You may not have noticed, but everyone’s talking about FinOps. The so-called “ITAM of the cloud” is on every ITAM practitioner’s mind right now. The question isn’t, “does ITAM need to get involved with FinOps?”, but, most importantly (away from the books, pundits, and webinars), “what does this look like in real life?”.
We recently hosted a webinar, FinOps + ITAM: How it works in ‘real life’, to find the answer this question. The event, hosted by the ITAM Review’s Rich Gibbons, tapped the knowledge of a global panel of ITAM & FinOps Certified Practitioners:
- George Arezina, ITAM & FinOps Consultant, and SAM & SaaS Trusted Advisor
- Ron Brill, Chairman; Anglepoint
- Salome Hugo, Head of Enterprise ITAM; FNB South Africa
- Sergio Molina, Cloud FinOps and Digital Transformation Lead; financial services company
- Wuming Zhang, Lead Cloud Architect; Helvetia Versicherungen Schweiz
When did you first hear about FinOps? When did the penny drop?
Ron explained that Anglepoint clients have been using cloud assets for quite a number of years, so cloud cost management was something they were already doing or thinking about. By 2020, he could see there were a number of disciplines emerging in the cloud management movement with FinOps eventually emerging as the dominant one.
Salome said she’s been “meddling” in First National Bank’s cloud accounts since around 2017 “before we knew the FinOps term. I always thought it should be part of what we do in ITAM before we realised it was part of its own discipline.”
For Rich, who has been writing about FinOps at the ITAM Review since 2019, said FinOps “feels like a natural progression of ITAM.” Something that was born out of ITAM.
How can ITAM help?
As George pointed out at the start, ITAM’s very survival as a relevant business function depends on its ability to evolve. It needs to respond to the changes and challenges posed by cloud and FinOps. “Don’t wait for FinOps to knock on your door. You’ve got to put the effort in to get a seat at that table. You’ve got to do the work. Get out there and get involved with your FinOps teams.”
The panel identified a number of ways in which ITAM can add value:
- Recognise your shared goal of bringing order to the company’s financial investments. Both teams are going to the same place. They’re just on different paths.
- Calculating the ROI of cloud migration. ITAM is critical to calculating the ROI of cloud migration. If you ignore licensing, you’re going to miss a big part of the picture. Some on-prem licences can be migrated, some can’t, or can with a different cost structure or rules. The ability to include the software element is a key part of the cost analysis, which FinOps cannot do alone.
- Licensing expertise. In a world with ITAM, there’s no point in trying to learn the ins-and-outs of software licensing. There’s already a team that knows it – ITAM.
- Licensing analysis, especially via-a-vis cloud vs on-prem. Optimising the costs between BYOL and marketplace (subscription) software is not simple. You might have a license on the shelf with hybrid use rights, which is cheaper to use in the cloud than moving to a marketplace subscription, and vice versa.
- Commercial understanding. ITAM has been negotiating discounts with software vendors its entire life, so ITAM practitioners tend to be more commercially savvy than their FinOps counterparts, who tend to be more technical. This expertise is critical, especially when it comes to evaluating cloud vs on-prem since ITAM knows the types of discounts out there. A cloud license might look cheaper on paper, but ITAM knows it’s never as simple as looking at the list price.
- Be prepared to learn from each other. ITAM shouldn’t assume its way is right and neither should FinOps. A few years ago, you could say there was an element of territoriality, but those barriers are being broken down. Collaboration always yields better results.