Cloud cost optimization? Say hello to the FinOps Program Manager

15/02/2023 Team Cloudar

FinOps has gained a solid foothold in the cloud space over the past year. While we used to have to champion cloud financial management, the need for expertise on the intricacies of cloud billing is becoming more and more obvious to companies that have moved to the cloud. Now the question is, who is responsible for cost efficiency of the cloud? Enter the FinOps Program Manager.

Getting people to include Cloud financial management and FinOps principles in their daily operation of the cloud is what FinOps professionals like me have been striving for. With FinOps principles integrated more and more into standard cloud practice, an interesting question arises: should the FinOps engineer and the cloud engineer be two separate roles?

If we take DevOps as a precedent, we could argue that there is no way to do cloud engineering without being knowledgeable about DevOps principles and practices. The same could be said of FinOps: It is impossible to do quality cloud engineering without being aware of FinOps principles and best practices.

But wait, isn’t there a shared responsibility model for FinOps too? If we take that shared responsibility model, we can add the “cost efficiency in the cloud” to the responsibilities of the cloud engineers. That leaves us with the “cost efficiency of the cloud”, which surely means FinOps is here to stay? Yes and no. While the knowledge to properly ensure cost efficiency of the cloud is highly specific, the role filling up this layer of the FinOps shared responsibility model is akin to that of a program manager. Say hello to the FinOps Program Manager!

As FinOps becomes more of a tool in the toolbox of Cloud engineers rather than a separate practice (as should be the case), we need Program Managers to maintain and manage FinOps as a program within organizations. FinOps Program Managers are responsible for distributing knowledge, enabling managers and engineers in their access to the right information and making sure the organization has a clear way forward in developing FinOps.

In essence, FinOps becomes a knowledge space or practice utilized by cloud engineers and the program to ensure the cloud is adopted properly within the organization’s tech landscape. A dedicated FinOps profile is responsible for gathering and maintaining that knowledge. In practice, we often see this person and the FinOps Program Manager being one and the same. They are the driving force in gathering and maintaining cloud billing and cost optimization knowledge and supporting FinOps program management efforts within the organization. Based on their efforts, managers and cloud engineers can make informed decisions and have productive conversations on how to improve their cost efficiency in the cloud.

The bottom line: For FinOps to succeed in an organization, there is a strong need for a FinOps Program Manager who can lead up and down the chain of command and steer the course to keeping the shared responsibility model for FinOps in place.

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