What’s Cloud Finance & Analysis

A-to-Z analysis meets far-reaching foresight

Right now, you’re burning too much mental energy on your monthly AWS bill. 

If the most valuable folks in your company spend just 5 hours a week deciphering your bill, that’s a ton of time and brainpower down the drain. Time you could be spending on your product. 

We don’t think it should take a cereal-box decoder, Rosetta Stone, or black-magic goat sacrifice just to get more insight into the AWS services you’re paying for. So we decided to create a way to help.

Your Cloud Finance & Analysis engagement brings you dedicated, outside expertise and financial analysis of your AWS infrastructure and billing. We keep an eye on your spend so you don’t have to. What’s more, we help you understand your costs, control them, and predict them.

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Quote Icon Assuming you have 20 to 30 minutes a week to poke at the AWS costs, what’s the most effective use of that time? The biggest benefit of having Duckbill do the weekly monitoring is getting this instant, weekly access to the actions that we can take within that time to have the biggest impact on driving costs down.
Raf Garcia,  CTO & Cofounder Clever

When you work with us on an ongoing basis, you’ll…

Define, track, & understand your most important KPIs

Ah, unit economics: the most seductive words in the English language. Because when you understand your unit economics, you’ll know exactly what KPIs to focus on to drive bigger business growth and keep costs under control. We’ll answer questions like… 

  • What does it cost you to serve one user? (AKA cost per MAU)
  • What was that cost last month?
  • What will it be in three months? 
  • Where should you focus effort to improve that number?

If you’ve already mapped out your unit economics model, we’ll work with you to dig deeper, ask and answer important questions, and provide regular reports and recommendations for more improvement. Don’t have a model yet? We’ll help you ID the correct KPI(s) for your business, then improve them.

See the future of your AWS bill (and plan for it)

Being able to forecast your costs, allocate budget, and report on results is crucial for growing companies — but AWS makes these processes about as easy as advanced thermodynamics. Unfortunately, as you grow, budgeting only gets more complicated.

Let us do the legwork to save you the headache. We’ll handle cost allocation, prepare forecasts, help your teams set spend budgets, and then report against those.

Get better visibility into your spend

Per-second metered billing is probably the most user-hostile billing model ever created. Add to that an ever-changing infrastructure and 170+ AWS services and… well, understanding what you’re paying for and why becomes challenging even in straightforward environments.

We’re experts at helping clients get clearer visibility into their spend, and we’ll do the same for you. You can expect us to maintain detailed cost allocation reports on spend by product, team, environment, and any other factors that are helpful to you. At the end of each month, we’ll prepare high-level reports for executive and leadership use.

Cloud Finance & Analysis Honeycomb Logo
Quote Icon We figured we’d see if Duckbill could do something about [our bill]. They know more about how AWS billing works than anyone else in the world, including all of AWS. It’s a lot of experience that you can only have if you’re focusing on this one problem for a long time.
Charity Majors,  CTO and Cofounder Honeycomb
Cloud Finance & Analysis

Forget about your bill. We’ve got your back.

Feel free to focus fully on your product when your bill is in our capable (albeit clammy) hands.

Our Cloud Finance experts will analyze your monthly AWS bill and give you answers to life’s biggest questions, including… 

  • “What does that spike on the spend graph mean?”
  • “How do we model the economics of a new service before it’s in production?”
  • “What’s contributing to our spend and why?”
  • “How can we improve our cost per customer?”
  • And even simply, “Will our bill surprise us?” (Spoiler: if it hasn’t yet, it will soon)

Here’s what we look out for in every bill:

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Spending trends, spikes, and anomalies

Why’d they happen? How can we predict or prevent them next time?

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Savings Plans & RIs (Reserved Instances)

We take note of any coverage gaps, and give you a heads-up about upcoming renewals so they don’t expire out from under you 

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Your PPAs (Private Pricing Agreements) & EDP (Enterprise Discount Program)

to ensure you always know about upcoming renewals, and guide you in negotiations

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Opportunities to spend smartly

Along with helping track and optimize your monthly costs, we just might know about upcoming or obscure AWS services that are a great fit for your business

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Quote Icon Before, we wouldn’t realize that change until the end of the month at best or many months later and would have incurred way more cost. Now, we catch onto things almost immediately. We’re also able to do things that will pay dividends later. There’s a lot of peace of mind in knowing that we have experts monitoring the bill who will let us know if there’s a big spike and what we can do have an impact on the costs.
Raf Garcia,  CTO & Cofounder Clever

Partnering with The Duckbill Group gets you…

Bill report in a digestible format

Your monthly bill report includes a succinct review of what’s going on in your bill, what to look out for, and any actionable recommendations when we have them. It also ties trends we’re noticing in your AWS spend back to what’s going on in your environment. This means you can get ahead of any potential problems before they become actual problems. Innovative, we know.

Trend analysis & budget forecasting

We’ll point out trends we’re noticing in your AWS spend and tell you what they mean. In practice, this analysis often helps head off massive disasters before they’re even causing a ripple in your water glass.

We’ll also guide your Savings Plans/Reserved Instance purchase planning and rightsizing, and proactively go digging for answers to your questions about the future.

Cost allocation

What with per-second metered billing, an ever-changing infrastructure, 170+ AWS services, and multiple AWS accounts, understanding what you’re paying for each month and why can easily turn into an endless nightmare, on par with discovering you’ve just made the front page of the New York Times — and not for a good reason.

Imagine being able to budget and forecast costs on a per-org, per-environment, per-team, and per-product basis. Now imagine receiving a succinct, high-level report at the end of each month that shows you how those budgets stacked up against your actual spend. Pinch yourself, because this isn’t a dream — it’s what we do.

Unlimited access to our expert analysts

When you tap us for cloud finance management, you and your staff get unlimited access to our team of expert cloud analysts via Slack, email, phone, cans on a string, telepathy, you name it. There’s no better way to get timely, informed answers to your niche AWS questions. Go on, try to stump us.

Up-to-date unit economics calculation

Each report will contain an up-to-date unit economic calculation as compared to your target numbers, if you make the necessary data available to us. This is a handy way to keep track of one of your most important metrics. You’re welcome.

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Quote Icon One of the main benefits we’re going to see from our continued work with Duckbill is the savings on our labor expenses. Like most companies, we have multi-million dollar infrastructure expenditures, but our labor expenditures are at least five times as expensive. The time savings is the big number we’re optimizing for and having access to experts with a deep knowledge of the architecture to prevent us from doing something wrong helps us do that.

With Duckbill, it’s like we’re timesharing an AWS Architect. They’ve got that experience to tell us the cost impacts — including the undocumented costs — and why we should choose one over the other.

We’re keeping Duckbill Group on retainer for our migration and it’s going to continue to pay dividends. As we move forward with the migration and have to make architectural changes for some of our applications, we have someone more experienced that we trust to go to with questions when we’re not sure if we’re missing something. Having them confirm “Yes, that’s how you have to do it” or “No, you don’t want to use that service because of these hidden costs,” it gives us tremendously valuable confidence and moral support.
R. Tyler Croy,  Director of Platform Engineering Scribd
Read the Case Study
Cloud Finance & Analysis

Who’s this ongoing service for?

Once you’ve completed your initial Cost Optimization engagement with us and we’ve decided we actually like you, you’ll be eligible to work with our dedicated Cloud Finance & Analysis experts on an ongoing basis.

Who’s the perfect candidate for ongoing work with us? 

You, if you’re…

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Spending more than
$150,000 each month
on your AWS bill

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Interested in building your
product instead of breaking
down your bill

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Struggling to keep up with
the latest changes in the
larger AWS ecosystem

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Planning to ramp up growth
or add business units

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Wasting precious time
and energy trying to
decipher your bill

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Ready to offload the burden
of AWS financial planning
and analysis to the experts

Then you should probably…

Once our initial 3-month engagement flies by,
you’ll be begging for more.


Kiss your SaaS goodbye

Cloud Finance & Analysis

The Duckbill Group employs expert humans instead of context-clueless algorithms. That means we can monitor your spend, spot potential issues, and tailor our recommendations in a way that SaaS cost optimization platforms just can’t.

We’ve seen SaaS platforms recommend nonsensical things like buying RIs for workloads about to disappear, and make disastrous moves like turning off idle instances that happen to be the DR site. Turns out there’s no API for business insight, nor is there one for common sense.

Because we employ living, breathing specialists in Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) and AWS architecture and billing, we can improve your cloud environment from both the accounting side and the engineering side. Without tanking your DR site.

Where we make the biggest difference: Identifying savings to be found in architectural improvements. Since cost optimization platforms are fully automated, they just can’t do that. Nor can they help guide your negotiations with Amazon. Nor can they bring you tasty donuts.

Sorry, computers. Humans win this round.


Why Choose The Duckbill Group?

Apart from being incredibly handsome and devastatingly witty, our consultancy is uniquely talented at helping you understand, control, and allocate your AWS spend. Let’s take a look behind the doors of your other options.

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Door #1

You could turn to AWS Support for more insight into your bill — and you probably already have, several times. Shh… it’s not you, it’s them.

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Door #2

You could rely on a SaaS cost optimization tool to monitor your bill — which doesn’t give you a better understanding of your spend, much less help you control it.

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Door #3

You cold bury your head in the sand, focus on getting to market faster… and resign yourself to never knowing why your bill changes every month, what it’ll be in the future, or what improvements might keep your spend under control.

Cloud Finance & Analysis

Door #4

You can hand the whole problem overr to our crack team of AWS billing experts – and breath a long, shuddering sigh of Thank-God-That’s-Being-Handled.

Why not choose what’s behind Door #4? Work with The Duckbill Group: the only truly independent, objective group of AWS billing experts in the world.

We see more bills in a few months than you’ll see in a decade. We’re experts at recognizing patterns, identifying and explaining anomalies, making recommendations tailored to your unique environment, and proactively addressing issues before they become problems.

We pay more attention to your bill than a dog pays to a jumbo jar of peanut butter (and we’ll never lick your face without permission).

Partner with our Cloud Finance & Analysis team not just to lower your AWS bill, but to deeply understand it, predict it, and control it on your own terms. It’s as close as you’ll get to seeing the future. And man, is it satisfying.