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FinOps Tools & Services

Framework / Domains / Manage the FinOps Practice / FinOps Tools & Services

Developing criteria and methodology to effectively integrate FinOps tools and services that align to the Framework Capabilities to empower the FinOps practice.

Manage a tool and service strategy

  • Map tools and services to organizational objectives
  • Identify organizational policies that apply to the use of tools and services
  • Identify tools and services in use in the organization currently
  • Consider requirements for developing organization tools versus purchasing commercial offerings and/or using cloud provider tools

Evaluate potential tools and services

  • Create and revise tool and service selection requirements
  • Evaluate available tools and service  for selection/procurement
  • Map organizational requirements to tool functionality/service offering
  • Evaluate considerations for developing organization tool versus purchasing commercial offerings

Implement selected tool and services

  • Configure and onboard the tool or service team
  • Provide required training, and enablement to tool users
  • Deploy tools and services prioritized by organizational unit, FinOps Persona, and Capability

Definition

The landscape of tools and services available to assist organizations with FinOps capabilities is diverse and growing. Every cloud provider offers an array of cost management tools. Software vendors offer a wide array of FinOps platforms and specialty tools. Many organizations also build their own tools, using inputs like FOCUS formatted cloud data integrated into internal systems.

For purposes of describing this capability, a FinOps Tool refers to any of the cloud provider or third party software packages that support any of the FinOps capabilities. Tools range from broad FinOps platforms that support most FinOps Capabilities to targeted specialty tools which deeply support a specific activity or scope of cloud usage. A FinOps Service refers to a third-party service to deliver outcomes related to the FinOps capabilities. These services may include training, consultancy, managed services or even the outsourcing of parts of your FinOps practice altogether.

The FinOps Tools and Services capability guides how an organization reviews its requirements for tools and/or services and then adopts them to further their FinOps maturity and practice. Organizations should develop a strategy to guide the use of tools and services. The strategy should consider the organization’s cloud strategy and what it hopes to achieve in the cloud, the policies in the organization that will govern the use of tools or consultants, tools currently in use or available for use, strategic vendor relationships, the cloud platforms the organization is using, and the appetite the organization has to build, integrate, or adopt new tooling. Even before looking at FinOps tools or services, it’s important to understand these things, so time and effort is not wasted considering tools or services that can’t be used, aren’t in line with the organization’s strategy, or conflict with things that are already in use.

To select tools or services, the organization should create a set of requirements to identify where help is required. The FinOps Landscape, available on the FinOps Foundation website includes a collection of tools and services which can be filtered by Capability and other selection criteria to help FinOps teams identify tools or services which may be applicable to their needs. There is no FinOps tool or service that is objectively “the best.” Different combinations of tools and services, procured or built, are going to be needed for different situations.

This tool and service strategy and the decision criteria for selecting tools will evolve over time as the organization’s needs change and mature. FinOps teams should revisit tool use regularly, particularly when major changes in cloud usage are being considered or made.

Every organization will use some combination of cloud provider native, third-party or open source tooling, as well as internally developed tools, and third-party services, to support the execution of their FinOps strategy. The mix of tooling, process, and third-party support will change as you mature in your practice of FinOps and in your use of cloud to realize higher business value for your organization.

Some tools are essential to being able to perform FinOps activities, but organizations must be careful not to expect or rely too heavily on any one tool. Used properly, many FinOps tools can automate or make routine tasks much easier, but they will not solve problems or engage with your teams without a skilled and knowledgeable FinOps team. Getting the organization engaged with the tools you use, getting information to each persona in the way that will best support their needs, and making your tooling investments work for the organization are all important challenges to take on. Do not underestimate the effort required to onboard and really understand the data being managed by your tools. Planning the rollout of tools, including who will have access, how they will use the systems, which parts of the organization or application teams will adopt tools first, all take careful thought.

Similarly, consulting, managed service, or outsourced operations services can be used effectively to provide a faster start to a FinOps practice, or to mature and accelerate value creation in particular areas. But overreliance or dependence on outside services can create problems as well. Balance the use of tools and services with your own teams’ organic FinOps development. Ultimately, successful FinOps practice relies on bringing value by supporting the objectives of the organization itself.

Maturity Assessment

Crawl

The crawl stage is basically the entry point for those without any FinOps operation, teams or culture. The organization may have various requirements, but often they will relate to visibility and basic optimisations. In this stage, an organization may not have a detailed understanding of the requirements for a tool or service beyond the initial basic needs. Attributes of an organization in the crawl stage may include:

  • Little to no requirements gathering process
  • Low level of acceptance criteria
  • Little to no market research performed
  • Few personas involved in requirement gathering or vendor selection
  • No buy vs build analysis taking place
  • Little to no implementation plan and embedding into processes
  • Little to no training for new employees who may use the tool
  • No ongoing evaluation to benchmark versus company requirements

Walk

At this stage the organization or practitioner has more than a basic understanding of FinOps capabilities and has begun some implementations. As such they have developed a better understanding of the requirements and different personas who may be stakeholders in the potential tools/services that can be bought/built to meet business requirements. Some example attributes of an organization in the walk phase may be:

  • A good level of requirements gathering from FinOps and Finance or Engineering persona
  • A basic level of requirements gathering from other personas who may be stakeholders
  • Reasonable level of research on the market options for tools/services
  • Basic buy vs build analysis completed
  • ROI plan for benefits of meeting the requirements gathered
  • Some implementation planning and embedding to process
  • Some level of training included for new starters for the tool/service as standard
  • Some basic long term evaluation of the tool/service post implementation

Run

At this stage it is expected that the practitioner or organization has advanced in their FinOps practice, accordingly, they will have a more rounded and detailed view of what the requirements are across all stakeholders.  They will also have plans for automation and embedding the tool/service into processes, augmenting the current workflows.  An organization in the run phase may have the following attributes:

  • A detailed level of requirements gathering from all involved stakeholder personas.
  • Detailed research on the market options for tools/services.
  • Detailed buy vs build analysis completed with expected ROI.
  • ROI plan for benefits of meeting the requirements gathered within defined timeframes.
  • Detailed implementation planning and embedding into processes, including automation.
  • Suitable level of training included for new starters for the tool/service as standard with ongoing refreshers.
  • A mature evaluation of the tool/service post implementation comparing it to potential alternatives as they arise.

Functional Activities

FinOps Practitioner

As someone in the FinOps team role, I will…

  • Ensure that all stakeholders are involved in requirements gathering to ensure that whatever is implemented is fit for purpose across the organization
  • Work closely with all user personas on implementation, training, operation, and ongoing evaluation

Engineering

As someone in an Engineering role, I will…

  • Support building requirements for engineering, as well as security and compliance.
  • Support with automation and integration expertise
  • Provide performance and usage data where required

Finance

As someone in a Finance role, I will…

  • Support building the requirements from a finance perspective
  • Support in building and applying tool/service related budgets and forecasts where applicable
  • Support ongoing evaluation of FinOps tools/services

Procurement

As someone in a Procurement role, I will…

  • Manage the requirements gathering process as well as commercial discussions where applicable
  • Use ongoing evaluation data in any further commercial discussions

Product

As someone in a Product role, I will…

  • Support requirements gathering and ongoing evaluation

Leadership

As someone in a Leadership role, I will…

  • Provide executive sponsorship for adoption of new tools/services
  • Helping to ensure alignment with the organizational objectives
  • Collaborate with the other stakeholders in the setting and evaluation of success criteria, KPIs and analysis of ROI arising from the usage of the tools/services

Measures of Success & KPIs

Organizational measures of success in this capability could be measured in terms of how well the FinOps tools/services are meeting the business case expectations, and if the organization is getting a positive ROI for the investment.

Organizations will gain the highest benefits from their FinOps tools/services when they have in place a process to perform periodic gap analysis against their current requirements and close identified gaps, and when they conduct annual performance and need reviews on any FinOps service providers/consultants procured by the organization.

Other measures of success in this capability could include adoption of high quality guidance tailored to the organization’s business processes and operational environment to foster consistent, frequent use of the tool/service by every persona. To ensure high productivity and performance by cloud stakeholders when using their tools/services, successful organizations allocate budgets for training.

A basic measure of success will be the number of people in various personas who are engaging with the tool to perform part of their job.

Metrics of success should be represented in the context of cloud value and be measured by one or more Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs could include:

  • total annual cloud cost savings/avoidance generated by the tool/service
  • percentage of the target audience successfully adopting the tool/service
  • the customer experience score, of the end users, as measured by a positive Net Promoter Score (NPS) metric, or similar
  • Post implementation assessment of the tool/service to determine whether it meets the requirements criteria from all stakeholders

Inputs & Outputs

  • Cloud Policy documents
  • Security and compliance policies
  • Procurement processes
  • Requirements from most of the other FinOps Capabilities where tool use will be supportive or services are required

FinOps Vendor Landscape

View the FinOps Landscape to learn more about these vendors.