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In the wake of the economic downturn, the issues that are stressing out senior information technology (IT) leaders have changed. A survey of 200 IT professionals conducted by Torii, a provider of a platform for managing software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, finds budget concerns (61 percent) are now virtually tied with cybersecurity (62 percent) as their top concern, followed closely by whether their technology stack has fallen behind rivals (59 percent).

Lack of visibility into cloud spend creates issues

A full 75 percent said they are specifically concerned about wasted spending on SaaS applications that over the last few years has been driven largely by departments within organizations.

There are a whole range of spending issues that IT leaders are being asked to address, including the amount of money being spent on applications that are now more likely to be deployed in the cloud. Whether it involves applications an IT organization has deployed themselves or a SaaS application, this issue is lack of visibility into costs.

In fact, one of the hottest segments of IT these days is the emergence of financial operations (FinOps) as a discipline to control cloud computing costs. Fundamentally, FinOps is the discipline that promotes a shared responsibility for an organization’s cloud computing infrastructure and costs. Rather than having disparate procurement teams working in silos to identify and approve costs, business, financial and IT leaders establish policies and best practices for usage that are programmatically enforced.

Cloud expertise and skills are in demand

The issue that organizations encounter is they lack both the expertise required to define those policies and the skills required to implement and maintain them across highly dynamic cloud computing environments. Savvy managed service providers (MSPs) are typically much more likely to have a keen understanding of what it takes to prevent organizations from being surprised by cloud computing costs every month so there is now a clear opportunity for them to bring that expertise to bear.

The simple truth is that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of financial discipline that had been applied to IT spending in recent years has been lax. Organizations are now belatedly looking to impose spending controls without having much insight into the levers that need to be pulled to reduce the total cost of IT in the cloud era. The mechanisms they had in place to contain IT costs in on-premises IT environments are simply not applicable in the cloud. MSPs that enable IT organizations to rein in those costs will be worth their proverbial weight in gold.

Many MSPs also have a vested interest in encouraging more consumption of cloud resources, but if the tenor of a conversation with a customer is always about why they need to spend more, then it’s not too long before they start to no longer engage. MSPs that build their relationship with a customer based on how much they can help optimize IT spending are going to be trusted a whole lot more than those that focus mainly on how quickly they can provision an application workload. That’s not to say speed doesn’t matter anymore; it’s just achieving that goal should come at the expense of some common financial sense.

Photo: prasit2512 / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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