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Day One of FinOps X 2024: Home Sweet Home 

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By the time J.R. Storment finished his opening keynote, “The Future of FinOps,” at FinOps X 2024 in San Diego, it was clear that FinOps had made significant progress even within the last year. As he exclaimed on stage, while nine out of ten Fortune 100 companies had a FinOps practice last year, nine out of ten Fortune 100 companies are actually in attendance this year. In other words, most top companies are active participants in the FinOps community.  

Similarly, while Google and Microsoft both showed support for the conference last year, there was a deafening absence from Amazon Web Services, leaving many members feeling unsettled. Today, Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft shared a stage on the “Cloud Panel – VPs from AWS, Google, and Microsoft” keynote. Oh, how times have changed. 

However, despite these massive strides in the FinOps community, there’s no denying the subtle tension in the air. Simply sit in any breakout session, no matter the topic—and there are plenty to choose from—and you’ll find yourself addressing the same root problem: how to create a culture of FinOps at your organization.  

“Yes, hearing ideas from conferences like these is great,” said Smarsh Senior FinOps Engineer Deana Solis in the “Adopting FinOps: Advanced Tips & Tactics” panel moderated by CloudBolt Chief Technology Officer Kyle Campos, “but how do you meet stakeholders at your company where they are?” Judging from the laughs and sighs of recognition in the room, this is a reality attendees know all too well.  

Another clear theme that emerged from Day 1 of FinOps X is that no matter where you are on the maturity scale, FinOps is continually iterative. Elly Rauch, manager of cloud FinOps at The Walt Disney Company, referred to this in her “Burn Down the Past – Forecasting at Disney” keynote as “burn it down” moments, where you essentially throw away old methods that worked to a certain point and start over from scratch to continue making progress. She had her moment early on in her FinOps career, but is willing to strike a match in an instant if needed.  

This relentless adaptability and willingness towards change is at the heart of FinOps. As Tammy Burnitt, senior IT manager of FinOps and network services capacity management at Shell, said as another panelist for “Adopting FinOps: Advanced Tips & Tactics,” “You’re going to do this many many many times.” “This,” in this case, is evangelizing to naysayers every step of the way in your FinOps journey. No matter if you’re in the crawl, walk, or run stage (though the FinOps Foundation is quick to remind us where we all fall with large “There are no runners” banners plastered down the conference halls), every FinOps practitioner must be willing to start fresh with a new persona.  

Lastly, FOCUS (FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification), a unifying format for cloud bills created by FinOps Practitioners, cloud software vendors, and cloud IaaS providers, made a big splash on the main stage today, which had rippling effects on many sessions thereafter. The FinOps Foundation proudly announced that the General Availability of FOCUS Version 1.0 is ready for adoption. This is big news for FinOps practitioners who want to spend less time on data ingestion and normalization, and more on strategic analysis—i.e., everyone. 

All in all, it was a jam-packed day of education and networking at FinOps X. Storment kicked off the day emphasizing that this conference is our “home” where we don’t have to explain what FinOps is to anyone. We’re all in the know. Or, as Eric Mulartrick, FinOps lead at Boomi and third panelist at “Adopting FinOps: Advanced Tips & Tactics” said with a familial sense of safety, “There’s a lot of weird people like us here.”  

To another day with weird people tomorrow!  

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