Optimize Your Cloud Strategy: 6 Key Takeaways From FinOps X 2024

These key insights from FinOps X 2024 will help guide your FinOps decisions, says Kyle Campos, chief technology & product officer at CloudBolt Software.

4 Min Read

Over a thousand FinOps practitioners convened last week at FinOps X to explore the forefront of cloud financial management. Hosted by the FinOps Foundation, the conference showcased significant advancements from some of the largest companies in the world, underscoring the FinOps community's strides in driving innovation and change.

So what were the main takeaways for those who couldn't attend? To help guide your FinOps decisions, here are the key highlights from the event:

#1: FOCUS 1.0 Heralds a New Era in Cloud Cost Management

One of the most groundbreaking announcements at the conference was the launch of FOCUS 1.0.

FOCUS, which stands for FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification, standardizes cloud billing data across major providers like AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud. By establishing a common taxonomy, terminology, and set of metrics, FOCUS streamlines data interpretation and integration, greatly enhancing transparency and ease of cloud cost management. As a result, it will become essential for FinOps vendors to align their data platforms with this new specification.

This milestone represents a significant leap forward for FinOps, and there are already plans underway for versions 1.1 and 1.2. These updates will address emerging challenges and incorporate valuable community feedback.

Related:Cloud Cost Calculators: Benefits and Limitations

#2: Harnessing AI/ML for Augmented FinOps

AI was a dominant theme at the conference, explored from two perspectives:

  • FinOps for AI: Discussions flowed around how FinOps practitioners can leverage AI and ML to be more fiscally efficient in the cloud.  

  • AI for FinOps: Chatter also centered around how to leverage the power of AI and ML to enhance FinOps practices and tools. Major cloud providers like AWS, Google, and Microsoft announced new AI-augmented features, including chatbot functionalities.

A key metric for FinOps success is the speed at which teams can act on cloud cost anomalies or opportunities, often termed "insight-to-action" time. Many organizations experience significant delays in this process, with resolutions often taking longer than desired. Ideally, these issues would be resolved almost instantaneously. At the conference, there was a strong consensus that equipping FinOps teams with advanced AI and ML tools would dramatically accelerate this process.

#3:  Accelerated FinOps Adoption & Growing Industry Collaboration

This year’s event saw a notable increase in participation from top Fortune 100 companies and leading cloud providers, emphasizing the widespread adoption and need of FinOps practices.

Related:How to Combat Runaway Cloud Costs and 'Cloud-flation' in 2024

A landmark moment was the joint appearance of AWS, Google, and Microsoft on stage, reflecting a major shift toward collaboration among the leading cloud providers in supporting FinOps initiatives. AWS stressed several key themes in its own announcements, including the ubiquity of FinOps, the need for trustworthiness and flexibility, and support of standardization efforts like FOCUS.

The commitment from leading cloud providers marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of FinOps. It highlights not only the growing recognition of its value, but also the importance of industry-wide collaboration to drive the future of cloud financial management.

#4: Embracing the Iterative Nature of FinOps

Global corporations like Disney and Uber touted FinOps' ability to evolve with changing cloud landscapes, emphasizing that FinOps is not a "set it and forget it" practice, but rather one of continuous refinement.

Effective cloud cost management requires ongoing monitoring, analysis, and adjustment of strategies based on evolving business needs and technological advancements. Embracing this iterative nature not only improves cost efficiency, but fosters a culture of continuous learning, agility, and innovation.

#5: Hurdles to Full FinOps Integration Persist Despite Progress

While notable advancements have been made, significant challenges remain. A key theme at the event was the need to overcome organizational barriers and foster a stronger FinOps culture.

Our recent survey of more than 900 FinOps practitioners revealed that although many organizations are making strides in integrating FinOps practices more deeply into their operations, there is indeed a troubling divide between FinOps and DevOps/engineering. A significant majority (86%) acknowledge a persistent gap between these two groups, and alarmingly, most reported that this divide has widened over the past year.

Fostering a culture of collaboration among all cloud stakeholders to collectively manage cloud costs is crucial. However, we found that a significant portion of executives (63%) and engineers (53%) still believe this responsibility should fall solely on IT. This misalignment is hindering the full potential of FinOps.

#6: The Convergence of FinOps with Other Domains

FinOps is increasingly converging with domains like sustainability and MLOps, highlighting the interconnectedness of cloud management and the need for collaboration across different facets of the IT landscape.

Integrating sustainability practices into FinOps allows organizations to optimize both financial metrics and environmental impact. Similarly, incorporating MLOps optimizes ML workloads. Looking ahead, FinOps will likely adopt a more holistic approach, integrating diverse disciplines to address the complex challenges of proving cloud ROI.

The Future of FinOps Is Bright

FinOps X 2024 showcased significant advancements in cloud financial management, and although most are moving in the right direction, the journey is far from complete. Still, the community is well-positioned to address emerging challenges as FinOps continues to mature. And by leveraging these insights, your organization can more quickly master FinOps best practices to optimize your cloud approach and maximize your cloud ROI.

About the author:

Kyle Campos is Chief Technology & Product Officer at CloudBolt Software.

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