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Build a FinOps Strategy to Enable Dynamic Cloud Cost Management

Maximize cloud value to power exponential technologies.

For many organizations, jumping on the cloud bandwagon has not translated into immediate cost savings. Complex pricing models, misallocation of resources, and other hidden expenses have resulted in soaring cloud costs. Our blueprint provides guidance on building a FinOps strategy to improve cloud cost management and prepare your organization for an exponential IT future.

With the accelerated development of exponential technologies, organizations need a dynamic cloud platform to support an autonomous AI-driven ecosystem. Advanced FinOps will be essential for IT and the entire organization to effectively control and optimize cloud expenditures for maximum value.

1. The cloud isn’t cheap – proactively manage your cloud spend to reap its benefits.

The value of the cloud can be found not in direct cost savings, but in benefits such as flexibility, scalability, and speed of delivery. Cloud costs must be closely managed and right-sized to your needs to ensure that cloud spend delivers maximum value.

2. Get your cloud goals in line with the objectives of your organization.

FinOps is not just about cost management. It helps organizations ensure their cloud spending is aligned with their organizational goals – misalignment of resources with goals will stand in the way of cost savings, agility enhancement, and innovation.

3. Take ownership of your cloud ecosystem with effective governance.

Overcome the challenges of cloud cost management with cross-functional FinOps practices that break down the walls between Finance, IT, and other departments. Develop cost management policies, build budgets and benchmarks, and make users accountable for their cloud usage.

4. You must start with the FinOps basics, but don’t stop there.

To power exponential technologies, you’ll need advanced AI-assisted FinOps practices that will enable and expedite your cloud cost management initiatives. Think predictive data analytics to evaluate expenses and extract metrics, and automated systems to autonomize routine cost management tasks.

Use our framework to build a FinOps strategy that boosts cloud value with advanced analytics, forecasting, and automation

Our research guides you through best practices to build a FinOps foundation that provides visibility into resource utilization and implements benchmarking and budgeting to enable forecasting. It also provides step-by-step guidance to adopting AI-powered technologies for proactive cloud resource and cost management and anomaly detection. Use this blueprint, tools, and templates to:

  • Develop a FinOps strategic plan that aligns with your financial goals with our three-phase approach.
  • Establish financial transparency with strategy and policy templates to streamline granular tracking and analysis of cloud expenditure.
  • Employ advanced and predictive data analytics capabilities to evaluate cloud expenses and extract insightful metrics. Support the process with performance tracking, roles and responsibilities, and roadmap templates.
  • Determine selection criteria and use cases for automated systems to autonomize routine cloud cost management tasks. Assess solutions with our vendor evaluation workbook.

Build a FinOps Strategy to Enable Dynamic Cloud Cost Management Research & Tools

1. Build a FinOps Strategy to Enable Dynamic Cloud Cost Management Deck – A step-by-step blueprint to help you build FinOps processes for efficient cloud cost management and prepare to use automation for proactive cloud resource management.

Use this blueprint to learn how to build a strategy for FinOps adoption. This research:

  • Helps you put processes in place for efficient cloud cost management.
  • Guides you through best practices to lay a FinOps foundation by providing visibility into resource utilization and implementing benchmarking and budgeting to enable forecasting.
  • Provides a step-by-step guide to adopt AI-powered technologies for proactive cloud resource and cost management and anomaly detection.

2. FinOps Strategy Template – A leadership-ready presentation template that helps you summarize your FinOps strategy.

Use this template to help visualize and communicate the specifics related to your FinOps practices. Follow the guidelines in the blueprint and record activity results from the first two phases in this template. The findings will be presented to the management team and all stakeholders.

3. Cloud Cost Management Policy – A structured template to document your cloud cost management policies.

Use this template as a starting point for addressing policy gaps. Follow the blueprint activities and document results in this template to build a complete policy for cloud cost management and record your expectations around tagging, metrics, and cost control.

4. Performance Scorecard Template – A template to set a motivating system for improving cost management.

This template can be used to encourage resource utilization improvements between teams. Record each team’s current state and target state for cloud resource management.

5. FinOps Roles and Terminology Guide – A formal template that helps you document FinOps roles and common FinOps terminology.

Use this template to brainstorm centric FinOps roles and their responsibilities. Also use it to record common FinOps terms and their definitions to make sure that all stakeholders understand the FinOps language.

6. FinOps Roadmap – An Excel-based roadmap tool to help create an action plan for your FinOps project.

Use this roadmap tool in conjunction with the project blueprint to define FinOps project tasks, their owners, priorities, and timeline.

7. FinOps Vendor Evaluation Workbook – A detailed spreadsheet to help you formalize selection of cloud cost management platforms and set the starting point for platform evaluation.

Use this spreadsheet to:

  • Identify detailed features.
  • Prioritize each feature according to their importance and the value they will provide.
  • Evaluate solutions to narrow down to a list of platforms and support deeper conversations with vendors.

Build a FinOps Strategy to Enable Dynamic Cloud Cost Management

Maximize cloud value to power exponential technologies.


Analyst perspective

Integrate FinOps practices and adopt advanced technology to drive organizational growth.

The significant increase in cloud adoption has escalated the complexity of cloud resource management. Engineers are being motivated to be innovative, which adds more costs to cloud resources.

Organizations should break the silo between Finance and other departments, provide more visibility into their expenditures, and make stakeholders responsible for their use of resources. FinOps practices help break down silos, improve collaboration across the business, and make users accountable for their cloud usage.

Transparency is one of the primary FinOps initiatives. The ability to use advanced data analytics relies on effective tagging, robust cost modeling, and efficient budget management. AI-powered cloud cost management tools can help organizations boost their growth through exponentially improving FinOps practices; however, organizations need to apply the core FinOps practices to implement such automation capabilities.

This blueprint provides guidance on applying core FinOps initiatives and using advanced capabilities of cloud cost management platforms, aiming to achieve big milestones throughout the exponential IT framework.

Mahmoud Ramin, PhD
Senior Research Analyst, Infrastructure & Operations
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive summary

Your Challenge

Common Obstacles

Info-Tech’s Approach

  • Organizations lack visibility into cloud spending, leading to inefficient cloud cost management.
  • Inefficient cloud cost management causes a huge waste of financial resources and has significant operational costs.
  • Misalignment between strategic cloud cost management and business goals causes misallocation of cloud resources that do not contribute to business objectives.
  • Engineers and developers care about innovations and feature delivery, which increase cloud usage.
  • Organizations have difficulties in utilizing evolving techniques and technologies for proactive analysis of cloud usage patterns, preventing them from implementing efficient financial management strategies.
  • The cloud computing landscape continuously improves with new features and capabilities, which requires a continuous effort by IT and FinOps teams to stay updated on the latest enhancements.
  • Develop a FinOps strategic plan that aligns with your financial goals.
  • Establish financial transparency to streamline granular tracking and analysis of cloud expenditure.
  • Employ advanced and predictive data analytics capabilities to evaluate cloud expenses and extract insightful metrics.
  • Select and use automated systems to autonomize routine cloud cost management tasks.

Info-Tech Insight
Create a strategy to identify systematic practices that improve cloud cost management, then use advanced strategies to enable and expedite these initiatives. Strategic alignment between FinOps best practices and suitable tooling can help your organization thrive in the Exponential IT future.

Introduction: What is Exponential IT?

  • The technology curve has recently bent exponentially.
  • Generative AI has been the catalyst for this sudden shift, but there are more and more new technologies emerging (e.g. quantum computing, 5G), putting significant pressure on all organizations.
  • All IT leaders and organizations are at risk of falling behind if they do not adopt new technologies fast enough.
  • Exponential IT is a framework defined by Info-Tech Research Group to instruct IT leaders across all IT domains on how to transform their organization and elevate their value creation capabilities to close the gap between the exponential progression of technological change and the linear progression of IT’s ability to successfully manage that change.
  • This blueprint provides guidance on establishing a FinOps strategy by evolving a more dynamic and coordinated approach to cloud cost management.
  • CIOs /delegates can use this blueprint to partner with business unit leaders to enable an Exponential IT future in infrastructure and operations.
The image contains a screenshot of the thought model Exponential IT Lean Into the Curve.
The image contains a screenshot of the thought model Exponential IT in Motion.

Your Exponential IT Journey

To keep pace with the exponential technology curve, adopt an Exponential IT mindset and practices. Assess your organization’s readiness and embark on a transformation journey.

Adopt an Exponential IT Mindset

Explore the Art of the Possible

Gauge Your Organizational Readiness
(repeat annually)

Build an Exponential IT Roadmap
(repeat annually)

Embark on Your Exponential IT Journey
(focus of this blueprint)

Info-Tech resources: Exponential IT Research Center, Research Center Overview, and Keynote

Info-Tech resources: Exponential IT research blueprints for nine IT domains

Info-Tech resource: Exponential IT Readiness Diagnostic

Info-Tech resource: Develop an Exponential IT Roadmap blueprint

Info-Tech resources: Build a FinOps Strategy to Enable Dynamic Cloud Cost Management

To access all Exponential IT research, visit the Exponential IT Research Center

Go to this link

Cloud’s value over traditional on-premises computing is not in cost savings

In fact, cloud usually costs more. Its value is in realizing increased value through cloud characteristics.

Two essential characteristics of the cloud are on-demand self-service and measured service.

No longer do infrastructure resources have to be provisioned in advance through spending capital budgets to procure hardware.

Cloud is almost pay-as-you-go, meaning you pay as you use resources, whereas on-premises services require a substantial upfront capital expenditure.

Cloud services offer dynamic scalability based on real-time demands, while on-premises services do not provide flexible pricing.

Cloud enables quicker speed of delivery to reduce time to market.

Cloud services are very scalable based on demand, providing flexibility.

Cloud provides better disaster recovery and business continuity through data backup in multiple locations.

Cloud helps with rapid deployment of applications, reducing time to market.

Security and compliance in cloud is higher than those of on-premises systems, using state-of-the-art security services.

Cloud significantly improves innovation and experimentation.

Cloud adoption continues to grow despite concerns about cloud cost management

Organizations are expected to demonstrate their cloud spend is allocated productively

Info-Tech Research Group’s 2024 Future of IT Survey found 72% of Infrastructure respondents are already invested in cloud computing and plan more investment.

The outdated assumption that the cloud saves money has been replaced by the more realistic understanding that cloud costs must be managed and right-sized to need to ensure cloud spend provides maximum value.

FinOps can help deal with the reality of the variable cost model of the cloud as the balance of organizational expenditure shifts from CapEx to OpEx.

The image contains a screenshot of a graph that demonstrates data collected from the Future of IT Survey.

Common cloud cost management difficulties

  • Organizations often are not right-sizing their cloud resource needs, leading to overprovisioning and high wastage of cloud spend.
  • Engineers and developers continuously come up with innovative ideas, which increases cloud consumption. It’s crucial to manage cloud costs effectively while encouraging innovations.
  • IT is siloed from other departments, leading to budget overruns and cloud inefficiencies. Breaking down the silo requires efficient communication, strategic objectives, and integrated planning.
  • Cost billing complexities, including various taxonomies such as date formats and tagging practices, complicate cost analysis and management. These elements should be standardized to improve visibility and streamline cost tracking.
  • Hidden cloud costs such as premium support, additional features, and data transfer increase cloud cost. Organizations need to have a solid understanding of their cloud cost agreements and improve their usage-tracking strategies.
  • Cloud cost management requires top-down support. Lack of executive support impairs policy implementation.
  • Committed use discounts can offer significant cost savings for organizations, but not knowing about such options can lead to missed opportunities. Organizations should educate stakeholders about these discounts and incorporate them into their procurement strategies.

FinOps is an emerging practice to enhance business value

FinOps enables organizations to efficiently manage cloud spend. With fast-paced enhancements in cloud computing, it is becoming a pivotal piece, not just for IT, but for the whole organization.

FinOps is a collaborative and cross-functional practice that brings together technology, business, and finance to improve cost efficiency while maximizing cloud values. It helps organizations through continuous monitoring and analysis of cloud expenses and leads to better fulfillment of organizational strategies.

From complexity to clarity: FinOps evolution

Before FinOps, organizations faced big challenges with cloud cost management because of the complexity of and rapid changes to cloud services and the lack of visibility into cloud spend. Businesses didn't have the right strategies and technologies to help them allocate the right cost and optimize cloud expenditure.

February 2019

June 2020

FinOps Foundation was established out of Cloudability's Customer Advisory Board meetings as a response to the requirement for a community of practitioners to discuss best practices for FinOps implementation.

FinOps Foundation merged with Linux Foundation to enhance FinOps offerings. Linux Foundation provided an open-source engine to support the mission of FinOps Foundation. This merger led to a significant improvement of FinOps to help provide best-practice guidelines and education for cloud financial management.

Key components of FinOps

Accountability: This component ensures clarity in roles and responsibilities for cloud cost management. Through FinOps, teams take ownership of cloud usage and enforce policies to support cost allocation.

Transparency: Visibility involves tracking cloud expenditures and providing insights into cloud costs and services for each team. It helps ensure the analysis output is understandable for all stakeholders.

Optimization: FinOps helps organizations continuously implement processes to reduce waste and enhance cloud spend efficiency through effective resource allocation, better selection of price models, and removing unnecessary services.

Info-Tech Insight
FinOps is not just about cost management: It enables strategic cloud utilization to boost business value. Through FinOps, organizations make sure their cloud spend is aligned with their business goals, resulting in cost savings, agility enhancement, and innovation.

FinOps Maturity Model

67% of organizations are at the basic maturity level
(Economize, 2024)

  • Basic KPIs are set.
  • Minimal reporting is done, and basic tools are used for tracking expenses.
  • Basic policies and processes are implemented.
  • High-level information such as cloud spend is tracked but no detailed insights are available.

25.5% of organizations are at the medium maturity level
(Economize, 2024)

  • The importance of FinOps is recognized and some teams follow FinOps practices.
  • The main focus is on ROI.
  • Major FinOps processes are automated.
  • Financial risks are identified and quantified.

Only 7.5% of organizations are at the high maturity level (Economize, 2024)

  • FinOps best practices are integrated into workflows and all stakeholders follow them.
  • Financial risks are proactively identified and resolved.
  • KPIs reflect the organization’s commitment to achieve FinOps excellence.
  • Advanced technologies are used to automatically manage cloud spend.

Build the essentials to improve maturity

The path to success in organizations doesn’t come with shortcuts. Developing FinOps could be a long-term endeavor. It is a comprehensive process of cultural shift, requiring time and patience. Bypassing these improvement initiatives can be counterproductive, causing errors, hindering progress, and incurring unpredicted costs. Embrace step-by-step improvement processes, experience, and cultural shift to help achieve Exponential IT goals.




Reporting and Spend Allocation

Vendor invoices + manual reconciliation

>1 day lag; partial visibility; limited and/or incomplete use of detailed past billing data

<1 hour or near real-time; full visibility of all spend; integration of detailed and complete past billing data


Cannot showback/chargeback accurately

Showback/chargeback based on estimates

Showback/chargeback reflects actual usage, and teams understand it

Budgets and Forecasting

No budgets or forecasting at the team level

Budgets and forecasting at the team level

Teams actively budget, revise forecast, and track current and projected spend against budgets

Discounted Pricing

0-20% utilization of discounted pricing

40-50% utilization of discounted pricing

80-100% utilization of discounted pricing

Removal of Idle Resources

Quarterly or less


Automated based on defined policies

Source: Storment and Fuller, 2023

Case Study

An e-commerce group employed FinOps best practices to reduce costs and improve visibility into cloud resources.

INDUSTRY: E-commerce
SOURCE: GlobalDots, 2023




Following migration to the cloud, a leading
e-commerce group struggled with high costs and operational inefficiencies. The organization had adopted 74 AWS accounts between 16 verticals, managing each of the operations individually.

  • The organization lacked a unified strategy for cloud resource management.
  • As a response to performance issues, engineers simply increased machine sizes, resulting in low CPU utilization (as low as 5%).
  • There was a limited understanding about spending patterns, making it challenging to proactively reduce costs.

The organization adopted FinOps best practices to:

  • Centralize cloud cost management for all AWS accounts to enhance visibility and streamline cloud management.
  • Bridge the gap between Finance and DevOps, helping developers understand the financial impacts of their decisions.
  • Build a strategy to identify and manage underutilized cloud resources to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
  • Build a cloud usage and spending baseline and streamline real-time monitoring to identify optimization opportunities.

FinOps adoption resulted in the following improvements:

  • The organization saved $250,000 in cloud costs and reduced monthly bills by 16%.
  • Efficiency improvements laid a foundation for long-term savings of over $1 million.
  • Adopting a FinOps culture helped the organization centralize management practices and foster a collaborative environment to align operational initiatives with financial objectives.

Info-Tech’s approach


Help everyone understand their share of responsibility.


Lay the foundation by providing visibility into resource utilization.


Strategize for the future through benchmarking and budgeting.


Build an implementation plan for advanced FinOps techniques.


Optimize efficiency by integrating automation to delve into advanced FinOps.

Info-Tech’s Get Started With FinOps blueprint provides a detailed discussion on breaking down silos and defining responsibilities for a FinOps practice. In this research, we continue with executing FinOps and using automation to streamline FinOps processes.

Info-Tech’s methodology for cloud cost management

1. Improve Financial Transparency

2. Enhance Cloud Cost Forecasting

3. Apply Automation for Operational Agility

Phase Steps

  1. Use the power of tagging and metadata
  2. Select and document your cloud cost management model
  3. Evaluate metrics and use advanced data analysis
  1. Build an internal cloud cost benchmark
  2. Build the budget
  3. Streamline implementation process
  1. Select the right tool to enhance FinOps processes
  2. Leverage smart automation to detect and manage anomalies

Phase Outcomes

  • Tagging requirements
  • Showback and chargeback model report
  • Cloud cost program KPIs
  • Alerting and notification requirements
  • Responsibilities and terminology guidelines
  • Implementation roadmap
  • FinOps tool selection guide

Insight summary

Strategize, innovate, and align
Create a strategy to identify systematic practices that improve cloud cost management, then use advanced strategies to enable and expedite these initiatives. Strategic alignment between FinOps best practices and suitable tooling can help your organization thrive in the Exponential IT future.

Use analytics for a data-driven evaluation
Use advanced data analysis and evaluation to build dashboards for visibility and enable fast feedback loops.

Benchmark for financial forecasting
Use internal benchmarks as a compass to forecast anticipated expenditures and align spending with strategic goals.

Automate to streamline processes
Embrace smart automation to boost operational efficiency and achieve leadership through predictive cloud cost management.

Get detailed insights through precise tagging
Enforce standardized tagging to get a granular visibility into cloud spend.

Go beyond simplification
FinOps process automation is beyond simplifying tasks. It’s a way to proactively analyze cost overruns and acts against inefficiencies.

Blueprint deliverables

Each step of this blueprint is accompanied by supporting deliverables to help you accomplish your goals:

Cloud Cost Management Policy
Use this template as a starting point for addressing policy gaps.

Performance Scorecard Template
Use this template to track and benchmark each team’s cloud performance.

FinOps Vendor Evaluation Workbook
Document your FinOps use cases and features for detailed evaluation of candidate solutions.

FinOps Roles and Terminology Guide
Use this template to document FinOps roles and responsibilities, and catalog common FinOps terms.

FinOps Roadmap
Use this tool to create an actionable plan for your FinOps project.

Key deliverable:

FinOps Strategy Template
Use this template to help visualize and communicate the specifics related to your FinOps practice.

Maximize cloud value to power exponential technologies.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

You Get:

  1. Build a FinOps Strategy to Enable Dynamic Cloud Cost Management Deck
  2. FinOps Strategy Template
  3. Cloud Cost Management Policy
  4. Performance Scorecard
  5. FinOps Roles and Terminology Guide
  6. FinOps Roadmap
  7. FinOps Vendor Evaluation Workbook

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Mahmoud Ramin


  • Angela McCarthy, Senior Manager, Infrastructure and Enterprise Services, NSCC
  • Amy Ashby, FinOps Lead, Under Armour
  • 6 anonymous external contributors
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