November 02

Professional Certificate In Business Analytics

Enhance your statistical knowledge and analytical [...]


June 25

Understanding Your Market Through a Data Management Platform | Three Piece Marketing

As marketers, we all want to avoid wasting preciou [...]

Posted by 3PM Support

As marketers, we all want to avoid wasting precious dollars on campaigns that don’t work. If we have it our way, we’d like our strategies to be on point and to deliver results right away. But – and as much as we may like to believe it – it’s not all rainbows in the marketing world and we are bound to fall short numerous times before we get the right marketing recipe that will bring in money into our businesses. (Well unless you are using data management of some description…).

But fear of falling short should not render us impotent. Sometimes it is a case of not seeing the forest for the trees. But, the good news is, there are things that we can do to minimise our errors and create more meaningful and efficient campaigns that make our ROI worthwhile, these things can be achieved through a data management platform.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the role of data management platforms in data-driven marketing and how we can maximise one to make our work as marketers easier and more productive.

Leaning into Data-Driven Marketing

If you’re one of the marketers who rely on gut feeling, constantly telling yourself, I think this will work for my customers, then you are someone who needs to read on. Nowadays, it is hard to stand out as a brand by simply relying on your hunch, especially when there is so much data available for you to leverage. There’s no way you can predict what your target market will do or what their needs and behaviour will be except by analysing real customer information.

If you want to provide meaningful experiences and value to consumers (because let’s face it, this is what brings them back time and time again), beyond the obvious first sale, you need to invest in data-driven marketing which gives you useful insights into the preferences of your customers.

Why is data important in marketing?

We cannot emphasise enough the value and overlap between IT platform management and marketing, specifically, using customer data analysis from IT based initiatives. In fact, some of the most compelling benefits you can take away from shifting your marketing approach include.

  • Clearer understanding of the target audience
  • Better understanding of where they engage and when
  • More ways to develop personalised advertising messages
  • Engaging communication with your customers in the right channel

In short, solid analysis facilitated by a customer data platform manager, will enable you to target your customers at the right time and through the right promotional channel. Not only is this a more native experience and one which people engage with more, but it translates to more satisfied customers, increased revenue, and improved loyalty.  Who wouldn’t want that, right?

But how can you gather data to make your marketing efforts better and more targeted?

Types of Data

  • First-Party Data. This is first-hand data that you collect from your customers and prospects when they use your website, subscribe to your email list, engage in your social media posts, download your app, and other related actions they do within assets that you own.
  • Second-Party Data. This is information that you acquire from a partner company with whom you signed a data sharing agreement with.
  • Third-Party Data. This data is readily available for use by the public (you may need to buy it) and is usually collated by marketing research groups, website analysis companies, and analytics platforms.

In evaluating your market, your first-party data will provide the most useful information. However, to ensure accuracy in what you collate, we recommend you compare your own data with industry insights so that you can have a more intelligent approach to developing your branding and advertising strategy.

Tools You Can Use to Find Data

It is all good and well to tell you to use data-driven marketing but the catch is, , actually collecting data that matters. Top-level quantitative or qualitative data is not going to cut it. It is important you use the data-driven marketing tools – not only ones that allow you to collate information easily, but which allow you to leverage it for true insight. In our experience, there are a few key tools you should consider when gearing up.

  • Google Data Studio – This is an amazing platform that allows you to import data Analytics, Google Ads, BigQuery, and spreadsheets. You can also integrate other tools including SEMRush, Ahrefs, and the like. And the interface is easy to use
  • AnyRoad – If you want to gather data from live experiences to help improve your understanding of your customers’ buying behaviour, AnyRoad is a must for your business.
  • GetFeedback – Learning about how satisfied consumers are about your product or service is key to helping you modify your offering to further meet the needs of the people who need it. A tool like GetFeedback, which you can integrate with SalesForce, gives you valuable data straight from the customers who used your product or service.

Creating a Strategy Using Data

It’s hard to collect information when you don’t know what you’ll be using the results for. As such before you even attempt to gather data, you should first establish clear marketing goals and objectives and postulate what you may want to do. Look at the current performance of your product or service and your company and then identify areas of improvement that you can use as the basis for your objectives.

Let’s say, for instance, that you’ve been paying to show your ads on Facebook and the Google Display Network but you notice that your business is not getting enough traction. Despite the paid ads, you are not getting sufficient leads to make you profitable. The questions you might have include:

  • Are my ads not communicating well to my target audience?
  • Am I showing my ads in the right place?
  • Where are the majority of my target audience hanging out online?

First thing you should do, would be to develop some theories as to the causes of your business dilemma, and then counterbalance it with your end goal and of course, the data that you need to collect so that you can create a plan that will help you achieve your end goal.

This is when you can start collecting data from different sources. Remember to use a data IT management platform to organise the data and for you and your team to easily analyse the information collected later on.

At the start, use Google Data Studio or another simple to use insights tool that you find comfortable using as your data management platform. As you get more skilled, then look to change it up to a more powerful suite. But this should all come once you have proven it is working and have extra money as a result to spend on a better data management platform.

Once all of the data points you need are laid out properly, transform raw data into the metrics that you can use to devise a new data-driven strategy. You and your team can now brainstorm ways forward including campaigns you can launch as part of your experiential marketing plan.

But don’t treat it as a set and forget, make sure you are constantly monitoring and tweaking things to drive towards better performance.

A final thought on Data Management Platform

It may have once been the way to go, but today, it is not enough to expect that advertising alone will boost sales. You need to be more intentional and data-driven. By shifting to a data-driven approach, you can help reach your customers at the right time and you can craft more personalised messages that they will truly love.

If you are seeking help to make the shift to data management and analysis as part of your marketing strategy, consult us here at Three Piece Marketing today.

October 31

Enterprise Archiving | Infront Systems

Secure long-term retention of backups to your priv [...]

Enterprise Archiving

Protect applications and data residing within your data centre or the public cloud, with the same enterprise-level capability.  Deliver highly efficient and secure long-term retention of backups to your private cloud, or enterprise-class public cloud object-storage, as well as to a selection of additional public cloud providers.

Infront's technology services achieves compliance with long-term retention requirements for both structured data and unstructured content. This scalable archiving solution is designed to deliver operational efficiencies and significant cost savings. With information governance, unified archived and enterprise scalability, your applications and data are fully protected.

 

Why Infront?

Our Unity Reference Architecture was engineered for customer success, integrating best-in-class technologies to deliver Hybrid Cloud outcomes without compromising on security, governance or control. Infront delivers policy based control for cloud native services to deliver unprecedented control and agility.  

Infront’s team of engineers have the knowledge and experience to engineer and build an enterprise Hybrid Cloud environment to suit your needs without compromise. 

Infront’s hybrid cloud approach is backed by 18 years of data centre experience. With strong technical depth and alignment to industry trends Infront can unlock greater business value in placing your organisation on the path to modernisation and hybrid cloud.

October 31

Data Protection | Infront Systems

See how we use technology to protect your organisa [...]

Data Protection

Data is an organisations most valuable asset. Protecting the data ensures security, integrity and availability. If something goes wrong, an organisation must minimise the loss of data, and ensure that business critical data is constantly available with minimum downtime. In order to ensure that your data is always available, we ensure that it is constantly backed up. Backups are a crucial aspect of hybrid cloud environments as regular backups will minimise the loss of data in the event of disaster. 

Infront's data protection technology will also protect your organisations' data from unauthorized access and modification. Infront brings together a full range of on-premises and Cloud data protection—including backup-to-disk, backup-in-Cloud, LTR to cloud, ProtectPoint backup, snapshot and replication management, and tape—under a common management interface.

Infront ensures unified management, cloud-enabled data protection, high performance, flexibility and reliable recovery.

 

Why Infront?

Our Unity Reference Architecture was engineered for customer success, integrating best-in-class technologies to deliver Hybrid Cloud outcomes without compromising on security, governance or control. Infront delivers policy based control for cloud native services to deliver unprecedented control and agility.  

Infront’s team of engineers have the knowledge and experience to engineer and build an enterprise Hybrid Cloud environment to suit your needs without compromise. 

Infront’s hybrid cloud approach is backed by 18 years of data centre experience. With strong technical depth and alignment to industry trends Infront can unlock greater business value in placing your organisation on the path to modernisation and hybrid cloud.

August 07

Cloud Analytics Features – Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

Use leading Cloud Analytics features to analyse yo [...]

Understand Complex
Cloud Invoices

Cloud Analytics simplified complex data from your cloud providers. Through visual dashboards, you will gain valuable insight into how you are spending in cloud, to increase financial transparency.

Visualise Your Cloud Activity

Cloud Analytics helps you understand and manage your cloud consumption in near real time through a detailed daily and monthly analysis, and historic invoicing.

Visualising your cloud activity will enable you to:

  • Make informed decisions on how you spend in cloud;
  • Understand what resources are being consumed in your budget;
  • Create detailed reports to show your organisation executives.

Project Future Cloud Spend

Cloud Analytics shows has the ability to forecast your future cloud spend, based on previous spending habits, using the sophisticated ARIMA model of forecasting.

Forecasting your cloud spend helps you:

  • Stay within your monthly budget and keep your spending on track;
  • Become increasingly proactive to cloud spending;
  • Avoid the bill shock you feel at the end of the month.

Track Your Cloud Spend

Track and manage cloud costs and consumption according to your business structure. Allocate spend to corporately aligned cost centres, enabling data-driven business decisions that improve efficiency.

Tracking your spend ensures you can:

  • Compare all of your Cloud Accounts and Sub Accounts;
  • Define and track budgets for individual business units;
  • Implement Cloud Control through proactive alerts and reports.

Make Sense of Your Invoices

Aggregate your cloud billing data with detailed consumption reports to give you operational insight into your hybrid cloud environment.

Aggregating you cloud invoices helps you:

  • Track your deployments and see what your spend is delivering;
  • View the exchange rate against your bill over time to help make sense of increase and decreases in costs;
  • Understand the percentage of your budget each cloud resource is consuming.

Continuous Support and Monitoring

Gain access to complete support from the Buttonwood Team. With training run by the Buttonwood team, your organisation will be up and running in no time. With Buttonwood Cloud Analytics, you will have access to:

  • Technical Support through our online help centre
  • Team training
  • The online Buttonwood community
  • Email and in-app help

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August 07

Cloud Analytics Plugins – Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

Buttonwood's Cloud Analytics plugins integration a [...]

Everything you need to
analyse your cloud spend

A leading concern for CIO’s is remaining vendor agnostic while ensuring they have access to all their required services. CIO’s are looking for freedom yet also ensuring business agility. Buttonwood Cloud Analytics allows you to bring your cloud accounts to see all of your cloud data aggregated on one screen. Buttonwood Cloud Analytics Plugins ensure that you will have complete financial transparency across all your cloud accounts.

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is the world's largest cloud provider and it is continuing to grow each year. Simply enter your AWS account details into Buttonwood Cloud Analytics to start to personalise and control your reporting.

Visit Plugin Website

Microsoft Azure is cloud computing platform and infrastructure which is becoming increasingly popular with enterprises. Using the same approach as AWS, you can enter your account details into Buttonwood Cloud Analytics to analyse all of your cloud instances through the one reporting platform.

Visit Plugin Website

VMware vCenter Server provides a centralized and extensible platform for managing virtual infrastructure. vCenter Server manages VMware vSphere environments, giving IT administrators simple and automated control over the virtual environment to deliver infrastructure with confidence

Visit Plugin Website

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August 07

Cloud Analytics Release Notes – Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

With regular updates, you can find the exciting ne [...]

Release Notes

We are excited to bring you Buttonwood Cloud Analytics so you can understand your cloud spend like never before. With regular updates, you can find the exciting new features of Buttonwood Cloud Analytics with the Cloud Analytics Release Notes.

Tell us what features and charts you want in your Cloud Analytics – contact us.

Analytics Roadmap

The Buttonwood Cloud Analytics was developed to give you the insights to be a Cloud Hero in your organisation.We are constantly working to update the app with more reports, functionality and interactive dashboards.

Below you will find our roadmap for new features and improvements to Analytics.

To tell us about the information you would like to see through your Cloud Analytics application please contact us.

Current Releases

20.06.17

The most recent release of Buttonwood Cloud Analytics includes new Microsoft Azure Enterprise Agreements support (in preview), as well as analytics for VMware and Nutanix accounts.

Microsoft Enterprise Agreements

Buttonwood Analytics now supports the data harvesting of Microsoft EA accounts.  This extends the current support for AWS, Azure and Oracle to include data analytics of custom agreements between Microsoft and enterprise accounts.

VMware Analytics

Buttonwood Analytics now supports the generation of Invoice data for VMware environments using the Broker Plug-in for VMware.  An Inventory of VM state is generated every 15 minutes and associated with a Custom Rate Card to incorporate Chargeback/Showback information in Analytics.

Nutanix Analytics

Buttonwood Analytics now supports the generation of Invoice data for Nutanix environments using the Broker Plug-in for Nutanix. An Inventory of VM state is generated every 15 minutes and associated with a Custom Rate Card to incorporate Chargeback/Showback information in Analytics.

20.03.17

Release 0.9 includes predictive analytics for accounts, deployments and invoices, as well as a new ‘notes’ capability and Vmware billing creation and analytics.

11.12.16

The new User Interface style matches with the rest of the product suite. The Analytics updates also include a provisioning timeline feature and a beautifully designed dashboard homepage.

24.08.16

Release 0.7 brings about a new SSO integration, WS Federation. This also means the removal of SAML. Additional functionality has also been added to Cloud Invoice.

24.04.16

This release is all about updating the User Interface. There have been many design changes, specifically to the “deployments” and “accounts” screens. Automated Azure Bill harvesting has also been integrated to feed into workflow.

24.12.15

Users can now search for invoices and there is integrated invoice analysis. A User Interface has also been included for Broker deployment analytics.

28.09.15

Azure billing support is now integrated with Analytics 0.4.

28.07.15

Analytics 0.3 brings parent/child resource mapping, as well as a reskin of the User Interface.

21.04.15

With Analytics 0.2, users get a currency code/exchange rate integration, as well as added cloud resource metrics and support for nicknaming subaccounts.

18.01.15

The first release of Buttonwood Cloud Analytics brings the AWS integration, as well as the charting of cloud account spend and an SSO integration with SAML.

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August 07

Cloud Analytics FAQs – Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

Read the Buttonwood Cloud Analytics FAQs (Frequent [...]

Read the Buttonwood Cloud Analytics FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) below or go to our FAQs section to search all questions.

View all FAQs

To get a free trial, fill in the Free Trial form. You will then be contacted with everything you need to get started.

Buttonwood Cloud Analytics is a cloud analytical solution designed to help you manage and report on your organisations cloud consumption and spend, in near real time. Armed with powerful consumption metrics and data visualisation, you will be able to make informed decisions to ensure you are in complete control of your cloud expenditure.

Buttonwood Cloud Analytics (BCA) is unlike any other cloud analytical solutions. It is available through a secure portal that aggregates your billing data from all your AWS, Azure and VMware accounts, and provides you with detailed consumption reports. As well as regularly updating users with their actual cloud expenditure, Buttonwood Cloud Analytics also provides historic invoices and historic analytics for comparison.

Managing a cloud infrastructure can be challenging as it requires you to transition to a pay-as-you-go consumption based model. It is easy to lose control of cloud expenditure with this consumption based model as cloud invoices do not tell about the “why” behind your cloud costs. Often cloud consumption can also be difficult to control given the number of different cloud providers organisations use.

Buttonwood Cloud Analytics simplifies your cloud bill processing through multi-cloud reporting and built in dashboards to help you analyse your consumption and expenditure data.

If you have been using a Buttonwood Cloud Analytics trial, you may have set up some custom reports, users and cost centers that you don’t want to use. Simply fill in the Buy Now form and let our team know that you would like to upgrade your trial to purchase. Your trial environment will then be converted to your permanent application so that you don’t lose any of your work.

Go to the Buy Now page and fill in the form. Our fantastic team will be in touch to help you get set up and understanding your cloud in no time.

Buttonwood Cloud Analytics is used by anyone that wants to learn more about your organiation’s cloud spend. It might be your CEO, CFO or CIO. Or it may be your Infrastructure team or IT team.

Buttonwood Cloud Analytics allows you to enter any cloud provider (AWS or Azure) account details to track your cloud spend. Rather than having to jump between different reporting systems per provider, you can see all of your spend in the one page.

Please review the pricing for Buttonwood Cloud Analytics. If you feel that these options don’t reflect your spend or your business, please contact us so that we can look at your requirements specifically.

Buttonwood products offer alerts and notifications when you get to particular milestones set by you. Simply decide on your limitations and be alerted when you are getting close to spending that amount.

Buttonwood’s partners have years of experience in on premise and off premise environments. They can help you to look at what you need and to estimate costs in advance. Contact Buttonwood to find out more about a cloud assessment.

Yes. You can buy Buttonwood Cloud Analytics on its own to review your cloud spend. Simply add your cloud account details and the data will automatically populate. You can also use Analytics alongside the Buttonwood Cloud Exchange and/or the Buttonwood Cloud Broker.

When you buy a Buttonwood product you will be able to create an administrator. That administrator can then have the power to add new users. As you need them, you can continue to add users which in turn creates Buttonwood licenses.

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August 07

IT Managers for Buttonwood – Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

IT managers struggle to control the ever growing n [...]

IT Managers

Michelle
IT Manager

Michelle has successfully run many IT teams throughout her career. When her current organisation’s board announced their drive towards a cloud first strategy, Michelle had concerns about compliance, management and the risks involved in this transformation. However, she also saw the business benefits in moving to cloud. After liaising with the executive team, she has redirected the business strategy towards a hybrid cloud model, to get the best of both private and public clouds.

Searching for cloud management systems to help support the new direction for her organisation, Michelle wanted the processes, policies and software to assist in this important transformation. Michelle has lead her organisation in recognising the opportunity for success rather than having to change strategic direction yet again.

Before Buttonwood

How can I maintain data sovereignty?

Michelle knows that her organisation’s production system contains sensitive customer information. A policy of data sovereignty was put in place to alleviate data security concerns and reduce risk. How can she use cloud services but maintain protection over specific data and workloads?

With Buttonwood

Policy based protection

Michelle is able to set governance policies within Buttonwood to decide which type of workloads are permitted to be located on private versus public cloud environments. Any workloads in the public cloud must be carried out using datacentres within Australia, and any new workloads with the same requirements will also be protected.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How can I adapt my team to work in cloud?

The existing IT support frameworks built by Michelle were developed to manage on premise solutions. How does Michelle now adapt for cloud and keep continuity with current processes and systems?

Self-service portal and support

Buttonwood allows Michelle’s team to access cloud deployments through a simple to use portal. Support from Buttonwood and its partners means Michelle has the tools needed to implement and guide business transformation.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How do I maintain security and compliance?

The development teams are demanding greater autonomy, and Michelle doesn’t have a way to control and govern their IaaS access. How can Michelle successfully run teams of developers at numerous locations while maintaining policy and governance requirements?

Multi-level policies

With global and environmental policies, Buttonwood took the worry from Michelle by enforcing compliance before any developers could deploy in cloud. She has governance over where and when her cloud services are deployed and can even specify hours of operation resulting in reduced costs.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How do I avoid IaaS bill shock?

Michelle has a fear that cloud expenses will expand without warning, eating into her already stressed IT budget. How can Michelle ensure that her cloud budget is under control?

IaaS financial transparency

Michelle can feel safe knowing that cloud budgets are set and allocated to cost centres. Establishing these budgets means there is no longer a risk of bill shock with a clear vision and forecast of all cloud spend.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How can I see where cloud spend is going?

The business teams are often complaining about the cost of IT. How can Michelle track costs to show the business teams how they are using IT services and highlight their return on investment?

Cost centre tracking

Buttonwood tracks all cloud consumption against predetermined cost centres. Michelle can now reconcile budgets against services, workloads or users. Each line of business can understand how much they are spending, on what, and look for ways to decrease costs.

Learn More About Cloud Analytics

How do I control increasing SaaS costs?

Michelle also fears that her organisation's SaaS application monthly and annual costs are going to surprise her team. How can Michelle ensure that her SaaS application budget is under control?

SaaS financial transparency

Michelle can set budgets for her organisation's SaaS application consumption within Buttonwood. This ensures that there are no surprise costs from the business purchasing unexpected licenses. Michelle can see all budgets and receive alerts at specific spending milestones.

Learn More About Cloud Exchange

How can I manage shadow IT?

Working within a large organisation, Michelle regularly finds out after the fact about new apps that her business teams have purchased licenses for, circumventing the IT team in the process. How can Michelle get control of all of the apps that are already in use as well as any future apps that will be needed?

Operational consistancy

Michelle can manage all of her organisation's SaaS applications through Buttonwood. When a new application is needed by the organisation, the business team submits a request through the Cloud Workspace, ensuring that Michelle is aware and can implement compliance policies before the app is put to use.

Learn More About Cloud Exchange

How can I ensure that each license we pay for is utilised?

With new staff members joining the organisation daily and others leaving, there is always movement in the licenses of SaaS applications. How can Michelle's team make sure that each staff member has access to the licenses they need and aren't allocated licenses they won't be using?

Identity and user management

Michelle's team can easily add new users, allocate licenses to them and deprovision users when required, all through Buttonwood. No longer are licenses dormant if users don't need access. Instead, the IT team receives notification and can move the license to a user that needs it.

Learn More About Cloud Exchange

How can I reduce the duplication in SaaS apps across business teams?

The business teams within Michelle's organisation don't necessarily talk to each other about their SaaS app usage. This means that some teams are using different applications to do the same job. How can Michelle reduce the investment in licenses, training and data control by reducing the amount of apps used?

Governance of accepted apps

Business teams now use Buttonwood to apply when they want access to a new app. If that app has competing functions to another, already established application, Michelle's team can work with the business teams to find the best solution rather than creating more and more new licenses across platforms.

Learn More About Cloud Exchange

Before Buttonwood

How do I aviod IaaS vendor lock in?

Michelle does her due diligence with all providers she engages. However, what if she wants to change her mind if the service offering changes, or her requirements are modified? How can she ensure she isn’t locked in with the wrong provider?

With Buttonwood

Multi-cloud workloads

Buttonwood Cloud Broker allows Michelle’s team to have workloads within various cloud provider environments. Each workload’s environment is chosen based on its requirements and the cost of the cloud services at the time of deployment.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How do I offer IaaS cloud services that meet the entire business's needs?

Michelle needs to satisfy the needs of the application, operation and business teams to gain consistency and to reduce shadow IT. How can she offer flexibility to such a wide audience?

Hybrid cloud

Integrating with her on premise environment, Buttonwood Cloud Broker enables Michelle’s team to choose where each workload is deployed. Setting policies to make decisions easier for the business teams, Michelle successfully runs a future proofed hybrid cloud IT Infrastructure through an easy to use self-service portal.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How do I keep up with all IaaS cloud service providers?

IaaS providers offer thousands of cloud instances across hundreds of regions all at different price points. Enterprises are paying on average greater than 25% more for cloud resources than they could be, due to this complexity. How can Michelle know which provider is right for her organisation? And does this decision change depending on the workload and its requirements?

Data collated and compared for you

Buttonwood Cloud Broker is vendor agnostic to show Michelle’s team the cloud services that match each of her organisation’s workload’s requirements, and their associated costs or “bids”. With the ability to sort and review all options, and immediate access to relevant information, her team can now make the best decision in seconds, rather than spending hours in research and complex analysis.

Learn More About Cloud Analytics

There are many SaaS applications that my organisation already uses. How can I start to manage those retrospectively?

Michelle is concerned that her team is too late to begin to manage all the SaaS apps that are already in use across her organisation. Can she implement governance over her current SaaS apps or must she just start from scratch with new apps?

BYO SaaS applications

Michelle has brought her organisation's many SaaS apps into Buttonwood Cloud Workspace. She has choice over any apps that her organisation currently uses or wants to use in the future within the Cloud Workspacerather than having to be locked in to specific vendors.

Learn More About Cloud Exchange

Before Buttonwood

How do I meet all business SLAs across both private and public IaaS?

Michelle has many stakeholders and numerous service level agreements (SLAs) to manage. She is responsible for ensuring that the IT team is compliant. How can she monitor and govern disparate and varied requirements?

With Buttonwood

Multi-level policies

Buttonwood Cloud Broker enables Michelle to establish all of her organisation’s SLAs through various levels of policies. These policies can be updated if requirements change, and otherwise continue to govern cloud deployments without any manual maintenance from Michelle.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How do I automate IaaS for my Dev-Ops team?

Michelle has numerous Dev-ops teams and has had issues in the past with system and software changes. How can Michelle have version control in an ever-changing environment?

Visibility, auditability and accountability

Michelle has clear vision of all changes in cloud services consumption, including when they were made and by who, through Buttonwood Cloud Broker. The Broker enforces version control policies utilising the Puppet Plugin.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How can my development team have the agility to deploy environments when the need them?

Michelle’s team is constantly working to keep up with the development team’s requirements, and allow them to deploy environments as quickly as possible. How can her team keep up with the pace of the business?

Empowering innovation

By embracing constant change and taking control of cloud services consumption, Michelle has enabled her IT team to use cloud to create new and innovative business processes and applications. The needs of the business teams are serviced more quickly and effectively, freeing up the entire organisation to think differently.

Learn More About Cloud Broker

How do I track charges?

Michelle wants to track her organisation’s infrastructure and application configuration charges so she can figure out how her organisation is using cloud. How can Michelle track this information across numerous cloud providers?

Administration centre

Buttonwood Cloud Broker’s administration centre allows Michelle to see all deployments. She could track all applications, users, cloud accounts virtual networks and virtual clouds in real time.

Learn More About Cloud Analytics

How can I reclaim IT budget and allocate SaaS costs to business lines?

Michelle's IT team has a budget to stick to each financial year and costs for SaaS applications used by lines of business are a growing part of the IT spend. How can Michelle remove the costs from her line of business and accurately allocate them to the business teams that use the applications?

SaaS management by cost centre

Using Buttonwood Cloud Workspace, Michelle's team can allocate each SaaS app license to a cost centre within their organisation. Each business team can see their own spend and be responsible for their own SaaS budget rather than it rolling up into the IT budget.

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How can I quickly and simply manage apps like Office 365?

Various SaaS application licenses need to be provisioned for each new staff member that begins work at Michelle's organisation, including Office 365 licenses in Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint etc. Michelle's team must log into each of the SaaS providers and organise their licenses, dealing with the different interfaces and processes. How can Michelle reduce the administration time required?

Integrated applications

Michelle's team can now add, remove and move Office 365 licenses as well as other integrated app licenses within Buttonwood Cloud Workspace. Michelle also has access to her organisation's Salesforce and Service Now licenses through the integration with Buttonwood Cloud Workspace.

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How can I control SaaS as the organisation continues to grow?

Michelle's organisation has expanded quickly and her IT team must plan for continued growth. How can Michelle ensure that the solution she is putting in place to manage SaaS applications is scalable and flexible as her organisation continues to change?

Scalability

Buttonwood Cloud Workspace allows the business teams within Michelle's organisation to access all of their SaaS apps, even as the numbers continued to grow. Michelle's IT team can also relax knowing that no matter how many staff members are added to the organisation, they have full control over the SaaS management, reporting on the changes, costs and usage.

Learn More About Cloud Exchange

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August 07

Buttonwood Analytics delivers true hybrid cloud cost control and accountability | Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

Enterprises increasingly run applications in a var [...]

Buttonwood Analytics delivers true hybrid cloud cost control and accountability

11 December 2018 by Allan King

Enterprises increasingly run applications in a variety of cloud environments — public, private, hosted and hybrid cloud. This multi-cloud operating model means that enterprises now require services and tools that can work across private and public cloud environments. One of their most pressing needs is having a programmatic and scalable way of keeping cloud costs optimised.

Today, Buttonwood Analytics is extending its cloud cost optimisation capabilities to support private cloud environments including VMware, OpenStack and Nutanix AHV. Available immediately, Buttonwood customers will now be able to utilise Analytics for governance of their multi-cloud world, delivering 360-degree cost governance. This will help customers understand the true expenditure of their cloud environments and gain the confidence needed to transform their operations.

Buttonwood Analytics On-premises Support

The Buttonwood Analytics environment support includes the following benefits:

  • Custom Rate Cards – The Finance Department can now model the cost of on-premises infrastructure to help govern and report on private cloud consumption
  • Unified governance for all clouds – CIOs and IT leaders can control consumption across public and private clouds
  • Continuous cost optimization – Intelligent analysis of cloud consumption trends provides recommendations for future purchases to keep cloud costs optimized
  • Cluster level analysis – Customers will be able to see the cost of their VMware, OpenStack and Nutanix clusters that have been deployed and make decisions on future consumption efficiently.

In addition, Buttonwood is also announcing a new feature to better reconcile cloud spend at the cost centre level. Available in this release, Analytics is introducing a new Cost Centre Mapping strategy that will empower organisations to identify resource tags in real-time using literal and regular expressions. As each subscription billing file is harvested, tags can be intelligently ‘matched and aligned to a specific cost centre for unprecedented show back/chargeback accuracy. The use of regular expressions ensures that a poorly implemented taxonomy will not encumber finance teams with erroneous data when attempting to report on business/project spend.

Today, analytics provides a unified, global view of all accounts across all clouds: AWS, Azure, Azure EA. Vault, and Oracle to help you easily evaluate the cost efficiency of each environment and drill down for granular views by cloud, account, or resource type.

The support for private cloud environments is a big step toward giving customers the ability to conduct a true total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis between private and public cloud environments. These insights are critical in deciding the type of workloads to be deployed in public vs. private cloud.

Analytics will enable customers to identify the right cloud for each application, mitigating vendor lock-in and ensuring optimal consumption of cloud resources.

Are you using AWS, Azure, and/or Nutanix Enterprise Cloud and want to see how Analytics can optimise your multi-cloud environment? Contact us today.

Post by Allan King

Allan King is the Founder and Managing Director of Buttonwood, an Australian startup that wants to transform the way enterprises build and secure hybrid cloud services without unnecessary cost or complexity.

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August 07

The Ultimate Guide to Testing in the | Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

As a tester, the word “cloud” used to scare me. It [...]

The Ultimate Guide to Testing in the Cloud

21 July 2017 by Monisha Sabharwal

As a tester, the word “cloud” used to scare me. It meant that I had to step into a completely new world, one that I was not accustomed to. But I have realised that testing in the cloud is not as daunting as I once thought, and I know I am not alone. I have put together the ultimate guide to cloud testing to share my experience with you.

What is cloud testing?

Over the last year, I have found that an increasing number of organisations are looking to extend their application testing to the cloud. Cloud testing involves using cloud infrastructure to test the security, performance and quality of applications and software before they are released to the public. The testing focuses on the core components of cloud computing including:

  • Application testing: The testing of functions, end-to-end business workflows, data security and browser compatibility.
  • Network testing: The testing of various network bandwidths, protocols and the successful transfer of data through networks.
  • Infrastructure testing: The testing of disaster recovery capabilities, backups, secure connection and storage policies. This must be validated for regulatory compliances.

Testing is important in cloud environments because problems with quality are difficult to fix once the cloud is fully integrated with the corporate system. Computers used in a cloud environment will never be 100 percent reliable until all the environments have been tested. Without proper testing, you are vulnerable to viruses and other glitches.

Cloud testing brings many benefits to enterprises through enabling cloud based resources to be tested by multiple teams around the clock. Organisations also get access to Quality Assurance teams in different time zones and geographic regions, allowing for on demand testing from anywhere, at any time. How awesome is that?

Here at Buttonwood, we have constructed a quality assurance “staging” area where all the testing, configurations and setups are finalized prior to going live. We test during this phase until we are satisfied that we have the best cloud solution to suit our customers.

In my experience, I have found that cloud testing can be segmented into four main categories. The first is testing the whole cloud and all its features. The second is testing individual features and applications internally within the cloud. The third is testing across different types of cloud including private, public and hybrid environments. And the fourth is functionality testing based on application requirements.

Migrating Application Testing to the Cloud

It is important to remember that cloud enables on demand provisioning of test infrastructures to maximise the utilisation of the asset. Feasibility studies are required to find the scenarios in which moving testing to the cloud can benefit the organisations to ensure a successful migration to application testing.

  1. Define your business goals: It is important to understand the reasons as to why you are testing in the cloud. To gain more from your cloud investment you must define business and technical objectives, and understand why you want to move testing projects to the cloud.
  2. Formulate your migration strategy: Your migration strategy should clearly answer what you want to achieve through application testing in the cloud. Some things you may want to consider include potential cost savings, ease of access to infrastructure, and shorter cycle times.
  3. Plan your infrastructure: The third step of the migration process involves defining the infrastructure requirements need to build a test environment and ensuring you have all the right tools for the trade. There are differences between testing in a public or private cloud, so make sure you take those into consideration as well.
  4. Execute your first test: This is my favourite part! All your applications should be tested according to the defined strategy. Your cost benefits will be achieved once the optimal utilisation of the test infrastructure has been defined.
  5. Monitor and analyse your test results: To understand and evaluate capacity and performance issues when application testing to the cloud, you must be able to monitor and analyse test results. With cloud testing you are given the opportunity to analyse your results using data science and big data technologies.

Why test in the cloud?

I know what you’re thinking. Why should you move all your application testing into the cloud if you don’t have to?

I see the advantage of being able to use a cloud environment for testing in my everyday activities. A concrete use case is that of sitting up back-end services running on a certain number of virtual machines can be easily created, recreated and destroyed in a very short time and without affecting other activity. This tes­­ting back-end represents a convenient and reliable point of presence for the applications that need them, while ensuring that the flexibility of the cloud reduces the efforts needed for re-organising or radically changing the testing environment.

The scalability of testing in the cloud also ensures that a service or the applications using it, can be easily moved from the testing to the pre-production phase.

The difference between “Testing a Cloud “and “Cloud Testing”

There is a very thin line between Testing a Cloud and Cloud Testing. This comparison has led to a lot of internal discussion among the Buttonwood Team. Frankly, I find this jargon tend to confuse people. It can be difficult to get a straight forward answer, but I would like to share my take on the difference between them.

When you refer to Testing a Cloud, you basically intend to test the infrastructure, components or applications that are residing within the cloud. This testing should be regularly performed for any application or infrastructure that is hosted in the cloud.

On the other hand, Cloud Testing can be viewed as a “Testing as a Service” model whereby the testing activities are generally done by external testing service providers. Some testing may also be done in-house by employees that have been trained by testing service providers.

 

I have been a software tester for many years now, but I still have so much to learn, especially in cloud testing. It is a constantly evolving industry, but I am always ready for a new challenge. I truly love testing in cloud environments, I get to learn something new every day. I hope that you have learned something from my experience in testing a cloud. I would love to hear about your experiences in the comment section.

Post by Monisha Sabharwal

Monisha is Buttonwood's Quality Assurance Tester, responsible for making sure all of Buttonwood's products are of the highest quality, ready for our clients.

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August 07

Cloud Analytics Overview – Buttonwood Cloud Exchange

Use Buttonwood Cloud Analytics Overview to analyse [...]

Analyse your cloud spend
for financial insight

Understand and report on your organisation’s cloud consumption to finally become your organisation’s Cloud Hero. Buttonwood Cloud Analytics’ helps you manage and report on your cloud consumption in near real-time.  Armed with powerful data analytics and cost projections, you can now transition finally to a pay-as-you-go model with greater confidence.

Integrate

Enter your Azure, AWS or VCenter cloud account details into Cloud Analytics to immediately integrate your data.

Report

Customise the way you view your data to chart spend, resources, and workloads to simplify your cloud reports.

Analyse

Investigate your cloud spend quickly and succinctly, gaining visibility, insight and control of your cloud bills.

Govern

An invoice from a cloud provider can be pages long, and it can take hours to manually convert the numbers into meaningful data, without knowledge about who owns which accounts.

Buttonwood Cloud Analytics gives you the power to personalise your accounts and resources so that you can understand where your costs are going. Gain deep insights into cloud usage and associated costs, which provides greater agility in meeting business demands.

Choice

One of the main drivers in transitioning to cloud is agility. The value for an enterprise in agility includes quick time to market, choice in cost options and the ability to access new and improved technology as it becomes available.

Buttonwood Cloud Analtyics is vendor agnostic, allowing you to input your AWS or Azure accounts to see your reports side by side. Using this data, you can have complete choice over your cloud provider, location and resources.

Control

With many people working in your teams, you may find that instances have been spun up into cloud and left to continue running. While this shouldn't incur too much of an expense, forgotten and lost cloud sub-accounts can quickly build up, resulting in a loss of control over you organistion's spend.

Buttonwood Cloud Analytics enables you to examine all of your cloud spend. By running personalised reports, you can track your expected costs and immediately view costs that were unexpected, allowing you to close them down if necessary. You will now have complete control of your organisation's cloud spend.

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Diploma in Big Data Science

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Once upon a time, Excel was all you needed. It was [...]

If you’re still using spreadsheets alongside your gut feelings to steer your business, it’ll never grow beyond what it is now. Data analytics is the future, and the future is now. Today, the big data and business analytics industry revenue stands at a whopping $186 billion. 

That tells you there’s an insatiable demand for these services. A massive amount of data is produced every single day. It has indeed revolutionized the Information Technology field.

Advanced techniques are employed to process data obtained from different sources in different sizes. It helps companies gain new insights on how run to efficiently, find new opportunities and get meaningful information for better decision-making.

Data analytics examines these sets of big data to reveal underlying drivers and patterns. This article takes an in-depth look at how data analytics can help you maximize performance in your company.

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