How to sell in a Well Architecture Review to your CTO

Chand Tailor 16th March 2021

Do you have a niggling feeling your cloud platform is costing more than it should?

How sure are you that you’re realising the full economic benefits of your Amazon Web Services on a continuous basis?

Do you have 100% confidence in your cloud infrastructure to achieve desired business outcomes?

Much in the same way you’d regularly service your car, if you want the best from your cloud architecture, regularly assessing your environment is the best way to accelerate and optimise cloud performance. Not only will you benefit from clarity over an ever-changing environment, you avoid falling into the trap of compromised performance and efficiency – and could save a pretty penny too!

This is why we’ve partnered with AWS to offer a free Well Architected Review.

The Well Architected Review is an architectural assessment based upon the AWS Well Architected Framework, providing a health check of your cloud services. The objective is to provide you with a detailed 1:1 consultation and recommendations to meet best practices, and help you make an informed decision to increase the business value delivered by your preferred cloud solution.

It can also help put those niggling feelings to rest and reboot your confidence in the platform – and in turn your team’s and boss’s confidence in you.

What’s more, if you choose ECS to support the resolution of any issues identified, you could be eligible for up to $5,000 credit from AWS.

So, in exchange of having just one meeting with our team, you get:

  • A full review of your cloud architecture,
  • A detailed report and recommendations, plus,
  • The opportunity to explore how to resolve high impact issues.

All for free.

The next step is convincing your CTO or Head of Cloud that it’s worth booking that first meeting.

Here, we present five compelling arguments for you that will sway their opinion and convince them to invest in a Well-Architected Review.

1. A Well-Architected Review protects your brand

‘Prevention is better than cure’ – a phrase coined by Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus.

Preventive measures are not only more manageable, it’s cheaper and less damaging to your brand than a cure. You just need to look at the cyber-attack that brought the New Zealand Stock Exchange to its knees, or Npower closing down its app (and years’ worth of R&D and software development) because of a data breach.

In the world of cloud technology, prevention is built in the way of identifying and managing who can do what with privilege management, protecting systems, and establishing controls to detect security events. It can also encapsulate the confidentiality and integrity of data, protecting your business at the source.

Providing an overview of best practices and design principles, a Well-Architected Review can identify the existence of the principle of least privilege and enforce separation of duties with appropriate authorisation for each interaction with your AWS resources.

It can also flag the absence or weaknesses in traceability (ability to monitor, alert, and audit actions and changes to your environment in real time) and advise the best automated software-based security mechanism to improve your ability to securely scale more rapidly and cost-effectively.

What’s more, a Well-Architected Review can help prepare you for security events. This includes recommending tools and processes that enable you to run incident response simulations and use tools with automation to increase your speed for detection, investigation, and recovery.

Putting a mechanism in place to regularly evaluate your workloads, identify high risk issues, and record your improvements will strengthen your response, grant you transparency over your entire cloud estate and act as a preventive measure – better (and cheaper) than any cure on the market.

2. Gain a consistent approach to evaluate architectures and implement designs that can scale

One of the best features of the Well-Architected Review is that you know exactly what you are getting. This is because the review follows a set of best practices which have been field-tested by all business verticals and use cases.

This is otherwise known as the Well-Architected Framework and adheres to five pillars: Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Performance Efficiency, and Cost Optimisation.

These principles are based on years of research and design, and the review of thousands of customers’ architectures on AWS. This means that the report and recommendations you receive can help you compare yourself against competitors and means you can monitor your progress against a consistent benchmark.

The cost optimisation pillar also makes it possible to analyse spend over time. This transparency ensures your business is selecting the most appropriate resource types and capacity when you need to scale up or down, without unnecessary costs.

3. Take advantage of the services AWS introduce, as they introduce them

Well-Architected Reviews serve as a tune-up to help keep pace with the velocity of AWS innovation. New AWS services come at a high volume and speed, and the Review ensures you’ve been introduced to the most modern services when they become available. Not only will this improve your cloud usage, it will ensure your infrastructure is robustly-designed for existing and future business needs.

You’ll also have access to a team of AWS Solutions Architects or AWS Well-Architected Partners (like ECS) who can help you interpret the flow of new AWS services, with some immediately addressing issues like cost and operational excellence. Because AWS adoption has happened with such velocity, and modern infrastructure skills generally remain scarce, there are many existing implementations that need attention – and ECS has a team trained up and ready to pass on their knowledge to you.

4. Resolve pressing issues at pace

If you spot a hole in your boat, how long do you leave it before fixing it?

For the analytical out there, you might say this depends where on the boat the hole is. A hole in the deck is a far more pressing issue than a hole at the top of the gunwale, for instance – with which we’d have to agree with you. But sail into an unpredictable and aggressive storm and the gunwale hole can start causing problems you didn’t think would surface.

The AWS Well-Architected Review is a blueprint of all the holes in your boat. Some are more urgent than others, but all threaten the integrity of your infrastructure, and potentially any business operations that depend on this infrastructure. The good news is, this blueprint is not only available to you for free, you could access a team of AWS Solutions Architects on hand to help you remediate any pressing issues almost immediately*.

In fact, around 80% of customers who opt in for a Well-Architected Review proceed with the recommended remediations. The credit incentive might have something to do with this high intake, but it’s more likely the benefits of acting on recommendations.

This includes cost savings of 18-50% and the elimination of security gaps and risks, to improved performance of applications.

Reviews are also an excellent opportunity to align technical and business objectives. While the scope of a Review might set out with a high-priority workload focus, it’s not uncommon for these conversations to attract a cross-section of key stakeholders. This can include cloud infrastructure, IT operations, engineering, SRE, support, product, finance, and more – teams that might not regularly meet, but greatly benefit when they do.

These collaboration work sessions evolve into exactly the discussions you want to be having in your business:

  • How is modern infrastructure going to give us an advantage in the marketplace?
  • How do we know if our cloud infrastructure is “well-architected” enough to achieve desired business and technical outcomes?
  • How can we leverage cloud technology to deliver a better customer experience, faster idea-to-cash, and scalability?

Once you start asking the right questions as a collective, you turn pockets of knowledge into business intelligence.

5. AWS’ intentions are genuine

AWS is keen for you to use its services. Of course they are. Every time you tap into the latest services on offer, your experience with the platform improves, and AWS is keen to ensure every customer sees this value first-hand.

With this in mind, it’s fair to say that Well-Architected is more than just a concept at AWS. Given their relentless focus on customer satisfaction, AWS is genuinely committed to getting every customer practicing Well-Architected principles. So much so, they have put skin in the game by offering these Reviews at no charge.

AWS sweetens the pot further by billing credits as an incentive – up to $5,000. These credits can be used against remediations carried out to address high risk issues identified in the process within 30 days of the Well-Architected Review.

What’s more, AWS has invested in a powerhouse team of AWS Well-Architected Partner Program members. Each member has in-depth training on the Well-Architected Framework and are equipped to implement best practices, measure the state of your workloads, and suggest improvements where assistance is required – so you know you’re in good hands!


Next steps:

With cloud technology becoming a more centralised component of your IT estate, understanding the costs, commitment and limitations is vital to maximising its value. Being able to trust the security and reliability of your solution is of equal importance.

The Well-Architected Review is one of the keyways to help ensure your workloads are always capable of running the business in an optimised secure environment. By opting in, your business can benefit from:

  • Understanding and Reducing Risk Associated to Your Cloud Solution
  • Reducing Operational Costs
  • Minimising System Failures
  • Identifying and Fixing Security Gaps
  • Maintaining Operational Efficiency

What’s more, if you choose ECS to support the resolution of any issues identified, you could be eligible for up to $5,000 credit from AWS.

If this has helped pique the interest of your CTO or Head of Cloud, be sure to book an AWS Well-Architected Review and start optimising your cloud environment today.

*Please note, if work is required that takes you beyond the credit allowance, this will be discussed with ECS before commencement and billed accordingly should you wish to go ahead.


More about the author

Chand Tailor is a leader in Cloud Consultancy and Business Strategy. Having been at industry leading cloud native consultancies, Chand has developed technical, strategic, and commercial skills through working for a variety of blue-chip customers, especially in regulated industries such as Financial Services and Public Sector. He is currently Head of Portfolio in the Cloud practice at ECS.

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