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Why FinOps isn’t like climbing Mount Everest

“My name is Sam and I started my professional life in data centers. Building … Today I’m a FinOps Architect, focusing on the financial cloud management at clients of 45° Degrees. It’s undeniably clear that what I do professionally has evolved and changed over the years. So did IT.”

With this quote our FinOps Architect Sam D’Alleine kicks off his usual FinOps presentation. We cannot agree more with the fact IT has changed a lot, and of course, still is. One of those changes has to do with what we offer on a day to day basis: digital transformation and cloud journeys. FinOps is becoming an essential part of these changes. And although it might seem like a huge step when you think of starting to apply it, we can assure you FinOps isn’t like climbing Mount Everest.

Automation and the cost story

IT today is built around a whole new model called Cloud computing. What hasn’t changed, is that everything is still running on tons and tons of iron boxes, called servers. The thing that’s changed, is that we’re no longer procuring these machines for ourselves, instead we are consuming a series of IT services running on top of them. The main advantage of this new model of cloud computing is that it has allowed companies to scale their operations differently and get applications to their customers much faster. You could say that without this new approach, modern companies such as Netflix and Spotify wouldn’t exist today.

Every advantage has its disadvantage. Due to the new procurement model that comes with Cloud, it becomes challenging to keep costs under control. Since a lot of deployment processes are automated, it’s hard to manage your overall spend. Compare it to taking your family to an all you can eat restaurant, where the dishes come to you as you please and you pay after dinner for everything you’ve eaten. It’s exactly that invoice from hell we want to avoid. 


Cloud Financial management has undeniably created a new position within enterprises running major workloads in the cloud. IDC states that by 2023, 80% of organizations using Cloud Services will establish a dedicated FinOps function. It is undeniable that FinOps Architects have become more and more important to organizations who run workload and applications in the Cloud. But what is FinOps? One of the official definitions goes as follows:

“FinOps is a Financial Operating Model for the cloud – a combination of systems, best practices, and culture to increase an organization’s ability to understand cloud costs and make tradeoffs.”

What it all comes down to is that FinOps is there to make sure you are getting as much value as possible out of every dollar you consume in the cloud. 

Adopting FinOps

Because this new approach is new to a lot of companies and contains a lot of different steps, it might seem like a huge mountain to climb. To make the journey more attainable we look at adopting FinOps in four different steps:

  • Research: search for flaws within the company and identify a driver for your FinOps journey. Next, define a FinOps team, dedicated to implementing FinOps in your organization.
  • Plan: turn your FinOps ideas into an action plan by means of a crawl, walk, run approach. The key is that you need to do something that works for your organization and watch out so you don’t fall into the trap of wanting too much too soon. By planning your efforts, you make sure you don’t pass yourself by.
  • Pilot: communicate your first successes and celebrate your wins. Then use your initial successes to establish yourself as a practice and secure sponsorship from all stakeholders. You wouldn’t jump in the deep end before feeling the water first, right? 
  • Run: finally, go! What good is an idea if it stays an idea? Try, iterate, fail and learn. Always keep assessing  your current situation and think of what you want it to be. Next, put into practice what you need to do to change what’s necessary. After that, iterate this process until, eventually, you get a handle on it.

Mount Everest

Not convinced this isn’t a huge mountain to climb? Understandable, because we’re not gonna lie: this process takes a lot of time to master. So we’re not going to tell you otherwise. The main difference is that unlike climbing Mount Everest, FinOps is not a one time event, it goes on continuously until it is part of everyday culture. In other words, FinOps is a practice based on a long-term strategy, rather than a project. So instead of pursuing a one-time, incredibly hard goal, such as climbing a mountain, you’re working towards a better and smarter culture. A new set of processes, mindset and way of thinking that goes on continuously.

That’s why the end game of FinOps is, that we no longer talk about FinOps.

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