can Help:

One day, John reads about ServiceClarity and decides to sign up for an evaluation. He reckons that he’ll quickly find out if ServiceClarity can help him generate his monthly reports. To understand cost and service rollout John decides to monitor Amazon Web Services and Jira. The ServiceClarity team configure the connectors and by the end of the week John is looking at best-practice KPIs for Amazon and Jira.

The ServiceClarity Cost KPIs provide John a breakdown of Amazon cost by service (EC2 and S3) and by environment (Production and Dev). When John looks at the Cost KPIs he immediately notices that the cost of Production servers is unusually high. He then looks at the ServiceClarity Utilisation KPIs and notices that 5% of Production servers are underutilised. John asks his DevOps team to turn off unutilised servers and within days 20% of the cost of Production servers is removed. John decides to spend more time finding out what else ServiceClarity can tell him.

This time John wants to know about feature rollout so he looks at the ServiceClarity Efficiency KPIs. Browsing Jira KPIs he notices an increasing number of overdue features. The KPI breakdown confirms his suspicion that the Core Platform team are responsible for almost all of the overdue features. Checking the Jira ticket backlog he sees the same Core Platform team are running behind and tickets are mounting up. This is not good. Before raising this concern, John checks with the Core Platform team lead and discovers that half the team are either sick or on leave. He immediately reallocates developers from Management App team who have been increasingly delivering features ahead of schedule.

When it comes to the end of the month, John’s CEO asks for the usual service cost and service rollout report. Using ServiceClarity John publishes the 2 reports to his CEO. When the CEO opens the report he reads the highlights John has added:

Reduced cost per user by 3% by eliminating $20k Amazon server costs per month
Delivered expected features by moving Management App developers to Core Platform team

In the comments, John has added:

This month I plan to reduce support costs by increasing the First Line Fix.

When John’s CEO later congratulated him, and asked if he could get a similar report next month, John smirked and replied:

I’ll schedule a weekly report in ServiceClarity, you’ll get an update email every week so know as soon as I do

The Result:

In under a month, ServiceClarity had made John’s life a whole lot easier. He no longer spent precious hours generating reports. His CEO no longer chased him for reports. John spent his time analysing reports instead of generating them and soon realised he could make improvements in almost every operational process. John knew that if he continued to make similar improvements each month, he’d reduce the cost-per-user by 10% in just a few months, and he’d meet the deadlines of the aggressive product roadmap. Thanks to ServiceClarity John could deliver real business value, putting PhotoGraph in the perfect position for the next funding round.

Topics: JIRA, Business Value Dashboards, metric reporting, DevOps

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