FinOps vs. ITAM – what’s the difference?

FinOps vs. ITAM – what’s the difference?

Flexera Director of Cloud Market Strategy Brian Adler compares FinOps vs. ITAM so you know the difference.

Published on 28th October 2022

The FinOps discipline—cloud financial management—is maturing. Originally focused on cloud cost management and optimization for infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), the financial management practices of FinOps are expanding into other areas of the IT estate.

Many FinOps teams are familiar with enhancing the spend efficiency of their cloud infrastructure resources, but far less so with regard to the software that’s running on those resources and the licensing restrictions associated with that software. Because of this, as FinOps usage expands, it necessitates the inclusion of IT asset management (ITAM). ITAM practitioners bring years of knowledge and experience on software license mobility to the FinOps discipline, further enhancing efficient cloud spend.

Collaboration between FinOps and ITAM practitioners can deliver value as across IT. Consider these best practices for a valuable partnership:

The FinOps Approach

FinOps teams help organizations analyze and reduce their cloud costs by relying on manual and automated policies. Policies can be used, for example, to identify underutilized discounts from cloud providers, rightsize instances, shut down workloads after hours, and strengthen software license compliance initiatives.

The FinOps operating model relies on three phases:

The Role of ITAM

ITAM professionals are focused on maximizing the value of investments in technology. Identifying the hardware (hardware asset management, HAM), software (software asset management, SAM), and IT asset disposition (ITAD) of their IT ecosystem helps drive improved decisions. This is particularly important in hybrid environments that include on-premises, cloud, and SaaS technologies.

ITAM teams work closely with other functional areas in an organization, such as infrastructure and IT service management, as shown in the Flexera 2022 State of ITAM Report. ITAM can aid decisions about cloud migration, cloud cost optimization, license compliance, rightsizing and reclaiming licenses, and application rationalization.

Today, with public cloud spend—and wasted cloud spend—growing, it’s no surprise that optimizing the existing use of cloud (cost savings) is the top cloud initiative, as found in the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report. To help achieve this, the majority of organizations (71 percent) have either a cloud center of excellence (CCOE) or a central cloud team, focused on governance and culture, while prioritizing collaboration and providing centralized tools and controls. Some of the top metrics for assessing progress against cloud goals include cost efficiency/savings (reported by 74 percent) and cost avoidance (48 percent).

Applying the three phases of the FinOps lifecycle to aid ITAM in the cloud takes the form of:

Next Steps for FinOps and ITAM

FinOps and ITAM practitioners can integrate their efforts by focusing on how they’re informed about their initiatives, how they optimize their programs, and how they improve operations, as shown below:

FinOps Practitioners vs. ITAM Practitioners



By adopting a common language and by aligning goals across its people, processes, and technology, an organization can strengthen its hybrid IT environment while increasing the value of its investments. The approach helps unite the goals not only of FinOps and ITAM practitioners, but of lines of business, engineers and architects, and operations, security, and finance teams.


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