This is a guest post authored by Rahul Subramaniam, Founder and CEO of CloudFix.
In this post, we share how our development team saved time and money—and enhanced customer satisfaction—by embedding Amazon QuickSight into our software as a service (SaaS) product. CloudFix is a cloud cost-optimization platform that helps organizations identify cost-saving opportunities in their AWS spending and automate fixes. We help most customers cut AWS costs by about 15%, allowing companies to invest in modernization and higher-order AWS services.
We saw an opportunity to automate a lot of this work for customers, and developed our CloudFix platform. It monitors each AWS resource, identifying cost-saving opportunities based on the following:
- Over 50 alerts AWS issues each week
- Pricing discounts
- Unused resources
- Reserved instances
- Resources that can be moved to cheaper tiers
Because we focused on adding new cost optimizations to our tool, we didn’t focus on reporting. Originally, we built a homegrown analytics solution that used a combination of open source and commercial business intelligence (BI) tools. However, we found that these tools were difficult to integrate with AWS, hard to manage, and expensive to maintain. We found that every customer required different customizations and we were building these on a case-by-case basis.
We were growing quickly, and the solution simply didn’t scale with our needs.
In addition, our services teams spent time manually generating cost optimization reports that often required rework to comply with these specific customer needs and specifications. We also noticed customer usage of the platform’s own very basic reporting function was low, which concerned us because it might have suggested low satisfaction with this feature.
We wanted a solution that would integrate easily with AWS products, scale with us, and be simple for users to use—and for our team to maintain. We wanted to make sure that we spent our time on our core value proposition, and integrating QuickSight allowed us to do that.
QuickSight scales our success
We selected QuickSight because it was straightforward for our team to integrate with our AWS architecture. Its ability to consume data from disparate sources was a huge factor in this choice. QuickSight proved to be incredibly user-friendly for our customers and scaled with our growth.
The basis for all of our customer requirements is analysis of the AWS Cost and Usage Report (CUR). We are lucky in that the CUR is a standard data source, sitting in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), with AWS tools like Amazon Athena.
Implementation was simple: because QuickSight is part of the AWS suite, there are no issues in integrating with a variety of sources, such as Amazon Relationship Database Service (Amazon RDS), CUR in Amazon S3, and Athena. Working with the QuickSight team allowed us to quickly outsource the heavy lifting of generating reports that all of our customers could consume in their own way.
Security is important to our customers, so we use row-level security with user (tenant) based rules to restrict access to the appropriate users.
We spent a few months developing our dashboards, got some customer feedback, and tested them again before rolling them out. From evaluation to launch took less than a year.
The following diagram illustrates our solution architecture.
The following screenshot is an example of our AWS cost savings dashboard.
The following screenshot is an example of our AWS cost savings recommendations dashboard.
The benefits of QuickSight embedded analytics for SaaS
QuickSight has proven a big success for us. Its embedded dashboards are straightforward to use, even for users who aren’t accustomed to using BI tools.
It gives our customers an intuitive, near-real-time view of their AWS savings and progress in achieving goals. The pay-as-you-go pricing makes it effortless for us to offer embedded analytics in our product to every customer and hundreds of free trials.
The following are some key customer benefits:
- Reports are generated on demand instead of overnight
- 66% increase in customer adoption of the reporting feature
- 50% increase in customer satisfaction with reporting output
QuickSight has also been a win for our product team:
- 20% increase in efficiency because many cost-optimization tasks are automated
- 90% reduction in the number of errors in cost-optimization reports because dashboards are automatically generated from our data sources
- 50% reduction in the number of support tickets because customized dashboard views are self-serve
- Pay-as-you-go pricing and related cost savings
We plan to expand our use of QuickSight embedded dashboards to provide our customers with additional insights into their AWS savings opportunities, and we’re excited about new features AWS is building. We look forward to using Amazon QuickSight Q to identify trends and patterns in our data that we wouldn’t be able to see on our own.
We also started using QuickSight to improve our own operations, such as tracking customer behaviors and other trends that help us improve our product and efficiency.
Get started with QuickSight
Embedding the analytics tools of QuickSight in our products has been an undeniable win for us. The tool is straightforward to use, highly performant on large datasets, cost-effective, and uncomplicated for us to maintain. To learn more, visit Amazon QuickSight.
About the Author
Rahul Subramaniam is the Founder and CEO of CloudFix, and a board member of the FinOps Foundation. Throughout his career, Rahul has successfully migrated over 140 enterprise software products to AWS. He has applied over 15 years of experience working with AWS services to create revolutionary products like CloudFix and DevFlows that transform how users build, manage, and optimize in AWS. Rahul is also the founder and co-host of AWS Made Easy Livestream, a leading industry livestream offering a no-holds-barred look at the state and future of AWS and cloud computing.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/business-intelligence/cloudfix-saves-time-and-money-by-using-amazon-quicksight-for-embedded-analytics-for-a-saas-product-within-their-cloud-cost-optimization-platform/