Episode 10

Ursula LaVeck & Julia Harvey - What Comes After FinOps Adoption

Published on: 9th August, 2022

Episode 10 Ursula LaVeck & Julia Harvey - What Comes After FinOps Adoption

Joe visits with some of his old friends and colleagues, Ursula LaVeck and Julia Harvey, to learn how they continued maturing their operations after implementing FinOps at their organizations.

Mentioned in this episode:

FinOps X 2023

Go to X.FinOps.Org for the latest information.

Transcript
Ursula:

Hi, I'm Ursula LaVeck.

Ursula:

And this is FinOpsPod.

stacy:

Hi, this is Stacy Case

Joe:

and I'm Joe Daly, and this is FinOpsPod.

stacy:

It is FinOpsPod.

stacy:

Hey, you know what I just realized had both of us recently took a vacation

Joe:

I know this feels so rusty.

stacy:

I know.

stacy:

So dear listeners, if this is hard to listen to, I'm sorry, Joe.

stacy:

And I just got back from vacation, our brains, aren't working.

Joe:

yeah.

Joe:

If it's hard to listen to it's because it's hard to talk.

stacy:

It's a difficult thing.

Joe:

Where did you all go on vacation?

stacy:

I went and saw friends and family.

stacy:

So I made a trip out to San Diego first and stayed down there for a few days.

stacy:

And then with some friends.

stacy:

And then I went to central Oregon, visited family for awhile and came back.

Joe:

Cool.

Joe:

We went to Northern Michigan,

stacy:

Hm.

Joe:

and stayed in a small cottage near Lake Michigan, the Caribbean

Joe:

of the Great Lakes Region.

stacy:

Oh the Caribbean.

stacy:

Is that mean?

stacy:

Cause it's like gorgeous crystal blue waters

Joe:

Most of the

stacy:

or it's just because it's, there's a touristy place

stacy:

up there and there's water.

Joe:

No, it was it's beautiful.

Joe:

Then you wouldn't believe . You were in Michigan or in the Midwest still.

Joe:

It's lovely.

stacy:

trees?

stacy:

Hold on.

stacy:

Are there palm trees?

Joe:

There are pine trees.

stacy:

Oh, very close.

stacy:

Starts with a P

stacy:

very

Joe:

They're trees.

Joe:

And they start with P.

Joe:

Small differences.

Joe:

But yeah, before I left, I'd recorded an interview.

Joe:

With my old team at Nationwide.

stacy:

Your old team.

stacy:

So these are the people that worked with you at Nationwide prior.

stacy:

Obviously now you're at the FinOps Foundation, but this

stacy:

is the team you worked with.

Joe:

Yeah, absolutely.

Joe:

So it's a long story here and stick with us folks, because this

Joe:

is the context you need for this interview is I got into finops.

Joe:

I don't know, 2016 timeframe, it wasn't called FinOps.

Joe:

We call it cloud optimization, and this was at Cardinal Health.

Joe:

So I built a team out there, learned a lot of FinOps practices, the hard way by

Joe:

doing them and failing and succeeding.

Joe:

Then got an opportunity to build another FinOps team at Nationwide.

Joe:

So I left Cardinal Health and went to Nationwide.

Joe:

Then after I did that for three years, had a lot of great success.

Joe:

There landed up, hiring a lot of the same people on my team from Cardinal Health.

Joe:

They're great people loved working with them.

Joe:

And then I left Nationwide.

Joe:

And came to the FinOps Foundation.

Joe:

So the interesting part of this is that both at Cardinal Health

Joe:

and nationwide, they replaced me with the exact same person.

Joe:

Her name is Ursula Laveck

stacy:

I love this so much because now I know if we need to ever get

stacy:

rid of you, we already have someone on deck that can replace you.

Joe:

Already someone in line.

Joe:

yeah, Ursula is experience.

Joe:

She knows what I leave behind.

Joe:

and also the other great thing is that team at Nationwide is

Joe:

used to me quitting on them by now.

stacy:

It sounds horrible.

stacy:

They're used to me quitting on them.

stacy:

I've done it twice now.

stacy:

Okay, well, don't quit on us because like you at the Foundation a lot.

Joe:

I'll tell you what.

Joe:

I never quit on these listeners.

stacy:

Oh, I may have thrown up in my mouth a little bit there

Joe:

It's pretty funny.

Joe:

It's a funny line.

Joe:

So one of the things I went back to them because Ursula

Joe:

and I have different skillsets.

Joe:

I'm really good at building things, but I don't like operationalizing them.

Joe:

I don't like any of that

Joe:

Ursula is great at maturing processes and establishing operations.

Joe:

You get to a certain point where you're done building and you need

Joe:

to operate in scale and grow.

Joe:

And so that's not my strong suit, so I'm just went to go learn how they did it.

stacy:

That's what I was going to ask is it sounds like two

stacy:

people that, you know, very well.

stacy:

One that you've worked with one that's picked up your mess in the past, so

stacy:

to speak but is this conversation a conversation about your shared

stacy:

experiences through these two companies, or is this a conversation that goes

stacy:

a little bit deeper into building teams or building out processes?

Joe:

You know, actually, it's funny because I started this interview with the

Joe:

idea of that shared experience between the two companies, but it very naturally

Joe:

went into the, okay, we've established a FinOps culture at this company.

Joe:

What's next?

Joe:

FinOps is adopted.

Joe:

How do you mature it?

Joe:

Which is very pleasing because we just had FinOps X there's so many people

Joe:

who are just learning how to implement FinOps into their organizations.

Joe:

And I think this is going to be a really good episode to

Joe:

see what the roadmap looks like.

Joe:

And at the very end, we find out who Julia prefers working for Ursula or Joe Daly.

stacy:

Well, I mean, that's not fair.

stacy:

She currently works with them.

stacy:

One of them.

stacy:

Side note, not you.

Joe:

Well, I only had to edit the audio, just a minor bit, so it's

stacy:

oh, , so it's authentic is what you're telling me.

Joe:

There's no deep fake voices.

stacy:

Oh, my gosh.

stacy:

All right let's get to it.

Joe:

How would you like to introduce yourself?

Ursula:

My name is Ursula Leveck.

Ursula:

I lead Cloud Optimization Services at Nationwide.

Ursula:

This is my second gig following Joe Daly in these positions.

Ursula:

And here we are today.

Joe:

yes, Ursula is the professional Joe-Daly-Mess-Cleaner-Upper.

Joe:

We have both worked at two Fortune 100 FinOps teams.

Joe:

I start them.

Joe:

create giant messes and then Ursula comes, cleans it up and

Joe:

operationalizes everything.

Joe:

and then also on the call, we have Julia Harvey.

Joe:

Julia, would you like to say hi?

Julia:

Hello.

Julia:

Joe somehow always talks me into joining him along these journeys.

Julia:

And I can't thank him enough for it because even though it didn't

Julia:

sound like my wheelhouse, it has really become my wheelhouse.

Julia:

And I've followed him everywhere.

Julia:

He is gone except for FinOps Foundation.

Joe:

well that, and that's a really nice thing that you said.

Joe:

Julia was one of my first hires at Cardinal Health.

Joe:

we had a lot of good folks on that team.

Joe:

Jay Reed, April Steve.

Joe:

You know, others joined us along the way, Matt Ruhe and, Alex Yonek.

Joe:

and then I moved to Nationwide.

Joe:

Ursula backfilled me at Cardinal Health cleaned up everything I did wrong there.

Joe:

Nationwide I did things a little bit more, right.

Joe:

Cuz I learned what not to do.

Joe:

And then after a while stole Julia and Jay And rebuilt the team again.

Joe:

And then again, I left and again, Ursula is helping transition the team

Joe:

from a build state to a run state.

Joe:

So we were just chatting before we were recording about how you've gone from

Joe:

operational state, because Julia talk about how I was as an operations leader.

Joe:

it's not my strong suit.

Joe:

I will say out loud.

Julia:

Detail is probably not your biggest strong point.

Julia:

So Joe is great at I call the Joe show.

Julia:

So he does definitely bring people along and we did a great job of

Julia:

getting the buy-in on FinOps at both Cardinal and at Nationwide.

Julia:

And I think you take big sweeping brush strokes.

Julia:

So it was a let's be all well rounded individuals and these are

Julia:

all the things that we need to do.

Julia:

And I think the difference as we matured our cloud journey at both locations was

Julia:

once we get through that broad brush strokes, we need to focus on levels

Julia:

of expertise in areas, obviously with cloud things change very quickly and in.

Julia:

That's one of the things that I love about cloud and the fact that you

Julia:

kind of pulled me into this area is I never get bored because there's

Julia:

always something new to learn.

Julia:

I also feel like there's sometimes too much to learn.

Julia:

Ursula has crafted for us is we call them pillars.

Julia:

We know we need that hub and spoke model.

Julia:

We know that we need to be able to push out FinOps to the teams that

Julia:

are actually doing the cloud work.

Julia:

But we also need to keep eyes on it at an enterprise level.

Julia:

So, we need areas of expertise for each of us.

Julia:

So she set it up so that each of us has a lane or a pillar of expertise

Julia:

while still building that, you know, well-rounded FinOps organization.

Julia:

So you come in with the, in that build state of getting everyone on board,

Julia:

making sure that they all understand what FinOps is and why we need it

Julia:

when along with this cloud journey.

Julia:

And then.

Julia:

In the operational piece, now that we've got everyone on board, now

Julia:

we need to teach them to fish.

Julia:

We need to have areas of expertise so that folks can continue to grow

Julia:

and iterate and find their expertise.

Julia:

Would you agree Ursula?

Joe:

Yeah.

Joe:

What's your assessment on that?

Joe:

you took this nationwide role already knowing what it was gonna be like,

Joe:

cuz you you've seen, the wreckage of my teams after I left in the past.

Joe:

, so how did you assess that and develop a here's how we grow path.

Ursula:

The way that I assessed it was I think what you do, Joe is so necessary.

Ursula:

And so instead of looking at it we're jokingly calling it a mess.

Ursula:

It's actually such a critical step in building the foundation.

Ursula:

It is the first step and getting, buy-in finding your champions,

Ursula:

really getting the word out there and educating is so important.

Ursula:

And the common pieces between that step and that level and

Ursula:

operationalizing is that both of us.

Ursula:

Still have that view of the north star.

Ursula:

So what is FinOps and what does it mean to the organization?

Ursula:

So I think we have a very similar vision and really understanding that

Ursula:

there are maturity levels to this, and you're not gonna hit it all at once.

Ursula:

And so what I knew that we needed to do was align our maturity model.

Ursula:

With the cloud operations as a whole and where the company is and

Ursula:

really continue that education.

Ursula:

you know, you're not gonna get your maximum benefits if as a

Ursula:

application team or an infrastructure team, you haven't done the steps

Ursula:

to mature your own processes.

Ursula:

So , this approach that we have.

Ursula:

Our own cloud optimization as a product maturity, but it aligns right

Ursula:

up with cloud operations, maturity.

Ursula:

And so that future north star of DevOps and continuous improvement and you know,

Ursula:

working towards container and serverless there are steps in the FinOps journey

Ursula:

that are stair stepping it as well.

Ursula:

What you came in and did first was so critical.

Ursula:

And I always laugh because I say, Joe seems like he's so, laid back and, you

Ursula:

know, he brings that personality, but you knew exactly what you were doing.

Ursula:

We pick up on that and we operationalize and we have a very

Ursula:

scientific roadmap and steps to do that, but it's all very strategic.

Ursula:

So it's not getting lost in that tactical and always having that north.

Joe:

Mm-hmm . Yeah.

Joe:

Well, you guys are saying nice things about it me.

Joe:

Um,

Julia:

Don't get used to it.

Joe:

you could say mean things too.

Joe:

, I'll edit them out.

Joe:

I think , I'm just averse to the tactical you know, , I grew up in

Joe:

accounting and finance and tax, and it's just a lot of fill out this form, do

Joe:

this journal entry, post it each month.

Joe:

And so I'm just, you know, I did my time with that.

Joe:

So I enjoy the, the big, yeah, here's the north star.

Joe:

Let's go march there.

Joe:

We had a lot of people on the team, Dusty Bowling, David Lambert Audrea Ratliff.

Joe:

And I just say, go to that destination and, you know,

Joe:

just go to that destination.

Joe:

I wasn't so worried about the, how you go to that destination,

Joe:

cuz you're in build mode.

Joe:

You know, you gotta get to where you're going.

Joe:

But you do get to that point, like you're saying, Ursula, you have

Joe:

to align with the operations around you, because you can only go as

Joe:

fast as your slowest operation.

Ursula:

and we think of this as our own product.

Ursula:

We want to be advocates and set an example for what we're asking

Ursula:

our application teams to do.

Ursula:

So we don't wanna do manual processes in the FinOps space.

Ursula:

We want to use automation.

Ursula:

We want to be scalable.

Ursula:

We want to run this in the same way that we know the cloud runs at its best.

Ursula:

And so how do we optimize this?

Ursula:

It is getting it to that next state.

Ursula:

And then I loved what you said about just being adverse to the tactical and you

Ursula:

find that in a technical space a lot too.

Ursula:

And also in accounting, I have a background in both and it's that binary

Ursula:

something is either bad or good, but really what we're working on in this

Ursula:

part of that change management is to say, That to be truly agile and

Ursula:

really maximize on the cloud, you actually have to be very disciplined.

Ursula:

And what that means is you don't wanna work on the tactical

Ursula:

things that mean nothing.

Ursula:

Like you said, Joe, you know, fill out a form for the sake of filling out a form.

Ursula:

And so there's an evolution in on-prem processes to more of this

Ursula:

real time, agile, seamless, automated, but it takes a lot of discipline.

Ursula:

And so you really have to identify what are those tactical things we should

Ursula:

be doing to hit those strategic goals?

Joe:

I like that.

Joe:

You have to be disciplined to move fast.

Julia:

I think one of the sweet things working for both of you is

Julia:

that I've seen that you realize that different application teams or different

Julia:

groups within an organization, as big as the organizations that we've

Julia:

worked for, are in different places.

Julia:

Not everyone is at that cloud maturity level that we'd want them to be.

Julia:

So I've been able to meet people where they're out in

Julia:

each of those organizations.

Julia:

And I think that both of you have built in places where we can

Julia:

meet teams that are just starting their cloud journey or are at the

Julia:

lowest level of that cloud maturity.

Julia:

But we also have teams that are running and we have built the FinOps

Julia:

organization to be able to meet the needs of both of those teams.

Julia:

Cuz Nationwide, we have folks that are still in the crawl space.

Julia:

We have folks that are in the walk space, but we also have

Julia:

teams that are in that run space.

Julia:

And Ursula set it up so that we can meet the needs of each of them and continue

Julia:

to iterate on it, which is beautiful.

Joe:

That is awesome because I think my attempt at operations, cuz , it's not

Joe:

that I, I don't even attempt operations.

Joe:

I just, I'm not good at them.

Joe:

I thought it would.

Joe:

I thought it would be really simple.

Joe:

Just be like, okay, everyone, like Julia, you take that side of the business.

Joe:

Carol McIntosh was also on a team, you take that side of the business.

Joe:

Audrea and Matt, you take this side of the business and go do your things.

Joe:

But that's just not how companies work.

Joe:

They may look siloed, but they're really, there's lots of

Joe:

interdependencies on all groups, especially as they start modernizing

Joe:

and transforming into this new era.

Joe:

It really blends a lot of the dependencies together.

Joe:

So how have you matured that process of what each team member's focusing on?

Ursula:

What we noticed is that there was such a focus on producing Cloudability

Ursula:

reports and chargebacks, and that initial maturity phase of FinOps.

Ursula:

But there were these other major functions that just kept existing.

Ursula:

And, , we called it the flood.

Ursula:

Sometimes they were just continually knocking on that door and these

Ursula:

themes started developing.

Ursula:

And this was the first time that Julie and I worked together

Ursula:

and we quickly responded.

Ursula:

We were like, you know what?

Ursula:

It feels like we have some critical work streams.

Ursula:

Let's define those.

Ursula:

Let's see what those are, and they're becoming more relevant

Ursula:

during this next phase.

Ursula:

And, what I think of them as are they're the major functions within

Ursula:

our cloud optimization team, almost that makes us a product.

Ursula:

Yes, we have that customer facing side, but what do we do that creates

Ursula:

that system to operationalize what we do and support our consumers.

Ursula:

And so we develop these work streams and we're a small team.

Ursula:

So each team member leads one of those work streams while they're also facing off

Ursula:

with our business unit or our stakeholder.

Ursula:

And the nice thing about it is those work streams, like one is contracts and

Ursula:

RIs and reconciliation and, you know, are we receiving what it says we're

Ursula:

paying for that whole financial arm?

Ursula:

We also have client engagement or, what we call our playbook and

Ursula:

optimization is the execution.

Ursula:

We have core functions.

Ursula:

That's where we put chargeback.

Ursula:

That's where we look at how our own cloud team is using the cloud.

Ursula:

Then we have education and cloud services.

Ursula:

So when you look at.

Ursula:

From a different perspective, not our stakeholder perspective, but the

Ursula:

perspective of the larger products and even the variable products and services in

Ursula:

the cloud, those need represented as well.

Ursula:

So sometimes we attack it from an EC2 perspective or an RDS

Ursula:

perspective, not just the stakeholder.

Ursula:

And then there's a new emerging one, which is that design for cost.

Ursula:

Can we think about this in advance and put the governance and controls and

Ursula:

even tagging, in place in a way that we can avoid things down the road.

Ursula:

And so each of our team members leads one of those work streams and also then faces

Ursula:

off with a stakeholder business unit.

Ursula:

That team that they support also aligns with that work stream.

Ursula:

So for example, that financial arm, , the person that leads that has a very strong,

Ursula:

, Skillset in financial reporting and also faces off with our team that happens

Ursula:

to own our financial technology tools.

Ursula:

And so it's a perfect synergy.

Ursula:

And we have that in our other work streams.

Ursula:

So, the person that runs our industry standards and automation and analytics

Ursula:

is facing off with our data team and our team that builds data models.

Ursula:

It's so interesting because they're each a consumer of what the other does.

Ursula:

And so it does create a nice multiplier.

Ursula:

And when we do this, we say we're able to work as a well oil machine

Ursula:

and really maximize what we're doing, despite being a team of six or seven.

Julia:

Yeah.

Julia:

And I'm gonna add to that Ursula, I will say has a great knack for finding,

Julia:

the strengths that each of us has, and then focusing those strengths

Julia:

into what we call these pillars of optimization or these big rocks.

Julia:

I just wanna give you an example.

Julia:

For instance, Matt on our team lives and breeds data and automation.

Julia:

He does scripting for fun.

Julia:

Definitely not my strong suit, but it's Matt's passion.

Julia:

So Ursula has put him in charge of industry standards and automation.

Julia:

And then Jay is everything technical.

Julia:

Mine is BSA engage, engagement, that business unit engagement because I love

Julia:

to collaborate, and I'm working with our business partners to utilize that data

Julia:

analysis and automation that Matt's put in place and perfected along with Jay and

Julia:

his technology and instructions, to make them highly digestible and repeatable

Julia:

processes for everyone on our team.

Julia:

For example, right now, We have a bunch of the business units relying

Julia:

on old AMI that use GP2 EBS volumes.

Julia:

Matt's crunched the data for us.

Julia:

, we've put together the savings opportunities.

Julia:

Organization-wide I'm meeting with Jay later this week to put together

Julia:

a self-service document for those app teams to move from GP2 to

Julia:

GP3 or wherever it makes sense.

Julia:

And it's a win-win for all of us in optimization.

Julia:

, it's that nice synergy of all of us coming together with our own little

Julia:

strengths specialties to put together that big value package for Nationwide

Julia:

The other nice thing about this is that a couple of us got to go to the FinOps

Julia:

X conference, which was fantastic.

Julia:

Jay and I attended that and coming back, you know, we're armed with suggestions

Julia:

for each of our teammates based on their specific areas and optimization passions.

Julia:

So for Marianne, we've suggested anything and everything related

Julia:

to commitments, RIs savings plans.

Julia:

For Jay and Matt, it's getting back into that automation focus

Julia:

and joining a working group.

Julia:

As a team kind of come together and said, listen, we have this great thing

Julia:

available to us, let's be involved and start working on those strengths

Julia:

and passions and get into those work groups and those channels so

Julia:

that we can bring it back as a team.

Julia:

Cuz you know, to Ursula's point, we are a small team for a large enterprise.

Julia:

So it's important for each of us to stoke those passions and get

Julia:

involved with the FinOps Foundation and bring back the learnings then from

Julia:

other enterprises and other teams,

Joe:

That is really cool.

Joe:

How has the reception been from the application teams and other

Joe:

product teams that you support gone over this last year?

Ursula:

One thing that I think with a hub and spoke is setting the expectation.

Ursula:

And so some of this repeatable.

Ursula:

Operationalizing.

Ursula:

It's all boring.

Ursula:

But what we've done is we've said, this is what you will receive from our team.

Ursula:

And we push that.

Ursula:

That's what we're working on, pushing that out.

Ursula:

Here's the information.

Ursula:

We will provide the analysis and we're going to push it to

Ursula:

the teams in a consistent way.

Ursula:

So you will receive this once a month and it will tell you these things.

Ursula:

And then ramping it up for the teams based on where they are.

Ursula:

Some teams are still working on terminating and right sizing, some

Ursula:

teams are really digging into native tools and ensuring that they're using

Ursula:

it for its fullest capabilities.

Ursula:

Then we go to that next level and we think about benchmarking and POCs for estimates.

Ursula:

And so those are all different levels of maturity.

Ursula:

If we can meet them where they are and provide them consistent information,

Ursula:

that's actionable, not just a dump of data, but here is what we're giving you.

Ursula:

This is what it tells you.

Ursula:

And this is the call to action.

Ursula:

And if we don't do that call to action, we're measuring that.

Ursula:

We're also tracking how we're accomplishing the recommendations that

Ursula:

we're making from many different sources.

Ursula:

And so that's that continuous improvement loop.

Ursula:

Hey, here's how we did, you know, last month we gave you this information,

Ursula:

this is where we are on it.

Ursula:

And then you start collecting champions and we work with those people first and.

Ursula:

Obviously at Nationwide, we're just starting this.

Ursula:

I've been here about four or five months and we're in that

Ursula:

next level of the maturity.

Ursula:

So what I would say is that transparent, actionable data,

Ursula:

consistent and measures of success.

Ursula:

And I think the teams are really enjoying that immediate impact to

Ursula:

their consumption and their bill.

Ursula:

And when we show them that they're buying in.

Ursula:

So we're continuing that, that buy-in and bringing people along.

Julia:

Joe, you were so excited about the COIN report and , I

Julia:

was like, this is simple.

Julia:

I don't understand why you're so excited about this, but honestly

Julia:

After the transition from you to Ursula, I will say that in meeting

Julia:

with Ursula and going over, like the big rocks that we have in front of us

Julia:

and how are we gonna get after them?

Julia:

I was really overwhelmed cause I'm like, it's, there's too

Julia:

many people, too much stuff.

Julia:

I don't know how to get after it.

Julia:

And she's like, let's break it down.

Julia:

So we broke it down and.

Julia:

When we started talking about, okay, what are the repeatable processes that

Julia:

we can then push out to these folks that COIN report answered so many of the

Julia:

questions that we have, and I was like, no wonder Joe was so excited about this.

Julia:

So it finally clicked for me on how important it was.

Joe:

Let's describe for the listeners cuz coin is an acronym.

Joe:

It stands for

Julia:

cloud optimization index.

Julia:

It's a score that we gave each application based on the total low hanging fruit

Julia:

opportunities that are available to them.

Julia:

And we only focused on low hanging fruit.

Julia:

So there's iteration two that Ursula and I are working on to

Julia:

bring in even more data points.

Julia:

But really the focus right now is pushing that data out to the masses.

Julia:

So we've for the past year, allowing folks to ingest that information on their basis.

Julia:

So we haven't really pushed the data.

Julia:

We're now at a point where we can start pushing that data and getting

Julia:

folks subscribed to it, whether they want it or not, but that consistent,

Julia:

repeatable process to put it in front of their leaders and put it in

Julia:

front of the eight PMs themselves.

Julia:

So that they'll take action on it and then the larger team.

Julia:

So the other thing that we've started doing is with the tier one

Julia:

programs those blue chip programs that impact multiple business units.

Julia:

We're getting engaged with them on the front end.

Julia:

You and I have talked about this, the white glove treatment where you have

Julia:

someone from the FinOps organization, along with teams as they're spinning

Julia:

up their resource and starting, not just their migration, but like setting

Julia:

up their goals and that program itself and talking about, okay, well,

Julia:

do you really need this size system?

Julia:

Cuz let's look at your COIN score for the program.

Julia:

So being engaged on the front end and walking along with them,

Julia:

we've seen great strides in the efficiencies that we're seeing come

Julia:

out and honestly that coin report.

Julia:

What started that is because we were able to then sit down with these teams

Julia:

and be like, look at the, spend that, do you really want this much spend, do you

Julia:

really, I mean, it looks like you probably need to turn some of these systems

Julia:

off, or maybe we need to reevaluate if this is the toolbox that you wanna go

Julia:

with and we've seen great responses.

Joe:

Mm-hmm I'm glad you're I'm hearing you say you're maturing

Joe:

and expanding that, that front end, like before you start process.

Joe:

One thing that I was wrong about three years ago about cloud

Joe:

migrations is I thought speed was the saver and data proved me wrong.

Joe:

The faster you move, the more disorganized your environment

Joe:

could be, which leads towards more chaos and more uncontrolled spend.

Joe:

Whereas a gating process.

Joe:

Getting your process set up is painful.

Joe:

It's a lot of work.

Joe:

However, You get your control and eventually once your process is in place

Joe:

and iterated upon and figure it out, then you have stealing a term I learned at

Joe:

FinOps X, from Irving Nam who works for Goldman Sachs is you find your happy

Joe:

paths that, yes, this is a happy path.

Joe:

It's controlled.

Joe:

It's governed.

Joe:

And you actually start moving faster through those controlled paths than you

Joe:

would, if you just open it up wide open spaces, let people use whatever services,

Joe:

whatever sizes whatever clouds they want.

Joe:

And then you have to go back after the fact and do all the cleanup and

Joe:

to even be able to manage that.

Joe:

So I'm glad to see that the COIN report, which is meant as a large overview,

Joe:

large visibility, your environment on a page merging it with the finer hey,

Joe:

here's what you got coming forward, based on what you see and what you're

Joe:

learning, how are you gonna move forward?

Joe:

I like that.

Joe:

That's fantastic.

Ursula:

I would add Joe.

Ursula:

A wrap up on that COIN report is that for some people who consume data in a landing

Ursula:

page or a quick visual, it's a good start.

Ursula:

And for those that wanna click in, we show them how to click in.

Ursula:

But a lot of people, the overload of data from all of our cost

Ursula:

optimization tools is too much.

Ursula:

So It gives that starting point.

Ursula:

And then I think if you put discipline into what I call the boring processes

Ursula:

that's not where you wanna be innovative and let things go out of control.

Ursula:

You build that process in, and then you can do all of those great, innovative.

Ursula:

Fun things like developing capabilities in the cloud rather than worrying

Ursula:

about right sizing your EC2.

Ursula:

And then really the big shift for us is moving from a Tell

Ursula:

organization to an execute.

Ursula:

And so that aligns up with what we're doing with the COIN

Ursula:

report, with this maturity model.

Ursula:

We're at the point where we have to drive execution.

Ursula:

We're bringing a lot into the cloud and we need to be efficient in those basics.

Joe:

Yeah.

Joe:

So from the show and tell stage to the execution stage.

Joe:

I'm curious what sort of metrics, Marianne Stone on the team would

Joe:

help me each week and month with the metrics I was gathering.

Joe:

What sort of metrics are you gathering as a FinOps team now that you look at

Joe:

to help determine the execution path

Ursula:

We still use some of those reports, Joe.

Ursula:

We always look at month over month, what's changing in our invoice, but

Ursula:

then we dig in a little bit more.

Ursula:

We have a product and services view.

Ursula:

So looking at how are we using our products and services differently

Ursula:

this month than last month, but also over the last year.

Ursula:

And.

Ursula:

Do we need to dig in further to really understand how are we

Ursula:

using that product and service.

Ursula:

So that's that next level of maturity then taking it down one more step and looking

Ursula:

at it from an application perspective.

Ursula:

So what are our applications doing in the cloud differently?

Ursula:

And that's where we're seeing some of that large tier one program activity

Ursula:

modernizations or building capabilities.

Ursula:

And so we always look at.

Ursula:

Month over month and behavior over year from a product service

Ursula:

and an application perspective.

Ursula:

Some other things that we're looking at are what we call those products

Ursula:

and services that, that feel like they can significantly jump if

Ursula:

the controls are not in place.

Ursula:

we have those on our watch list and it's something we're gonna

Ursula:

actually build into automation.

Joe:

That's really cool.

Joe:

can you talk a little bit more about that?

Joe:

That's a really cool idea that, Hey, this is our watch list.

Joe:

This is kind of like risky area where we don't have as much.

Joe:

Can you, can you talk a little bit that that's really interesting.

Ursula:

Yes.

Ursula:

So what I would say is, and you learn this watch list from actually

Ursula:

experiencing those gotcha moments.

Ursula:

And so when you think about settings on like a cloud trail those settings

Ursula:

aren't set correctly, or we don't watch them from an organization

Ursula:

wide view, then you can be charged for multiple copies of your logs.

Ursula:

And first copy is free.

Ursula:

Second copy is a charge and it can be significant.

Ursula:

If you don't have the settings set up properly, then with a large organization,

Ursula:

you can inadvertently have duplicate logs.

Ursula:

Occurring in your environment without knowing about it.

Ursula:

And, you know, any of those products and services tied to logging are

Ursula:

definitely on that watch list.

Ursula:

But the ones that don't behave in that traditional way, and, you know, we all

Ursula:

know eC2, we all know storage, and we're understanding RDS, but there are also

Ursula:

some misconceptions out there about what's important when you're monitoring the RDS.

Ursula:

And what does it mean to be efficient?

Ursula:

And so just taking all of those things into account and looking at the

Ursula:

behavior of those products and services month over month and over the past.

Joe:

You're absolutely right.

Joe:

You definitely learn.

Joe:

Which areas are your risky points if you just live through

Joe:

this for, for a few months

Ursula:

Those are high level and I'm very metrics driven, but I

Ursula:

don't get lost in the reports.

Ursula:

You can look at them quickly every day.

Ursula:

You know what to go look for.

Ursula:

Julia from a BSA perspective.

Ursula:

Are there more metrics that you wanna add?

Ursula:

We're setting up dashboards and we're really standardizing this.

Julia:

You just said it.

Julia:

So I do have dashboards that I review daily, and that helps with The

Julia:

Gotchas, you know, you see when you see trends month over month over month

Julia:

you can see the gotchas immediately.

Julia:

So it's important to have those dashboards and it's important to have eyes on them.

Julia:

And I know some of the BSA leaders aren't gonna have their eyes on them every day.

Julia:

So that goes back to that hub and spoke model by.

Julia:

Having dedicated folks in our FinOps organization for each of the different

Julia:

business units it just aligns it.

Julia:

It's part of our lane.

Julia:

It's part of our every day.

Julia:

Okay.

Julia:

Let's just take a look at maybe weekly.

Julia:

What's happening with those standard metrics and having that picture gives us

Julia:

even the like I always say peeling, the onion, it gives you that first layer.

Julia:

And you're like, okay.

Julia:

So maybe I need to ask some questions in my next meeting, but it looks like

Julia:

there's a little bit of a, an uptick in this particular space, but I'm already

Julia:

having conversations because we've standardized or operationalized those

Julia:

reporting with that team that I now.

Julia:

The ability to go back to them the next time I meet with them and maybe it's a

Julia:

monthly, maybe it's a weekly, depending on where they are in , their maturity level.

Julia:

And it can ask those questions and just having someone.

Julia:

it's building that trust with them and opening the conversation.

Julia:

So just being able to go to them and say, Hey, listen, I saw this.

Julia:

And I was just curious, was this planned?

Julia:

Is this something that we need to make, you know, just keep our

Julia:

eyes on, what do we need to do?

Julia:

And it opens that conversation.

Julia:

It's interesting because the first tier one program I started

Julia:

working on was in annuity.

Julia:

And it started with a very small technical group.

Julia:

Ursula was also having conversations with the financial side of the house

Julia:

and realized that we were overlapping.

Julia:

So now that they know that I'm meeting with that technical team,

Julia:

we've broadened the audience.

Julia:

And it's interesting to get that.

Julia:

Both the finance side, because obviously there's finance considerations, but

Julia:

then the technical team has different requirements, so nice to bring them

Julia:

all together and have that conversation with me as the conduit to get everyone

Julia:

on the same page and make sure that a, their forecast is looking the way that

Julia:

finance was expecting it to look so that, you know, budgets are being met

Julia:

and their actuals aren't overrunning so that we can put maybe that money towards

Julia:

other technologies or innovations that they wanna do as part of the program.

Joe:

I was, I was gonna ask if.

Joe:

If you're finding different teams have different concerns and worries from

Joe:

metrics point or are they all about the

Julia:

I think it depends on where they are in their maturity level.

Julia:

So there are teams that are just getting a feeling for what is their cloud

Julia:

meaning they know they have applications.

Julia:

They know they have a footprint, but maybe they don't know that they

Julia:

have a footprint in containers and in the, AWS stack that they own.

Julia:

So just getting them visibility into that.

Julia:

That's their metric.

Julia:

Then there's teams that They know whether they have containers, they know

Julia:

how they're using their containers.

Julia:

But maybe they don't know that they can schedule their containers.

Julia:

So it's just a matter of honestly meeting them where they're at

Julia:

building that trust level and just continuing to iterate on it.

Julia:

Cuz I think even just in meeting those folks that maybe don't

Julia:

know their inventory, opening their eyes to it and helping them

Julia:

understand how the process works.

Julia:

It builds that trust.

Julia:

And then they're ready to for the next step, which is, you know, maybe right.

Julia:

Sizing or scheduling or, Hey, did you know that we have these automation things in

Julia:

place and here's how you take advantage of them and let's get you to the next level.

Joe:

Julia you've worked for both Ursula and myself numerous times.

Joe:

Who's the best manager you ever had?

Julia:

So Ursula Leveck is my current and therefore favorite boss but

Julia:

in all honesty, you guys are my favorites for different reasons.

Julia:

So Joe, we've talked about it earlier, you know, you have like this broad sweeping

Julia:

strokes that you took and you allowed me to tackle any problem I wanted to you.

Julia:

when I found something you'd say, go solve it.

Julia:

I trust you.

Julia:

The unfortunate thing is with my personality.

Julia:

I wanna fix everything then and I go down so many rabbit holes.

Julia:

So Ursula, helps bring me up a little bit further and says, let me

Julia:

help do a laser focus and helps reign in those ' what about this?' and

Julia:

bases it on our enterprise strategy.

Julia:

you've heard the saying people don't quit their jobs, they quit bad managers.

Julia:

And I think it says something that, I haven't quit on either one of you and I've

Julia:

actually followed you to multiple places.

Julia:

So, , rest assured Joe Daly, you are still the world's okayt boss.

Julia:

You really want

Joe:

So

Julia:

say who my favorite is?

Julia:

Don't you?

Julia:

You want me to say Daly?

Julia:

You're my favorite

Joe:

I'm really good at, I'm really good at pushing you out there and then walking

Joe:

away and Ursula's good at supporting

Julia:

yes.

Julia:

Very much so.

Joe:

the other places.

Joe:

and Ursula?

Joe:

How are you feeling about all this choosing FinOps as a career

Joe:

choice for the second time?

Ursula:

So I never think of FinOps as a career path.

Ursula:

I think of it as my next problem to solve.

Ursula:

And so when this opportunity came up, I thought, do I want to solve this problem?

Ursula:

I've solved this problem.

Ursula:

Is this a good stop on my journey?

Ursula:

And it was compelling enough and interesting enough.

Ursula:

And I felt like there were still things to go after.

Ursula:

So I did.

Ursula:

And how I'm feeling is I am excited and energized because I realize

Ursula:

there's still so much more to solve.

Ursula:

And just like when we talk about the maturity models and where people are

Ursula:

with the cloud and what's coming, technology is changing so much.

Ursula:

And everybody's in a different spot with their cloud journey.

Ursula:

I like to give people that view because it seems so new.

Ursula:

It doesn't seem like anybody has blazed that career trail forward.

Ursula:

but if you think about it, the skillset required, that's finance,

Ursula:

data and technology, not to mention problem solving and innovation,

Ursula:

while also being structured.

Ursula:

Strategic solutions driven, but it aligns best with what I think

Ursula:

the leaders of the future are.

Ursula:

And so when you think about CIO and CFO and CEO, that CIO is that merging between

Ursula:

finance and technology, just like FinOps.

Ursula:

And those leaders have to navigate a world where these areas, finance,

Ursula:

data, technology are all overlap.

Ursula:

Very similar to what we do in FinOps every day.

Ursula:

we are doing expense management while also helping teams and supporting

Ursula:

teams build capabilities that build great products and build revenue.

Ursula:

I don't know what that means for me, but I think there is a path,

Ursula:

maybe some people haven't taken it yet, but I think about your path.

Ursula:

I think about the path of the future leader, I think about

Ursula:

where these conversations come up in a very strategic way.

Ursula:

And I think there's lots of opportunity moving forward.

Joe:

All right.

Joe:

That is it for this episode of FinOpsPod.

Joe:

I want to thank Ursula LaVeck and Julia Harvey.

Joe:

for one, continuing to talk to me after all of this and two being

Joe:

open and willing to sharing their experiences and learnings with

Joe:

all of you listeners out there.

Joe:

Also thank you to Stacy case for helping kick off the episode today.

Joe:

This episode felt a little rusty as we're getting back from summer

Joe:

vacation modes, but it feels good to be getting back into the groove of things.

Joe:

If you are not yet a member of FinOps Foundation, go check us out on finops.org.

Joe:

Hit the join now button.

Joe:

Follow us on LinkedIn.

Joe:

go find FinOps Foundation on LinkedIn.

Joe:

Give it a follow.

Joe:

of course, finOpspod, wherever you're listening to this episode of FinOpsPod.

Joe:

Make sure you're following the show so that you always get

Joe:

updated on all of our episodes.

Joe:

Also be sure to check out our YouTube page.

Joe:

I'll put a link in the show notes.

Joe:

we got recordings of all our past FinOps summits and breakout sessions

Joe:

from FinOps X, lots of great materials there and check out the resources.

Joe:

Folks, were open source.

Joe:

This is all your content and we're helping share it.

Joe:

Until then, I'll see you next time on FinOpsPod.

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About the Podcast

FinOpsPod
Advancing FinOps Practitioners in Podcast Form
FinOpsPod connects practitioners with the rest of the FinOps Foundation community. Real world practitioners will share their experiences and the Foundation team will share the latest news about the community. Learn more about the FinOps Foundation at www.finops.org.