Today’s fast-paced business requires effective cloud cost management. Cloud FinOps teams are increasingly used to optimize cloud spend and investment value.
Building a successful cloud FinOps team requires planning and consideration. This blog post discusses five key factors for building a successful cloud FinOps team.
1. Write down your goals in a cloud FinOps charter
Setting goals and objectives is the first step to building a successful cloud FinOps team. Your team may struggle to align efforts and demonstrate value to the organization without a clear purpose. A cloud FinOps Charter helps here. A cloud FinOps Charter describes the team’s mission, goals, strategies, and duties.
Cloud FinOps Charters serve several purposes:
- Guidance in uncertainty: It gives the team a roadmap to stay on track in uncertain situations.
- Executive support: A well-documented charter can win executive support. The team’s mission is clear and aligned with the company’s goals.
- Prioritization: It helps the team focus on the most important projects and initiatives that align with the goals.
- Efficiency: A clear roadmap helps your team move faster and make informed decisions, saving time and effort.
2. Create a cloud FinOps lingo
FinOps, like any team, needs good communication. Create a FinOps lexicon or glossary to ensure team members speak the same language and avoid misunderstandings.
Why creating a cloud FinOps lexicon is helpful:?
- Clarity: A shared lexicon ensures team understanding of terms and concepts. Clear communication is crucial when discussing complex financial and technical concepts.
- Efficiency: A shared vocabulary improves team communication. This speeds decision-making and problem-solving.
- Onboarding: A shared glossary helps new team members onboard. It speeds up domain knowledge and productivity.
- Cross-functional collaboration: A common lexicon helps IT and finance teams collaborate. It simplifies financial and operational discussions.
To create a cloud FinOps lexicon, identify key terms and acronyms relevant to your organization and define them clearly and concisely, avoiding technical jargon. Give the team the lexicon and make it available. Team members should consistently use the lexicon in communications, documentation, and reporting. Sample cloud FinOps lexicons here and here.
3. Create a cloud FinOps culture
Developing a FinOps team requires more than just hiring skilled workers. It requires a culture change. This culture should value cost-consciousness, collaboration, and improvement.
Consider these when building a cloud FinOps culture:
- Cross-functional collaboration: Encourage IT, finance, and operations teams to work together. Communication and cooperation are key to finding cost-saving opportunities.
- Training and education: Team members and stakeholders should be trained and educated. Educate everyone on cost optimization and their role in it.
- Develop a continuous improvement mindset. Incentivize team members to regularly optimize cloud resources and cost management. Use gamification to make it fun, award quarterly ‘Cost Champion’ awards to teams that improve cost-efficiency the most, and share in town halls to inspire others.
- Democratizing cost visibility: Give cloud users some insight into their resource costs. This will promote financial accountability and responsibility throughout the company.
4.Establish a set of metrics and KPIs to gauge advancement
“What gets measured, gets managed.” This includes cloud FinOps. Your cloud FinOps team and cost optimisation efforts must be measured against a clear set of KPIs and success metrics to ensure financial accountability and value realization in your organisation. Start with observable cloud FinOps metrics and track unit economic metrics as your team matures. Limit your metrics to business-critical ones, set a feedback cadence, and iterate as you go.
Consider these metrics:
Cloud enablement: Lack of awareness and training prevents many organizations from adopting cloud FinOps. The number of business leaders trained or certified divided by the total number of cloud learners across the organization measures cloud enablement.
This will help business leaders understand how cloud can enable sustainable business outcomes.
Cloud allocation: The percentage of total cloud costs (taggable resources consumed by individual business units, shared resources, and non-taggable resources) allocated to responsible business owners. This metric supports Showback and Chargeback models and measures resource tagging and cost attribution to business units.
Continuous improvement: Savings from cloud optimization This metric helps organizations track inefficiencies and focus on cost savings to maximize the value of cloud computing. Total cloud services optimized divided by total cloud services optimizable is the ratio.
Forecast accuracy: Companies can better control cloud spend by measuring forecast accuracy and understanding what will happen if they plan. Actual cloud spends divided by annual forecast cloud spend measures forecast accuracy. A good forecast avoids surprises for executives and investors.
FinOps automation: This is measured by comparing the number of implemented automated recommendations to the total list of cost-saving automated recommendations.This is important because without strong actionable recommendations and monitoring, onboarding new workloads to the cloud can increase cloud waste.
Remember that your cloud FinOps team’s goals and your organization’s needs should guide metric selection. See cloud FinOps key metrics here.
5. Choose your tooling strategy carefully and review it often
Cloud FinOps requires the right tools. Cloud technology evolves, and new tools and services are introduced regularly. Therefore, you must carefully choose your tooling strategy and periodically reevaluate it.
Consider these factors when choosing and reevaluating cloud FinOps tools:
- Scalability: Your tools should grow with your company and cloud usage patterns.
- Integration: Find tools that work with your cloud infrastructure and other systems.
- Cost and ROI: Some tools cost more as your cloud usage grows, while others are fixed. Assess tool costs and ROI before making a decision. Will they save you more than they cost?
- Customization: Make sure your tool lets you customize and categorize reports and views to show organization-specific data.
- Technology: A good tool uses the latest technology. Modern tools have AI/ML features that make work easier.
- User-friendliness: Select tools that are easy to use and give your team actionable insights.
In conclusion, building a successful cloud FinOps team requires careful planning and a cost-conscious, continuous improvement culture. Remember that the cloud landscape changes, so cloud FinOps success requires agility and adaptability.