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Cloudability Touts FinOps To Fix Wayward Cloud Budgets

With businesses struggling to wrangle their cloud spending, Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner Cloudability, along with other founding members of a newly launched industry association, is turning the spotlight on the concept of FinOps.

Short for "financial operations," FinOps in the IT industry has come to represent the idea of bringing "financial accountability to the variable-spend model" of the cloud, says J.R. Storment, co-founder of Cloudability and president of the nonprofit FinOps Foundation, which launched late last month. Cloudability, which bills itself as a "cloud financial management platform," is one of the dozen founding members of the FinOps Foundation, alongside Salesforce.com, Atlassian, Autodesk and others.

The foundation's aims include implementing education, training and certification programs around FinOps, which has emerged as a critical issue as enterprises move more and more of their workloads to the cloud with little guidance for how to manage the related costs. A recent 451 Research report sponsored by Cloudability (available here with sign-up) surveyed over 300 companies in the United States and United Kingdom and found that 80 percent experienced negative business impact due to "poor cloud financial management."

One of the most commonly cited effects of FinOps illiteracy is overspending on cloud accounts -- in rare cases, as much as three times what was originally budgeted. That level of overspending is often caused by a lack of communication between IT departments and finance departments regarding what cloud services are getting leveraged and when -- another trademark of poor cloud spending practices.

"FinOps is really about allowing these groups to come together to make better decisions and [creating] a common set of lexicon and practices and communication of skills that let them have those conversations, and have those decisions made in real-time," Storment says, noting that FinOps is as much about changing the culture of a business as it is about providing technical education.

Storment attributes the need for better cloud spending practices to the transition away from datacenter-centric IT, in which costs were mostly fixed. In today's era of cloud-centric IT, costs are more variable and often at the discretion of engineering teams, rather than finance departments. That makes forecasting and managing cloud costs very difficult.

A key goal of FinOps practitioners like Cloudability and the FinOps Foundation is fixing the communication gap between finance and IT, and developing best practices that give businesses more transparency into their cloud spending.

"The old centralized control methods don't really work anymore," Storment says. "It's a world where now you've got to bring together IT with engineering with finance and procurement teams."

To further promote its FinOps vision, Cloudability recently announced the inaugural CloudyCon FinOps User Conference will take place this September. Event information is available here.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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