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The pillars of cost optimisation stack up next to one another, with a trophy atop the final pillar.

The Pillars of Successful Cost Optimisation

5 minute read

Chances are optimisation is high on your business’ agenda at the moment – so it’s critical to set a foundation that provides your cost optimisation efforts with both success and longevity.

For many, ‘cost optimisation’ is something of an unpleasant duo of words, conjuring the image of cost cutting and – gulp – downsizing. The reality, however, is that cost optimisation is a more nuanced and far-reaching activity – and in times like these, businesses can’t afford to get squeamish when they hear its name.

Don’t get us wrong: the uptick in IT cost optimisation requirements isn’t just because there are short-term costs to be reduced and pennies to be saved in a crisis. No, there’s much more to it than that, like the long-term governance of costs, lingering security threats, and maximising the efficacy of a significant technology investment.

To ensure success, then, businesses need to shed the fear and gear up for a broader activity than they might have once expected. Doing that (and doing it well) means starting off on the right foot – i.e., consulting what we’re dubbing the Cost Optimisation Pillars.


So…What Are the Cost Optimisation Pillars?


cost optimisation visibility; an eye floats atop a Grecian columnVisibility

First on our list and likely no surprise, Visibility has an important and immediate role to play. Why? Simple: you need a clear view of everything to know what to optimise, acknowledge high-value investments, and identify problem areas.

Before cost optimisation can kick off in earnest, every rock needs to be lifted and every technology cost put on display. That means surfacing cloud cost and resource insights that might not usually be easily (or frequently) accessible to formulate a clear and complete view of Microsoft 365 and Azure.

Only when everything is out in the open can the real fun begin.



Your whole Microsoft world is on display, but is the data easy to understand? Can the stakeholders in non-technical departments interpret the insight without qualifications? And is it clear where the responsibility for different costs falls? This is where we need to ensure we’ve considered Clarity.

With a clear understanding of the licensing, cloud resource, and identity data on display, stakeholders can align expectations with reality to make more confident decisions – but it’s not just about the short term. Clarifying where licensing costs belong, which departments they can be attributed to, and how they’re being used paves the way for a new, smarter approach to cost optimisation that continues far into the future, with everybody heading in the same direction.


Mindset of cost optimisation; a brain floats atop a columnMindset

Remember that fear we mentioned earlier? It can have a severe impact on your cost optimisation success by skewing how your people perceive the programme’s objectives. If you’re going to succeed, you’ll need to adopt the right Mindset. That mindset might look like…

Viewing cost optimisation as a cyclical activity, rather than a one-off exercise, granting continuous improvement and smart decision-making for the long term.

Or approaching cost optimisation in terms of adding value rather than taking it away – specifically considering the possibilities when unearthing under-adopted features or under-utilised cloud resources. Such possibilities still contribute towards the ‘optimisation’ goal, making costs worthwhile and supporting innovation with resources that might have been out of sight.

Whatever your cost optimisation mindset, a wholesale rejection of fear is a must. IT teams, for example, might have anxieties around how historical licence overpayments might be perceived. It needs to be understood that surfacing enough data for accurate, in-depth reporting in real-time is both complicated and time-consuming, removing the opportunity to blame – and taking fear with it.


Approach to cost optimisation; a chess piece sits atop a columnApproach

Visibility, Clarity, and Mindset are all excellent preparatory pillars for cost optimisation success, but to really get things going we need action – which is where we consider the Approach.

An excellent example to follow is the FinOps approach, which doesn’t leave everything to IT, but instead involves other departments with varying points of view and knowledge. Taking this into consideration, the approach should be inclusive of departments, leveraging visibility and clarity to ensure analytics are accessible to everybody.

You can also ask questions to help develop the most effective approach.

For example:

  • Do we have access to the data we need?
  • Do we want to reinvest any optimised costs?
  • Are we interested in reallocating resources?
  • What time scales do we have for this cost optimisation programme?

From here, you can discern what tools and resources will be needed to produce the most effective approach, giving momentum to the insights already gained.


Governance cost optimisationGovernance 

If we’re going to really push for successful cost optimisation, we need to be aware of the pitfall waiting on the other side of the project, ready to undo all our hard work. That pitfall takes the shape of short-term thinking, where continued cost management is an after thought as the project fades into the rear-view mirror.

The only way to clear that pitfall is to implement Governance, ensuring that costs continue to be correctly attributed to the right departments, that feature usage is always being monitored, and that cloud cost visibility and clarity continue to feature across the business.

Not only will proper governance serve as the perfect off-ramp to a successful cost optimisation programme, it’ll also prevent costs from spiralling and spread the cost management work across a longer, more comfortable timeframe. In other words, no intense short-term projects taking over the calendar on a recurring basis.


Being Smart About Cost Optimisation

As you can tell, we’re pretty enthusiastic about what we’ve dubbed smart cost optimisation – ‘smart’ because it takes the process and its outcomes longer-term, managed by governance and Surveil’s rapid in-depth analytics. We’re also fond of our cost optimisation pillars, which underpin both our ‘smart’ philosophy and the Surveil platform itself.

By rapidly delving deeper than native tooling, Surveil provides an impactful Approach to cost optimisation, underpinned by Visibility, Clarity, and Governance capabilities – all feeding into a Mindset of accessible and inclusive long-term optimisation.

As a result, it’s been trusted to play a role in thousands of cost optimisation programmes – and it’s ready to help with many, many more.

To find out more about how Surveil can drive your long-term cost optimisation success, feel free to explore our site. Microsoft Partner looking to leverage Surveil for your customers? Get in touch to find out more about becoming a partner.


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