As more enterprises move their workloads and computing to the cloud, understanding where and how they are spending their budgets is getting harder. 

Most cloud platforms and providers use their own methods and billing formats to show how much companies spend, which can make keeping track of cloud costs extremely complicated.

In November 2023, the FinOps Foundation announced a new project, the FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS). 

FOCUS aims to serve as a basic framework that standardises cost and usage data between software as a service (SaaS) and cloud providers. 

Last month, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google and Microsoft attended the FinOps X conference for the first time, highlighting their commitment to FOCUS and moving a step closer to eventually having a more standardised cloud usage billing statement. 

Charlotte Dunlap, research director at GlobalData, told Verdict that FOCUS would “drastically simplify the job of those FinOps practitioners who are tasked with monitoring and managing cloud costs and looking for ways to improve cloud optimisations.”

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Many believe that the slow pace among cloud providers in standardising and formalising cloud billing has been deliberate.

Some cloud providers have been accused of focusing on upselling platform services to enterprises which are increasingly overwhelmed with supporting high-impact initiatives driven by their development and engineering teams.

Dunlap, who attended the conference in San Diego, believes FinOps’ importance has never been more apparent for ensuring digital innovations remain funded and unhampered. 

“Innovation is key to helping enterprises discover new business opportunities via app modernisation, but the reality is that ops teams must be accountable for rising costs associated with transformations,” Dunlap told Verdict.

“Ongoing concerns of runaway cloud costs are further impacted by open-ended GenAI budgets,” she added.

The global cloud computing market will be worth $1.4trn in 2027, having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.1% from $638.6bn in 2022, according to GlobalData forecasts. 

Cloud computing refers to the provision of IT infrastructure and platform services to provide a flexible, scalable and on-demand IT environment. In the past decade and a half, the cloud computing stack has been replacing the traditional IT stack.