2022 TBM Council Award Winner:
With UBS’s initial cloud adoption resulting in a dramatic surge of demand for services, new tools and operational perspectives were needed to expand its cloud usage successfully and cost-effectively.
In conjunction with establishing a FinOps team, insights from cloud consumption dashboards provided a broader and more detailed picture of cloud usage and costs across the entire organization. Additionally, educational programs and a shift toward a greater sense of self-ownership allowed the UBS FinOps team to manage the rapid increase in data and cost allocations.
UBS convenes the global ecosystem for investing, where people and ideas are connected and opportunities brought to life, and provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional, and corporate clients worldwide and private clients in Switzerland. UBS offers investment solutions, products, and impactful thought leadership. It is the leading global wealth manager and provides large-scale and diversified asset management, focused investment banking capabilities, and personal and corporate banking services in Switzerland. The firm focuses on businesses that have a strong competitive position in their target markets, are capital efficient, and have an attractive long-term structural growth or profitability outlook.
UBS is present in all major financial centers worldwide. It has offices in more than 50 regions and locations, with about 30% of its employees working in the Americas, 29% in Switzerland, 20% in the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and 21% in Asia Pacific. UBS Group AG employs more than 72,000 people around the world. It lists shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
In 2018, UBS began accelerating the bank’s cloud migration and adoption strategy. Following the first year, it was clear that the firm needed a solution to help automate its cloud cost allocation processes. Furthermore, they needed a way to address recurring queries from clients looking to understand their cloud costs and expenditures. Quickly, growing demand in cloud consumption made their Excel-based and manual processes unscalable and unsuitable in the face of such a large-scale transformation.
UBS introduced its Technology Business Management solution and Cloud FinOps practices at the beginning of 2020 and connected team members across departments to implement new processes that would address the overwhelming demand of transitioning to the cloud.
When UBS introduced TBM at the beginning of 2020, the firm had approximately 1 million rows of billing data each month. UBS now has nearly 17 million rows a month and anticipates this to grow further. With their rules defined in TBM, they can allocate direct and shared cloud services to users across the organization. Additionally, they’ve managed this exponential growth without increasing the size of the billing team.
While it was evident from the earliest stages the FinOps team needed to support their cloud migration, it was also clear they’d need a range of tools to help them. The team built a case for investing in TBM tooling based on the expected optimization benefits and then made an initial investment. The team’s experience with the new TBM tools exceeded their original expectations.
Data generated through the organization’s billing processes was rich enough to develop a ‘cloud consumption dashboard’ that provides details of cloud costs and offers in-depth profit and loss insights. Furthermore, the dashboard optimizes cloud usage by incorporating recommendations from a rightsizing engine — a capability that merges expenditure and utilization data to reveal opportunities to reduce waste.
The dashboard also paired cloud cost data with on-premise cost data, allowing UBS to identify parallel running costs for applications that have migrated to the cloud and on-premises applications they can decommission. Since the firm’s cloud service provider did not provide the reporting structure UBS needed, they developed APIs to build pricing tools that helped clients understand costs for cloud resources and services and determined possible savings by highlighting lower-cost data storage locations.
Accompanying this technical transformation was a set of cultural and behavioral changes. UBS established a small FinOps team with finance and cloud engineering expertise to centrally govern and control cloud costs. Partnering with cloud leads and application teams from divisions across the organization, the team provided comprehensive visibility into cloud expenditures, highlighting the areas where UBS was gaining the most value from its investment.
Leveraging the available data, the team created foundational cloud consumption data dashboards that tracked cloud adoption and provided insights into actual and forecast cloud expenditures at every level of the organization. Executives and business leaders use the dashboard to identify opportunities and drive decisions regarding the overall planning and execution of the organization’s cloud strategy.
Managing the monthly billing process, the team allocated direct and shared costs for cloud usage. By providing transparency tools and training, they helped stakeholders gain a more in-depth understanding of the main drivers of cost.
Enablement and education have been major drivers of success for UBS. After noticing a spike in costs related to unattached disks, the team led a follow-along session with over 150 application owners. “They followed the steps, and you could see people deleting their resources in real-time. That’s incredibly powerful,” said Joanne Ng, UBS Cloud FinOps team.
With executive sponsorship within and across their technology teams, UBS has been able to implement cloud initiatives across the entire organization more effectively.
UBS has taken on a far more agile, ownership-driven outlook that has resulted in greater flexibility when it comes to cloud management. While evaluating their processes, one of the main challenges was the need to address some behavioral changes from implementing new technology. With application owners increasingly being held accountable for their cloud expenditure, they needed to assign the location of their workload based on the most favorable price. There was an inherent tendency for application owners to use Swiss data centers as the base for their development and testing — UBS headquarters are in Switzerland, and these data centers are geographically convenient. However, with no performance benefits from being “next door” — whether latency improvements or additional capabilities — there is little reason why databases shouldn’t be in the most cost-effective locations.
Obtaining a holistic view of cloud costs across the organization was one of the main enhancements made by the FinOps team. For example, the team highlighted the scale of spend on the logging service with the firm’s cloud service provider. After further investigation of consumption across the entire organization, the FinOps team recognized they were logging more data than needed, which came with associated costs. Researching the data allowed them to understand the situation better, enabled the appropriate conversations with teams that use the service, and allowed them to make a fundamental change to what was logged on the cloud.
UBS recognized the need for all parties involved to think differently about their relationship with their technology. To enhance all aspects of their cloud usage — from the technical to the economic — the team initiated a series of educational courses designed to promote a culture of financial accountability within technology.
As a winner of the 2022 TBM Council’s Cloud Transformation Award, the UBS TBM and FinOps leaders provided advice for earlier-stage TBM practices.
Moving to the cloud is more than a technical change. It is a cultural one. Duncan Mok, Head of Cloud FinOps at UBS, said, “It’s important that the financial responsibility for cloud spend is closely aligned to the application owner. This will ensure that the incentives to manage that spend are aligned.” He further highlights that educating the stakeholders on the tools is critical. “Your application and business owners need to know how to navigate the transparency tools that you provide, how to navigate in their new cloud environment, and understand that every decision they make in the cloud has a financial impact, positively or negatively.”
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The winner in this category has made significant strides in transforming the way they develop and support business capabilities by using public cloud infrastructure, platforms, and/or software. The winner uses the facts, tools and processes of TBM (and FinOps) to make (and track) the business case for cloud adoption, enable and govern cloud consumption, ensure cost efficiency (unit economics), and plan for growth.
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Discuss how TBM supports visibility of investments across the enterprise to support setting best practices and standards for managing the impact of environmental, societal, and governance strategies by IT departments and organizations.
The TBM Council Standards Committee has built out TBM integration models with other IT disciplines, including Enterprise Agile and Product Thinking, as well as ServiceNow CSDM. Current findings will be shared to drive group discussion, experience, and feedback.
Public cloud strategies are often embraced for the promise of rapid scalability, on-demand agility, and best-in-class security, resiliency, and features. However, public cloud adoption presents significant financial challenges that, when not addressed, inhibit any firm’s ability to exploit the promises of public cloud.
To address these challenges, customers need to simultaneously resolve current inefficiencies and build capability to ensure avoidance of waste in the long term.
In this session we discuss a detailed framework combining TBM-Cloud with FinOps, allowing customers to understand how to implement a program to overcome these challenges and financially succeed in the cloud.
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A look back at 10 years of TBM leadership and community building.
Introduced more than 10 years ago, Technology Business Management (TBM) was born out of the need for CIOs to have a management system to drive their technology operating strategy. At its core, the TBM discipline gives visibility into technology spend to provide common ground and enable a collaborative partnership across teams for prioritizing resources and achieving business outcomes. In this session, the TBM Council Standards Committee Chair, Atticus Tyson will share how over the past few years TBM has evolved to ensure leaders are able to accelerate digital initiatives, embrace the cloud, and communicate today’s complex technology landscape. TBM enables organizations to frequently and quickly evaluate projects, platforms, and investments to address the needs of the modern enterprise.
Atticus Tyson and Phil Alfano will guide the group through an executive discussion to capture “What is digital success to you?”. Is it how your organization creates new business capabilities? The elimination of legacy processes and systems? Funding innovation? Or all of the above as long as it drives an improved customer experience? Discuss with your table mates, as an overall group, and capture learnings and takeaways to bring back to your own team.
How does a 170-year-old financial institution deliver a new, fully modernized technology strategy while supporting 24×7 service to their customers across a multitude of platforms, including point-of-sale, mobile, and web services? Mike Brady, Nicole Holmes, and Chad Schmidt will share how at Wells Fargo, they are creating a Technology Infrastructure team founded in the TBM discipline and responsible for aligning with internal partners to adopt an automation first approach for accelerating the delivery of services and deploying enhancements at speed. All while remaining compliant, secure, and agile.
It’s been two years since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. To re-imagine employee and customer experiences, every company was forced to speed up their shift to digital from multi-year project plans to instead creating, executing, and delivering new business models in a matter of weeks. As we emerge from this crisis, we recognize this shift is not slowing down but exponentially increasing as businesses continue to respond to societal expectations of anytime, anywhere. In this session, Sunny Gupta will share how the companies best positioned to quickly respond to changing market conditions and hyper competition have a holistic view of their technology spend so they can be agile in their investment decisions, use the cloud as a competitive advantage, and align their resources to product delivery models and continuously measure value.
Spinning up a cloud-native posture is a desired strategy for many organizations, however few have the time, resources, and budget to achieve 100% public cloud operations. In 2018, Equifax set a 5-year goal to achieve this, striving to provide their customers with faster innovation, more flexible business agility, and stronger cybersecurity. Hear from RJ Hazra, SVP & CFO, Technology on the lessons and successes the Equifax team has found along their journey, and what remains as they cross into their final year of their company-wide digital transformation.
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Session abstract coming soon
TBM empowers hundreds of decision makers with the facts they need to execute a digital strategy faster, without bias, and in alignment across business units. This includes technology consumers, service and application owners, LOB CIOs, enterprise PMOs, compliance leaders, budget coordinators, and many more. What are the fundamentals of developing and executing a successful TBM practice? In this session, experienced practitioners will share the lessons and foundations they’ve learned delivering business value for their organizations with TBM.
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