For a SaaS company, managing cloud costs isn't just about cutting spending. Knowing who is responsible for what part of your cloud bill and why means knowing which decisions will give you a competitive edge in the market.
Lately, a cultural practice that aims to bring financial accountability to the cloud has emerged — FinOps. There are several reasons why FinOps is important for any growing organization:
- Cost management: Organizations can understand and manage their cloud spending, which can skyrocket if usage is left unchecked.
- Accountability: Teams establish clear ownership of cloud resources, making it easier to track usage, costs, and performance.
- Collaboration: People across departments come together to ensure that their cloud infrastructure and services are performing optimally and can scale to meet business needs.
In short, FinOps is all about making sure your cloud usage is aligned with business goals, and that you're spending the right amount of money on the right things. Software is vital here, as you need a way to break down cost data and place it within your business context.
Let's take a look at some of the key things to consider when evaluating FinOps tools. If you'd rather skip to our favorite picks, we've put together a list of top contenders in our cloud cost management buyer's guide.
Chances are, your organization is using multiple cloud providers to host and run its applications. If this is the case, you'll need to look for a solution that consolidates your billing data across the providers you're using, be it AWS, Azure, or Snowflake. A good FinOps tool will also give you visibility into how much a certain service (EC2 or S3, for example) is costing you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
2. Cost Allocation
A key feature of any FinOps tool is the ability to allocate expenses to a particular team, feature, or project. This is what allows management to see what's driving cloud spending and make decisions based on this data. An ideal platform will translate cost data into business metrics such as cost per customer. Knowing the price you pay to support a particular use case is helpful when you're trying to figure out who your most profitable customers and segments are. This data can help steer key product development, sales, and marketing decisions.
3. Insights and Analysis
Your tool of choice should provide clear and actionable insights into reducing your cloud costs and making your infrastructure more efficient. Some tools will go as far as to help you automatically detect idle resources and give rightsizing advice to reduce unnecessary expenses.
Every member of a FinOps team is concerned with different metrics, and ideally, your tool will allow them to track things that matter to them by creating custom dashboards and reports. For example, an engineering team lead might want to show other stakeholders that their team has stayed within budget when building a new feature. A sales rep, on the other hand, might want to build a report that sorts customers by the cost required to support their use case.
The tool you choose should be able to handle large amounts of data and multiple accounts and services, so you can easily manage costs across your entire organization. For example, as your organization grows, teams expand, and the need for access to cost data and management increases. A scalable FinOps tool can handle a surge in the number of users, providing secure access and permissions to everyone on board.
The vendor should be responsive and willing to help you with any questions or issues that arise. This also includes implementation and configuration, which is crucial when it comes to getting accurate and actionable insights. A good support team will support you in properly setting up the tool to ensure it works as it should for your use case.
As organizations continue to shift more of their workloads to the cloud, FinOps can provide a framework for keeping costs in check and improving efficiency.
FinOps tools are designed to provide organizations with the insights they need to ensure their cloud usage is in line with business objectives, but choosing the right tool can be tricky. Coverage, cost allocation, reporting, and scalability are some of the key features you need to keep an eye on, and you should carefully evaluate them against your business needs.
We built Finout with the aim of helping you optimize your cloud spending. Finout is FinOps-certified, which means it's recognized as a tool that helps organizations successfully adopt cloud financial management practices aligned with the FinOps standards. Book a demo walkthrough to get started for free.