The FinOps Program Manager
In the past year, FinOps has gained a solid foothold in the cloud space. Where it was previously necessary to champion the need for Cloud Financial Management and to invest in knowledge about the intricacies of cloud billing, it is now becoming more and more of an evidence to companies that have adopted the cloud. This is great, because that is the goal FinOps tried to achieve… right? Getting people to include Cloud Financial Management and FinOps principles in their daily operation of the cloud is what me and countless other FinOps Professionals have always strived for.
The FinOps Principles
With FinOps principles being adopted more and more in standard cloud practice, an interesting question arises: should there be a difference between a FinOps Engineer and a Cloud Engineer? If we take DevOps as an example, we could argue that there is no way to do Cloud Engineering without being knowledgeable of DevOps principles and practices. The same could be said of FinOps: It is impossible to do quality cloud engineering, without being aware of FinOps principles and best practices.
“But wait, did you not argue that there is a Shared Responsibility Model for FinOps too?” If we take that shared responsibility model, we can add the ‘cost efficiency in the cloud’ as a responsibility of the cloud engineers. That leaves us with the ‘cost efficiency of the cloud’, surely that is a reason to establish FinOps as a practice is here to stay? Yes and no. While the knowledge to do proper cost efficiency of the cloud is highly specific, the role filling up this layer of the FinOps Shared Responsibility model is very akin to that of a program manager. Enter: The FinOps Program Manager.
As FinOps becomes more of a tool in the toolbox of your Cloud Engineers other than a separate practice (as should be the case), you need a Program Manager to maintain and manage FinOps as a program within your organization. They are responsible for distributing knowledge, enabling managers and engineers in their access to the right information and making sure there is a clear way forward in developing FinOps within the organization.
To state it simply: in reality FinOps becomes a knowledge space or practice utilized by cloud engineers, and the program to ensure the cloud is adopted properly within the tech landscape of an organization. A dedicated FinOps profile is then responsible for gathering and maintaining that knowledge. In reality however, we often see this person being the same one as the FinOps Program Manager. They are the driving force in gathering and maintaining cloud billing and cost optimization knowledge and supporting the FinOps Program Management efforts within the organization. Based on their efforts, managers and cloud engineers can make informed decisions or have productive conversations on how to improve their cost efficiency in the cloud.
I believe that for FinOps to succeed in an organization there is a strong need for a FinOps Program Manager that can lead up and down the chain of command and steer the course to keeping the Shared Responsibility Model for FinOps in place.