There’s a new trend in cloud innovation and if businesses are not across it, they are already behind their peers. FinOps skills, a combination of cloud financial expertise and technical know-how, in areas like economics, accountancy and cloud engineering, are soaring in popularity as organisations seek to balance cloud cost control with time to value.
This skillset is highly prized at a time when multi-cloud environments are a mainstay for cloud-smart organisations. These platforms, which have grown 69% according to VMware research, enable businesses to efficiently move and scale applications between different clouds to drive innovation. Yet, if left unchecked, they can also lead to spiralling costs and unwanted complexity.
So, in a challenging financial climate, how can FinOps skills allow businesses to offset this complexity and deliver cost-conscious rapid cloud innovation?
Housing FinOps skills within Cloud Centres of Excellence
Our research shows that as many as 85% of European businesses are actively pursuing talent with FinOps skills to manage cloud costs within their IT department.
This represents a real shift in attitudes towards cloud economics. Typically a reserve of vendors and IT consultancies, individuals with FinOps skills - sometimes referred to as Cloud Economists - have assisted organisations to balance the books and keep control of costs. But now it is breaking out of this silo. As organisations recruit these individuals, they are starting to establish their own Cloud Centres of Excellence.
These centres are responsible for driving a culture of financial awareness and accountability across the business. They exist to deliver three primary functions:
- Execute a cloud strategy
- Drive collaboration and best practices between key stakeholders
- Ensure the technology deployed is supporting key business initiatives
Sitting within these centres, people with FinOps skills act as guardians of best practice regarding the cloud infrastructure within their organisation. From a resourcing perspective, these centres have three core focus areas:
- Cloud Financial Management
- Cloud Operations
- Cloud Security and Compliance
Though all three areas are important, the FinOps skillset directly lends itself to the Cloud Financial Management (CFM) approach.
The marriage between FinOps skills and CFM
CFM is a continuous process which helps organisations to align their financial objectives with cloud costs. This means that organisations can grow their cloud environments sustainably, in relation to demand, without allowing spend to spiral out of control. It is how businesses can be cloud-smart and find they can accelerate innovation without breaking the bank.
Owing to their enviable skillset, and ability to understand both the technical and financial side of cloud development, individuals with FinOps skills are increasingly charged with leading the CFM initiative. They are required to understand the depths of cloud economics, overseeing the IT financial strategy, implementing cost-saving measures, and educating the business on how the cloud can deliver rapid value. At the same time, with skills in project management and communication, they are tasked with bringing the business along on the cloud journey, and convey why the technology is not an expendable resource.
So, what does this look like in reality? Take the influence in DevOps as one example. People with FinOps skills are well positioned to negotiate aggressive pricing on a specific type of cloud container for its cost and efficiency benefits, before liaising with developers to showcase how designing and building software using those containers delivers greater financial returns.
Similarly, the FinOps skillset is perfectly suited to unite cloud cost control with an organisation’s technology, finance and business objectives. For example, this talent can identify, analyse and make the business case for replacing zombie infrastructure, which is unused or underutilised cloud resources that incur unnecessary costs. In doing so, these individuals can drive organisation-wide accountability and show senior stakeholders why modern cloud strategies, like multi-cloud, can address these shortcomings.
The prized skillset
It’s no surprise that so many businesses are now taking advantage of multi-cloud environments. However, they must be careful to ensure that cloud adoption does not come at the expense of their gross profit margins. That’s why the FinOps skillset has become highly prized, enabling businesses to maximise the benefits of multi-cloud strategies, including accelerating innovation and financial returns, without having to pay an unnecessary price.