Collaboration is crucial for driving FinOps outcomes
In most organizations, there are three key stakeholder groups who have an important role to play in delivering an effective cloud financial management, commonly known as FinOps, practice. Each of the groups – Finance, DevOps/Engineering, and the Business – brings a unique perspective, combination of skills and set of needs to be met.
By getting these groups to collaborate effectively, organizations can increase their likelihood of achieving true cost accountability, of lowering hourly rates via increased commitment coverage, and generally improving the economics of running cloud. The right cloud cost management and optimization tool can help break down barriers between these groups by developing a shared understanding of cloud financial data and simplifying access to relevant insights.
With maturity comes specialization
It will be no surprise that as cloud footprints (and their bills) expand, the focus on financial governance and level of scrutiny progressively increases. Ideally, organizations are prepared for a wider group to be involved and for the increasing specialization of team members. For example, when starting out, cost management will usually fall into the hands of DevOps engineers only (perhaps with IT finance in their ear).
Consequently, the governance of cloud cost management and optimization tooling is extremely simple – DevOps staff act as full administrators, with read/write access to all features and data. They will also be responsible for creating any reports or dashboards as needed themselves. But as cloud consumption grows, chargeback and rigorous commitment planning become a necessity, which requires access to be granted to finance stakeholders.
Clearly, we don’t want to make these team members administrators with full access (heaven forbid they break something important!), but rather provide access to the right information. Over time, the number of individuals with an interest in cloud financial management inevitably multiplies and their backgrounds diversify, so surfacing the right information to each role becomes more critical to success.
Tip: Embrace clearly defined roles
At Apptio, we highly recommend creating custom roles focused on feature permissions within your cloud financial management tool early on. Doing so helps avoid (well meaning) team members breaking things and limits the distraction from items outside their purview. Here is an example Finance role that a Cloudability customer could roll out within their tool.
As you can see, users who are assigned this role will be prevented from editing org-wide configuration items such as Business Mapping. They also won’t be distracted by features, such as rightsizing, that sit outside their area of influence.
Instead, these finance team members will be able to focus on the areas they impact most, namely budgets & forecasts and reservation management. It is worth mentioning that there is a limited set of core capabilities, such as dashboards, made available to all users since they are broadly relevant.
Most Cloudability customers connect these custom roles to their enterprise IDP and SSO system. This makes granting access to Cloudability extremely straightforward, and it ensures that as more stakeholders get involved with FinOps, they start this journey with a financial management tool matching their specific needs.
Tip: Reduce time to value
Anything that reduces time to value will help to eliminate barriers between functional areas, increase team efficiency, and enable faster decision making. The quicker and easier it is for all team members to get relevant cost insights, the better. While there are a number of strategies that can help, we’ve found assigning personalized views across the user base particularly powerful.
In the example above, the finance team member is leveraging an org-wide curated dashboard to surface recent trends in cloud spend. The personalized views make it extremely easy to switch context and immediately understand cloud costs across the business. By reducing the effort to access this information, team members are more likely to know where their cloud spend is at and action issues when they come up.
Continuing to remove barriers
At Apptio, we recognize the need to continue making cloud as inclusive as possible across a diverse set of stakeholders. While Cloudability was designed to help support this need, we are always innovating and looking for new ways to enable our customers. Stay tuned for more enhancements later this year – developed to bring your stakeholders together and further strengthen your cloud financial management practice.
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