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FinOps: How to Gain Sponsorship and Implement a New Structure

29 March 2022

In this second installment of the Certero Guide to FinOps, we’re looking at identifying who the stakeholders are across the business that you will need to gain sponsorship from and how you can create a team with a common understanding of FinOps purposes, processes and best practices.

Who are the FinOps Stakeholders?

From CIO’s to engineers, everyone has a role to play when it comes to managing the cloud. To start with, the FinOps team obviously must contain individuals who have cloud experience. There should be someone knowledgeable on cloud vendors within the team who can make informed changes to the cloud environment. The FinOps team however is broader than just architects and engineers, it will need to include stakeholders from the business owners of the products or services running in the cloud.

The common thread across the team is they should be great communicators and able to facilitate and drive conversations that foster trust. They should have the ability to partner with all areas of the business to quickly find and solve issues and risks, such as a sudden increase in spend. It is therefore best practice to consider individuals from the following roles:

Executives: CIO / CTO, Infrastructure Leads, Head of Cloud Infrastructure / Operations, Head of Cloud Centre of Excellence.

Executives focus on driving accountability and building transparency, ensuring teams are being efficient and not exceeding budgets. Driving the agenda for cultural change, they can also raise Cloud issues internally and encourage broader buy-in from the business.

Business or Product Owner: Business Operations Director, Director of Cloud Operations, Cloud Analyst

Business / Product owners should know the business needs and be able to communicate this to help in the build, design and recommend on-going optimization of Cloud resources.

FinOps Practitioners: AWS / Azure / Google Cloud FinOps Analyst, Director of Cloud Optimization, Manager of Cloud Operations or Cost Optimization, Data Analyst. Finance Team.

These individuals are the central core of the FinOps framework and report in to the executive stakeholders. Their primary focus is on financial analysis, forecasting cloud spend, allocating and budgeting cloud spend to teams. FinOps practitioners benefit from having cross-functional experience and the ability to communicate effectively and be able to ‘speak the same language’ as the hub to the other teams.

Finance & Procurement: Technology Procurement Manager, Strategic Sourcing, Financial Business Advisor.

Skilled financial people are required to understand historic billing data so that they can build-out more accurate cost models. They use their forecasts and expertise that they have gained from the FinOps team to engage in rate negotiations with cloud service providers (CSP) and ensure efficacy of cloud spend.

Engineering & Operations: Cloud Architect, Lead Software Engineer, Principal Systems Engineer, Engineering Manager.

The focus for these individuals is building and supporting high-quality services for the organization. Right-sizing, tracking & monitoring cloud usage, resources and cost, allocating container costs, finding unused storage and compute, and identifying whether spending anomalies are expected. They are responsible for balancing speed, cost and quality.

What Does FinOps Require?

Now that you have you FinOps team selected it’s time to focus on the essential building blocks that your FinOps program will need:

Cultural Change Driven from an Executive Level: This means dissolving boundaries between teams and business functions, promoting communication and collaborative working practices. Arguably, it is finance and procurement teams who undergo the greatest change under the FinOps framework, as these teams collaborate much more closely with engineering and FinOps practitioners to develop more detailed and accurate cost allocation, capacity planning, chargeback, show-back and forecasting models.

Defined Processes, Standards & Procurement Best Practices: When defining standards for multi-cloud management, such as tagging and reporting across multiple cloud platforms, these efficient processes need to be collaborative in their design and well communicated. The key performance metric is cost, factored-in at all stages of designing, implementing and optimizing cloud solutions for the business.

A Multi-Cloud Management Solution like Vitado by Certero, providing near real-time visibility into multi-platform cloud infrastructure, utilization and cost. Your chosen technology should include the ability to build-in automation where possible to avoid performing repetitive manual tasks. As cloud cost-optimization solutions are where many processes are enacted, the ability of these solutions can in part help to define and streamline practices, such as tagging and reporting.

Fundamental Data Quality: This is essential, as is the ability for FinOps stakeholders to access the information they require – whether they’re engineers, procurement / finance, business operations or executives. Each should ideally have access to their own easily-customizable dashboards within a unified single solution that has visibility across all cloud environments used by the business, providing a centralized Cloud intelligence platform; a relevant, ‘single source of the truth’ capable of presenting information from multiple sources in meaningful ways to the user—not just an engineer’s portal or a single-silo view.

Cloud Vendor Skills & Communication – A strong understanding of the functional products and financial models and incentives offered by the major cloud vendors. FinOps should facilitate communication and understanding from ‘business need’ to technical ability to meet that need, through financial control and back to the business ‘owners’ of cloud assets – ensuring that fiscal responsibility remains with business functions, who are informed through FinOps.

Cloud Engineers Who Understand the Need, Commercial Implications & Will of the Business. When tied together, FinOps enables the business to evolve its understanding of Cloud costs from an out-of-context business expense, to an expense directly contributing to business value. This is often referred to as a ‘Unit Economics’ model. Teams can no longer simply consider their own priorities, they must work together to control spend, maintain agility and innovation.

What are the FinOps Stages?

In the third and final installment of this Certero Guide to FinOps series we will be looking at what the three operational stages of FinOps are and how you implement them to create an on-going cycle to communication and control.

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How Vitado can help

Vitado offer helpful cloud management services and a unified technology platform to provide the full visibility and proactive alerting to gaps in processes and standards as outlined above. To find out more about the Vitado solution, to arrange a demo or to speak to your local Vitado team about any of our services, simply contact us today.

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