Embrace these FinOps best practices to ace your cloud strategy

Cloud technology, which forms a considerable and ever-growing part of global IT efforts, plays a pivotal role in shaping an organization’s cost-reduction opportunities, efficiency initiatives, and future market-focused competitive efforts.

However, significantly transforming your operations to harness the power of the cloud requires best practices, frameworks, a culture of collaboration, cost transparency, and much more.

Organizations are all-in but don’t have the in-hand cards to win

The latest data bears out this complicated reality.

According to recent data from the FinOps Foundation, FinOps (financial operations) continues to proliferate within companies globally (including most of the Fortune 500). Where are these organizations in terms of maturity?

Nearly 68% of respondents are at the crawl stage, around 23% are at the walk stage, and 9% are at the run stage. And yet, Accenture research found only 42% have yet to achieve any material value from FinOps.

While most IT leaders genuinely believe that FinOps is the answer to cloud cost complexity, it’s clear there is still a lot left to learn.

Moreover, many cloud industry leaders believe they’ll have to wait years before seeing any positive outcomes from their FinOps practices — according to a recent study from CloudBolt Industry Insights (CII) conducted by Wakefield Research, 75% of respondents say they anticipate it will take 24 to 36 months.

Even so, there remains an unprecedented commitment to the cloud, with 86% of companies reporting an increase in cloud initiatives, according to the same Accenture data. So, while most IT leaders genuinely believe that FinOps is the answer to cloud cost complexity, it’s clear there is still a lot left to learn and build upon to make the best outcomes a reality.

The FinOps inflection point

The truth? FinOps is more than just a buzzword; it’s a mindset that brings together finance, operations, and engineering teams in perfect harmony. By fostering a collaborative culture of cost transparency, FinOps instills a sense of shared responsibility across departments, allowing organizations to make informed decisions and optimize cloud resources efficiently.

From this year’s FinOpsX conference and beyond, here are some best practice takeaways you can consider to help ensure your cloud transformation is successful across every metric, with FinOps at the forefront of every decision.

1. Build a rock-solid foundation with a cloud center of excellence (CCoE)

Create a CCoE or a team or group of individuals within your organization responsible for creating and implementing cloud-related best practices, guidelines, and governance policies.

Before beginning your cloud journey, this team should present a “state of financial health” using agreed-upon KPIs (key performance indicators) and discuss antipatterns, trends, and success blockers. It should comprise two cross-functional teams — often a cloud engineering team and a cloud steering committee.

Some key responsibilities of a CCoE include the following:

  • Owning and executing the cloud strategy.
  • Driving collaboration and best practices across key stakeholders.
  • Evaluating and utilizing technology to support business initiatives.

2. Start a conversation with every stakeholder

The efficacy of cloud-based initiatives hinges on the coordinated efforts of people, processes, and technology to fulfill their pledged value. Although roles like cloud architects and other cloud-focused personnel are crucial for handling everyday cloud activities, it’s equally vital for business stakeholders.

This group includes members of the C-suite, finance, legal, procurement, and various other internal teams to understand cloud technology fully. This knowledge will help formulate the business’s most effective strategies and solutions.

Meet with your cost leaders regularly to review cost trends, set optimization goals, remove blockers, enable, and train. Think: cross-functional workshops, roundtable discussions, lunch and learns, and demos to get the conversation going.

If you’re feeling creative, develop a friendly competition among different departments or teams through cloud cost gamification. Set cost-reduction goals and reward the teams that achieve the most significant savings through FinOps practices, fostering a sense of ownership and encouraging collaboration.

3. Lose the manual processes; implement cloud cost management tools instead

Empower cost leaders with round-the-clock access to cost management tools, enabling them to generate pertinent reports, dashboards, budgets, forecasts, and more.

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