Cloud Control: Four Tips for Effective FinOps

Discover how to leverage FinOps for cloud control effectively to avoid unpleasant surprises in cloud costs.

The cloud has revolutionized business operations. For enterprises, there’s immense value in the ability to get data to and from the right places and enable anytime/anywhere collaboration. Paired with the cost-efficiency gains offered by a lower IT burden and instant access to the latest technology, the cloud carries a very compelling package for agile organizations. 

However, in order to capture those advantages, businesses need to plan for the obstacles that cloud migration inevitably brings. Resource control challenges and complex management structures can lead to companies paying for cloud services and old test deployments that are no longer in use. With the arrival of artificial intelligence (AI), a universe of automated tools and services are being employed that can lead to surprise bills.

See also: Addressing FinOps and Security Issues with Automated Cloud Operations

These challenges are why FinOps was created. This management approach focuses on shared responsibility and accountability for cloud infrastructure and costs. With an emphasis on cross-departmental collaboration – including business executives and leaders of finance, technology and engineering – a clearer picture comes into focus. Through FinOps practices, companies can reduce complexity, get the most from resources and better optimize cloud cost and performance. 

If you’re looking to start or enhance your FinOps program, first, you’ll need to be sure department leaders are on the same page. Then build a cost-aware environment, leveraging technology and partners while identifying detrimental user behaviors and more. The following four tips can help you make strong headway.

Find the common ground

A chasm often exists between those who oversee budgets and those who generate expenses. This is best seen in organizations where any employee armed with a company credit card can add resources and raise overhead without supervision. If you’ve got tens or hundreds of employees doing this the costs can add up quickly. There are reporting tools that provide limited visibility, but they don’t let leaders fully identify and solve problems. Using the same data and a shared language gets leaders on common ground and working more collaboratively.

Identify problems and advance accountability 

While reporting tools can offer a money trail, they won’t address bad habits among those credit-card-bearing employees. Savvy enterprises pair reporting tools that identify haphazard spenders with set objectives and goals to shape better behavior. This can lead to a more cost-aware culture in which employees better understand, optimize and control expenses with data that supports decision-making. In this scenario, everyone is financially accountable and has ownership. The earlier this is done, the better: Adding controls to an environment that’s already scaled isn’t easy.

Look outside for expertise

Gaining control requires intelligent technology and expertise in analytics, optimization and oversight of cloud architecture. One of the best external investments an enterprise can make is to enlist consultants with proven experience and relevant certifications. Further, working with a knowledgeable FinOps partner can complement or extend your capabilities and resources for cloud control. 

Speed your cycles

Companies leading the FinOps charge are doing what’s known in software development as shifting left. This refers to conducting evaluation quality and testing earlier in the development life cycle, even prior to code being written. When you apply this approach to FinOps, you bring cost ownership and responsibility to the cycle earlier. The earlier you correct behaviors, the less time they have to take systemic root. 

See also: How Company Size and Maturity Impact FinOps Success

The benefits of cloud control

Your monthly bill only shows a limited view of how your cloud expenses are falling . It’s easy for the consumption of resources and expenses to grow without the right oversight. What’s more, not only is the cloud constantly evolving, so are features and services offered by cloud service providers (CSPs). Unless you’ve got a staff committed to controlling usage and knowledgeable of every industry development, you’ll never be able to stay current. And if you don’t keep up, competitors will pass you by.

Just remember that FinOps is not a one-and-done campaign when it comes to cloud control. Enterprises need to align spending to business goals. Since those also change from time to time, and the cloud and related technology are so dynamic, FinOps must be a standard, ongoing approach. However, it’s worth it. 

Global Market Estimates expects the cloud FinOps market to grow from $832.2 million in 2023 to over $2.75 billion by 2028. That’s an eye-opening Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.8%. And with the FinOps Foundation community climbing from zero to 16,000 in just five years – and 48 of the Fortune 50 in its ranks – it’s clear greater cloud control, cost-efficiency and performance are more than possible. 

With FinOps, it’s the future.

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