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Putting the 'Fin' back into Cloud FinOps

For us, Cloud FinOps is at risk of being lost to semantic satiation - the psychological phenomenon in which the echoing of a word causes it to lose all meaning. Many of the strategies I hear applied to this domain are more attributable to a set of tools rather than a discipline made relevant due to the existence of innovation neighborhoods (I'll write more on the implications of neighborhoods later).

Focus in this domain tends to start with asset attribution via tagging nomenclature/mechanisms, coupled with some cartesian graph to show the relationship of activities, with tradeoffs, between maturity and value. As you move up and to the right on your journey to cloud-native you not only gain complete cost visibility, but you also gain mathematical inequality in terms of being able to forecast accurately. There is therefore talk of optimizing contract vehicles, optimizing resources, optimal architectural patterns, and so on. While these are all important aspects of this discipline, where is the emphasis on FinOps in these discussions?

FinOps equates to visibility around capital flow, making alignment to corporate growth strategies realistic (e.g., leadership can better scale investments to align to market demands). This requires discussions of unit economics that incorporate ALL dependencies, high-value transaction mappings/KPIs, cost error margins that are managed at a program level, etc. Let's also not forget some of the indirect influences on cloud economics, including changes to taxation & credit rules, the economics of unoptimized processes, cloud operating models, effects of changing business constraints, organizational change management implications, etc.

No doubt, variable costs of the cloud can be expensive without continuous commitment to modernization, but the value of transaction cost visibility is paramount in a FinOps discussion. Tools alone only get us so far. Let's get into this subject ... and the implications of those innovation networks (primer: some of my thoughts in that domain are formed by researching Schumpeter clusters).

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Satbir Sran -, (202)-431-0558

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