“Cloud moved decision-making responsibility out of finance and into engineering”
SADA CTO Miles Ward has joined the FinOps Governing Board as a voting member to help craft Foundation strategy and direction. To better understand the importance of Cloud Financial Management and the role of the Foundation, we asked Miles a few questions.
FinOps Foundation recently announced that SADA had joined the organization, which is part of The Linux Foundation’s non-profit technology consortium and a non-profit trade association focused on advancing the people and practice of cloud financial management, as a Premier Member, alongside Google and VMware.
FinOps is shorthand for “Cloud Financial Operations” or the practice “Cloud Financial Management,” which ensures organizations get the most value out of every dollar they spend in the public cloud.
SADA CTO Miles Ward has joined the FinOps Governing Board as a voting member to help craft Foundation strategy and direction. To better understand the importance of Cloud Financial Management and the role of the Foundation, we asked Miles the following questions:
JAXenter: What are the challenges companies face in terms of understanding their cloud costs, and what are the business/financial implications associated with these challenges?
Miles Ward: Cloud, as much as it has simplified application development and deployment, high-availability operations, and advanced analytics, it has *not* had that same effect on the bill. Google has over 100,00 SKU’s, and that’s far less than the others!
I remember happily telling a customer the canonical cloud benefit “you pay only for what you use”; the finance lead replied, “wait, what we pay depends on what we do day to day?” Not every part of your team sees this change the same way!
Compared to a procurement-controlled infrastructure acquisition process, cloud has moved enormous decision-making responsibility out of the finance team and into engineering, who frankly is often new to this.
As those engineers bring details and plans back to the finance team, they’re often speaking a totally foreign language. If companies are going to properly handle forecasting, the move of spend from CAPEX to OPEX, the nuance of negotiation with providers, not to mention the seemingly tiny optimizations that can create outsized cost reductions, they’re going to need to learn how to get the engineers and finance teams speaking the same language.
JAXenter: How can an organization like the FinOps Foundation help companies overcome these challenges?
Miles Ward: They’re the ones writing the rosetta stone! By creating the translations that will help these two teams work together better, they’re enabling everyone to collaborate. Also, they’re building standardized methods for reporting, planning, and forecasting to reduce confusion and help companies operate confidently in the cloud. Critically, it’s also building a community of practitioners so that folks who’ve often been working solo on these complex problems can have a group of peers to lean on.
JAXenter: How do you view your role with the FinOps Foundation in terms of the experience you have and support you’re able to offer?
Miles Ward: I’ve been fighting with cloud finance for 12 years, billions of dollars’ worth, so I know *exactly* the pain members of our foundation experience.
I helped build the pricing calculator for Google Cloud, so I know the complexity too (466k of JSON, just in prices!). I helped build a forecasting model that overwhelmed Google Sheets because it needed more than 5,000,000 cells!
So I’m on their team, because I’m *really* on their team :)
Thank you so much!