How Financial Operations Can Drive Cloud Performance, Cost Control and Sustainability





IT leaders across various sectors are under increasing pressure to maximize business value while ensuring adherence to sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmarks. While the financial implications are apparent, the environmental impact of IT systems has more recently captured the attention of corporate leadership. This situation places cloud and IT operations teams in the challenging position of balancing customer experience, budgets and sustainability targets.
For executives in search of an effective solution that helps IT in managing these trade-offs, cloud financial operations (FinOps) offers a well-defined solution. By optimizing and automating cloud and data center environments, FinOps provides a proven pathway to achieving these objectives.


Navigating the performance & cost dilemma in the digital transformation era

The rise of modern applications driven by digital transformation has introduced significant challenges for IT. Businesses strive to be more flexible and produce results quickly, so they aim for enhanced agility, elasticity and rapid developer output. With IDC projecting the creation of over 750 million new cloud-native applications and cloud services by 2025, the benefits of speed and agility are clear. Yet managing these applications within hybrid, multi-cloud environments has compounded certain challenges, which include:
  • lack of visibility to understand resource needs
  • compliance with security and governance mandates
  • integration challenges
  • inconsistencies between vendors


Modern applications’ intricacies have emerged as a top challenge in maximizing business value in the cloud. Additionally, end-users now demand higher application performance and reliability standards. Fast performance and uninterrupted uptime are now prerequisites for business success. This leads to increased resource allocation, which is meant to ensure ample capacity to handle unexpected spikes in demand or failures in one part of the environment. While this acts as a safety net, it can lead to a waste of resources if not carefully managed.


Ignoring the performance vs. cost predicament has implications beyond finance

The surge in application growth directly impacts data centers, where electricity constitutes a significant portion of operational costs. Whether managing on-premises data centers or utilizing public cloud resources, the environmental impact of supporting applications is substantial. To mitigate performance risks, organizations often over-dedicate resources, resulting in significant waste. In 2022, 32% of cloud spending was estimated as wasteful. Similar inefficiencies extend to on-premises data centers, which generally operate at just 20%-40% utilization. The urgent growth of digital applications underscores the CIO’s critical role in organizations with sustainability strategies, reflecting both the financial and operational dimensions of the challenge. 


Enabling multi-team collaboration through FinOps to optimize business value

Aligning the priorities of various departments can be a challenge, but to support a business model that is focused on sustainability goals, it is essential to adopt efficient cloud and IT resource management. Traditional siloed approaches to cloud spending and resource management are inadequate, given the environmental implications and competing priorities. This is where FinOps comes in. As an evolving discipline, it fosters collaboration among engineering, finance, technology and business teams to make data-driven spending choices.


Departmental priorities at-a-glance





Looking beyond cloud cost control: the expansive world of FinOps

While most businesses place the greatest emphasis on cost management, FinOps encompasses broader goals. The core FinOps capabilities include cost allocation, data analysis, anomaly management, commitment-based discount handling and forecasting/budgeting.
These capabilities align closely with most organizations’ cloud cost management objectives, but optimal business value is not merely about cutting costs. It should include extensive strategy to create a win-win scenario for ensuring performance, cost-efficiency and sustainability. By adopting a FinOps-driven methodology, organizations can proactively manage dynamic resource requirements without sacrificing quality or environmental responsibility. Through community engagement, training and a culture that supports these ideals, businesses can embark on a path that ensures a balanced and optimized approach to their cloud environment. This aligns perfectly with today’s imperative for responsible consumption and technological agility.


Cloud sustainability: balancing financial & environmental gains

Public clouds are designed to provide resources based on demand, allowing for flexibility and scalability. This needs-based provisioning helps ensure agility and elasticity.  However, for customers to realize these benefits, effective management is essential. Cloud providers leverage economies of scale, making them more efficient than traditional data centers. Furthermore, they invest in energy efficiency and cleaner energy sources. Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS), for instance, focus on sustainable energy and cooling methods. Enhanced transparency, like Microsoft’s Cloud for Sustainability, showcases efforts to reduce carbon emissions.


A shared responsibility model for cloud sustainability

Within this model, there are distinct responsibilities between cloud providers and customers. Providers, like AWS, ensure the sustainability and security of the physical infrastructure. Customers are responsible for managing environmental efficiency within their cloud instances and safeguarding data. This collaboration promotes green practices and security, aligning with both environmental goals and security protocols. At the same time, it highlights the essential role of FinOps teams to balance cost, performance and sustainability.






Trustworthy automation: the key to responsible cloud consumption

In the FinOps world, automation has great potential, but its adoption has been limited by concerns about maintaining application performance. Traditional cloud management methods may be too restrictive, lacking the flexibility for complete automation. Automation in cloud management, when done right, becomes a powerful tool. To build a trustworthy automation plan, start by:
  • Understanding the needs of the application and aligning automation rules to meet the expected performance levels
  • Utilizing monitoring and analytics tools to continually assess performance and costs
  • Setting up guardrails to ensure reliability and resilience


By building trust through proven strategies and tools, cloud automation can optimize cost, performance and sustainability, forming a core part of a responsible FinOps practice.





With a dependable automation strategy, organizations can dynamically adjust resources to meet specific service goals, fine-tune resource allocation and create a more energy-efficient and cost-effective approach to workload handling. This aligns perfectly with the FinOps ethos of balancing performance, cost and environmental stewardship.


The FinOps pathway to success

FinOps presents a well-defined route for executives aiming to resolve the performance-cost predicament while fostering sustainability, business value and ongoing expansion. Through detailed analysis of cloud and data center configurations, FinOps teams enable dynamic and precise allocation of resources to applications, optimizing performance, cutting unnecessary expenses and reducing wasteful energy usage. Ultimately, adopting a FinOps solution enables organizations to maintain a harmonious balance between customer experience, budgetary considerations and sustainability targets in their cloud and data center environments.


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