Cloud cost control: expense management and auditing for SaaS and beyond

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Cost management, security, and governance challenges
  3. Lessons from telecom expense management
  4. Unique challenges of the cloud
  5. The benefits of increasing visibility
  6. Steps to cost management and cost governance
  7. Call to action
  8. Key takeaways
  9. About David S. Linthicum
  10. About David Linthicum


Today’s Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings enable near-instant productivity and capacity. Businesses, however, have little visibility into or control over their cloud solutions’ true cost.

Cloud computing allows lines of business to self-provision tools, often without IT’s knowledge. The result is an increase in localized productivity. But provisioned systems are often redundant, contracts are poorly optimized, and businesses are unable to manage or audit the lifecycle and usage of these services. They also lack the data and clout to negotiate more favorable terms.

Cloud computing may put unprecedented power into the hands of business users, but the processes for centralizing management and auditing distributed resources are not new. The challenges that businesses face today are similar to those telecom expense management faced 10 years ago. Considering telecom’s best practices and tool sets can help us develop methods and techniques that maximize the benefits of the emerging cloud computing space.

Key findings in this report include:

  • Most enterprises don’t know if they are paying too much for cloud services. Centrally monitoring and managing cloud-computing expenses and cloud resources can help companies derive the best value for their businesses.
  • Cost governance — that is, the use of polices to limit or otherwise control and monitor the use of cloud services — is emerging as a best practice.
  • Many lessons from telecom expense management and other asset and management processes apply to SaaS and other cloud services.
  • Auditing and selection of the asset-management tool are important considerations when setting up these processes.
  • Before the number of cloud services grows too numerous and difficult to inventory and track, enterprises should follow a well-defined process for implementing cost management and governance.

Thumbnail image courtesy of byryo/iStock.

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