27/01/2022 Benjamin Van der Maas

Do what works: choosing the right FinOps approach

With the growth of FinOps as a recognized practice in IT, the rise of multiple frameworks and practices is unavoidable. As is the case with DevOps, there are always various ways to structure your approach. In the end it’s all about what works best for your organization. A framework such as that designed by the FinOps Foundation is great to help you get the lay of the land and draw up an initial approach. AWS does the same with their four-pillar approach in their Cloud Financial Management framework.

The current FinOps philosophy is mainly dominated by the principles, phases and capabilities provided and described by the FinOps Foundation. For people looking to take their first steps into Cloud Financial Management, that is a solid place to start. In general, the FinOps Foundation (or F2) Framework provides a set of rules to keep in mind (the principles), a suggestion of phases to split your adoption in and a list of tasks that can give you an idea of the responsibilities for a FinOps team.

In tandem with the development of the F2 Framework, AWS started growing the cost-optimization pillar of their Well-Architected Framework into the AWS Cloud Financial Management framework. In it, they provide four pillars to structure your cloud financial practice. Where the F2 Framework preaches Inform, Optimize and Operate as key parts of the FinOps adoption journey, AWS tells you to build on the pillars of See, Save, Plan and Run.

After talking with people from both AWS and the FinOps Foundation, I think this is the best way to compare the two: The F2 Framework is a holistic, culture-focused approach that seeks to provide a frame of reference when implementing FinOps in your organization. The AWS Cloud Financial Management framework is more hands-on, more technical and strives to establish a practice within the existing company culture.


I’m sure that with the growth of FinOps in the tech landscape, new frameworks and ways of approaching Financial Operations in the Cloud will emerge. While it is always good to not have to start from scratch with something, we shouldn’t forget that FinOps happens in the field. If you Google “DevOps Principles”, you get one blog saying there are seven core principles, another saying there are three, and yet another claiming the real number is five. The truth is, DevOps (and likewise FinOps), is whatever you need and build in your own organization.

FinOps is at its core a grassroots practice that can be aided, but not dictated, by a framework. Do what works for your company, be inspired, change the principles, pillars and phases to terminology that works for you. The right approach is the one that helps you reach your FinOps goals. In the end, adopting FinOps is about internalizing FinOps in your organization, not about adopting a framework.



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