Delivering business impact with Cloud FinOps

  • Get new expertise in-house, increased IT team productivity
  • FinOps is the practice of creating visibility and bringing financial accountability

Delivering business impact with Cloud FinOpsTo stay ahead of the competition, organizations need to rethink how they can increase productivity and operational efficiency. Today, organizations in Malaysia are increasingly turning to the cloud to provide more agile and flexible technology platforms to fuel their own innovation and in turn deliver better experiences to customers.

A fully agile, zero-commitment model can work well for some workloads that experience peaks and troughs in demand. But as cloud adoption matures in organizations, base loads become more predictable.

This means organizations must strike a balance between committed consumption and agility with their cloud providers to maximize the return on their investment while maintaining the flexibility they need. As technology platforms become more dynamic, this can be a daunting task. As such, more and more companies are implementing cloud financial operations (FinOps) practices, which unite business strategy with enterprise-wide accountability to manage and optimize cloud spend.

FinOps is the relatively new practice of creating visibility and bringing financial accountability to the cloud’s variable consumption model. Basically, finance and IT are developing a series of best practice measures to quantify and provide insight into the associated costs of using the cloud. The goal is to create a financial cloud model that balances engagement with agility, delivering business needs while continuously monitoring and optimizing architectures to ensure performance and availability.

The first steps in cloud migration

Cloud migrations represent a major shift in how an organization enables IT and digital initiatives. This trend is accelerating worldwide, with research firm IDC predicting that “all cloud” spending will reach a whopping $1.3 trillion worldwide by 2025.

Closer to home, the government had introduced the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDIGITAL) to boost the nation’s competitiveness by growing the cloud industry. As part of the program, the government also aims to migrate 80% of public data to hybrid cloud systems. This will enable cloud services to enable powerful technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and other applications to increase productivity.

The goal of any cloud migration or adoption is to accelerate digital transformation and shift the focus to drive innovation. A good example is the implementation of cloud-native application platforms such as serverless, microservices, which allow IT professionals to focus on application development or more business results-focused activities instead of “keeping the lights on.”

These dynamic environments mean that automation must play a greater role. In general, organizations should seek to develop programs and use tools that allow them to continuously improve security, automation, cost management, resource utilization and compliance simultaneously, with each optimization creating multiple benefits whenever possible.

Pooling expertise to unlock the best of the cloud

What is the best way for companies to organize their strategies and teams to achieve these goals? As companies continue to increase cloud investments, they should also consider how to expand their cloud expertise. Cloud maturity includes centralizing and coordinating decision-making across teams.

This is where the establishment of a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) can be useful. Benefits include improved governance, better overall operational efficiency, increased confidence in cloud security, increased accountability, better understanding of cloud bills, easier audit processes and more accurate levels of billing departments for their cloud usage.

As more companies invest more deeply in the cloud and the number of cloud users matures, they should consider the business value gained from these resources.

FinOps a crucial part of cloud transformation

While FinOps is a key component of a CCoE, many companies still lack visibility into the various aspects of the company’s public cloud operations and are therefore unable to monitor and optimize public cloud costs.

One way cloud decision makers can take a proactive approach to managing their cloud costs is by implementing a FinOps practice. More than just managing and monitoring costs, FinOps takes a holistic view of cloud business value alongside an organization’s goals.

In any cloud deployment, FinOps teams must balance the need for speed/performance, quality and cost. Just like you don’t need to drive at race car speed to get to the grocery store, peak performance 24/7 may not be necessary for every scenario. FinOps stands to help organizations optimize and right-size their cloud use and thus create greater efficiency in cloud implementation and overall costs.

Awareness and interest in adopting FinOps has grown rapidly in Asia Pacific in the last year and I foresee similar trends in Malaysia as well. Businesses will seek to “do more with less” as they seek cost control measures against the backdrop of inflation and increased business costs.

So how can we establish this practice quickly? Partnering with Managed Service Providers (MSPs) is an effective way to implement FinOps, as many of them offer managed cloud and financial operations as their core services. Through their MSPs, companies can take a more holistic approach to increase control, optimize their IT resources and budgets more efficiently, and deliver critical services such as networks, applications, infrastructure, and security. This in turn helps drive cloud business value over time.

For example, when a CCoE is combined with a dedicated MSP in cloud operations, companies can go even deeper into their cloud journey and often take a more well-rounded approach to their cloud transformation projects.

NetApp customers who have adopted the MSP approach have told us that they enjoyed many benefits ̶ gaining expertise they did not previously have in-house, realizing increased IT team productivity, improved security and compliance, and a reduction in the total cloud costs.

Clearly, FinOps and its implementation via an MSP model is one that organizations should consider in the next phase of their cloud journey.

Note: Carol Wang is Country Manager for NetApp Malaysia.


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