Jaisson Mailloux on uniting FinOps and GreenOps to make the most of cloud investments

Jaisson Mailloux on uniting FinOps and GreenOps to make the most of cloud investments

It’s still important for companies to take account of emissions when transitioning to the cloud, says Jaisson Mailloux

Organisations still have to consider sustainability and costs when transitioning to the cloud, says Kyndryl’s director and global alliance technical evangelist for Microsoft 

Alex Smith |

Operating sustainably has become a crucial responsibility for organisations of all sizes in all industries and is now an important factor for them to consider as they explore new technologies and solutions. This is no different for the cloud, which is an often hidden but significant contributor to global emissions.  

“When companies want to move a cloud such as Microsoft Azure, they might think that they’re entirely removing the impact of their on-premises environment,” says Jaisson Mailloux, director and global alliance technical evangelist for Microsoft at Kyndryl. “But that’s essentially kicking the can down the road. While Microsoft has made great commitments to reduce emissions, it’s still important for companies to take account of those emissions to lower their impact.” 

While many companies have embraced a FinOps culture as they transition into the cloud, in which they aim to produce the most business value out of their cloud investments, this can often fail to factor the environmental concerns into the equation. Mailloux therefore proposes combining a FinOps mindset with sustainability initiatives in what he refers to as ‘GreenOps’, where sustainability is also viewed as valuable to the business.   

“There’s a tendency to focus just on financials when it comes to discussing business value, but that’s only one aspect of the overall picture,” he says. “It can also mean adding value in terms of improving sustainability, as organisations not only lower cost, but also decrease emissions. That’s where GreenOps comes into play.” 

When it comes to measuring the environmental impact of a company via carbon reporting, cloud emissions are classified under the category of Scope 3. This category includes all emissions indirectly produced by the company, excluding those associated with electricity, steam, heat, or cooling.  

Scope 3 emissions are more difficult to calculate than direct emissions, but Mailloux sees them as essential for businesses to understand how to manage their environmental impact. “I can't dismiss Scope 3 emissions as my vendor’s problem if I’m sourcing things from them,” he says. “This is when we need to return to the principles of FinOps: inform and optimise. We inform ourselves by collecting the data on emissions to understand our options, and then we can optimise by using this information to make a collective decision with all parties at the table.” 

Measuring Scope 3 emissions and applying a FinOps mindset to cloud sustainability can be difficult, but Kyndryl is able to offer tailored consultancy and support services to its customers. “You have to consider what the customer can tolerate at the time, depending on where they are in their journey,” says Mailloux. “We can help them if they're just beginning to consider reporting, or we can help them execute a plan if they've already identified areas to improve. Every journey is different, and we’re here to supplement it along the way.” 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription

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