Do you know what your workload unit cost is?

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January 29, 2021

What’s the first consideration all companies have before making a major purchase?


As it should be. If it isn’t No. 1, it is toward the very top of your list to avoid overspending and to ensure you are maximizing your orders.

Network automation is crucial not only for working more efficiently, but it can provide monetary benefits as well. The unit used to measure how those two metrics combine is called Workload Unit Cost and is one of the most vital metrics teams use to measure the impact and to support utilizing network automation.

Now, we all understand the want to cut costs, but do we truly know what “workload unit cost” is and why it’s so important?

Benefits of studying workload unit cost

When browsing and figuring out which network automation solution best fits your business needs, it’s vital to find ways to measure the benefits it provides. The goal of measuring workload unit cost is to prioritize and build around solutions that will offer the lowest cost per unit. This goes beyond just analyzing the cost of an automation system, but calculates the cost of that system compared to how many activities it has or can complete. These activities should be focused on aspects that represent the completion of a process, not the individual steps required to complete the process.

How to measure workload unit cost?

The equation is “Total Cost divided by Total Activities Completed.” Simply meaning the more activities the system completes, the lower the workload unit cost.

But sometimes it’s not as cut and dry as it seems. It can be a challenge to truly calculate the costs, so it’s recommended to factor the total costs associated with the automation system over an extended period of time -- such as a three or five-year window. You can pro-rate these costs to calculate a shorter period of time, like how great your return is monthly.

Cost Considerations

There are many costs that must be considered when determining your workload unit cost. Costs such as software, implementation, ongoing lifecycle costs could be overlooked.

Here are a few to keep in mind.

For the cost of software, consider the following:

- Licensing, support, and maintenance.

- Development costs, testing, ongoing maintenance, and new feature development for the platform.

For implementation costs, consider the following:

- Platform installation.

- Development of scripts, workflows, etc. for initial use

- Testing and introduction on a production network.

For ongoing lifecycle, consider the following:

- Hardware/resources to host the system.

- Administration and management of platforms.

- Capacity addition.

Some hidden costs you don’t want to forget about:

- Lifecycle costs and technical debt incurred with open source or internally-developed solutions.

- Support costs

- Platforms that have low entry cost but are expensive to scale based on development.

How to utilize Workload unit cost?

It’s one thing to factor and calculate the workload unit cost for a specific network automation solution. It’s another to implement it and make decisions based on the results. This information can be used in many different ways.

To calculate the workload unit cost for the current, manual process and compare the result for the non-automated solution vs the automated solution. You can provide comparisons to your company’s decision-makers to compare the value of moving to an automated solution.

To calculate the workload unit costs of multiple automation solutions to determine which solution provides the most value.

To track workload unit cost over time and use this information for informed decision making when considering improvements and optimizations to your automation strategy.

The bottom line

There’s a lot to consider when upgrading your network automation tools and ensuring you are getting maximum value out of your purchases. With connections, expertise, and experience with many of the top tech companies in the world, let Atlas7 help match you with the best options at the best rate. You shouldn’t upgrade just for the sake of upgrading, and factors such as workload unit cost can make all the difference to your bottom line. Schedule a meeting with one of our experts today.