Doing It the (Fin)Ants Way

How Ants support our FinOps journey

You may have figured that at FinAnts we like Ants. Their ability to build huge structures as a team, by each member focusing and delivering on their possibly small, individual, part is a good mental picture of how a successful FinOps enabled team can create huge value through collaboration. As FinOps consultants, we like to take our inspiration from these little creatures.

It is estimated that there are around 1 million ants for every 1 human in the world. Like humans, ants have pretty much conquered the entire globe. And some say that if ants would be in business, they would run the world.

Here are the top 10 behaviours we as FinOps consultants can learn from Ants in support of our FinOps journey and objectives:

  1. Ants are self-organising: the group functions without much control or supervision. FinOps relies on cost relevant decisions ‘at the edge of the enterprise’ to be made. It requires engineers doing the right thing, because they know it is the right thing. Not because their supervisor is looking over their shoulder.
  2. Ants work together as a team; they all march in the same direction: each ant is aware of their individual duty and does their part. FinOps requires for engineering, finance and procurement teams to constructively collaborate while ensuring individual roles, responsibilities and duties are understood and consistently executed.
  3. Ants persevere and get the job done: you will never see a group of ants leave what they’re carrying and just call it a day. FinOps activities may require this same sense of perseverance. Tasks can be detailed, sometimes tedious and time consuming. Getting them done for the full 100% is a critical FinOps pillar.
  4. Ants are flexible and quickly adapt to a changing environment: when a trail is disturbed, they farm out until the route is re-discovered. In FinOps, when costs suddenly spike, we behave in a similar way. We farm out and explore until we have found a remediation for the issue at hand.
  5. Ants regroup: once a new path and source of food is found, they will all regroup to harvest it. In FinOps, regularly and conclusively regrouping and re-targeting is as important, and sharing information widely enables us all to do so. If we don’t regroup, we slowly lose our cohesiveness.
  6. Ants aren’t intimidated by the size of their workload; ants aren’t intimidated by the sheer size of the objects that they need to carry. In FinOps, and certainly early days, the task at hand can seem daunting. Cutting this in small, bite size chunks that individuals can carry and address helps us move mountains.
  7. Ants are focused: they know what they’re after and go get it. As FinOps consultants, we provide a similar focus to enterprises. It helps us all understand what we are aiming for, and enables us to go after achieving the KPIs we have set ourselves to achieve.
  8. Ants learn from each other through interactive teaching: an experienced ant shows an apprentice and pays attention to his/her speed of development. FinOps operates in a rapidly changing cloud world. Sharing with others what we have learned and showing the way are traits that are of huge value.
  9. Ants understand that sharing is caring: the ant that finds the food, returns to the nest to share the information and discovery; the ant does not keep the information selfishly to itself. Sharing is a critical survival and learning technique in a rapidly changing, highly dynamic FinOps world. If you have discovered a new way, a better solution to achieve our objectives, then be proud and loud about it.
  10. Ants are a persistent lot: they never give up and never lose faith; they keep at it ’till they get what they want. Like Napoleon said, and a motto that befits any FinOps enabled team: victory belongs to the persistent!

To learn more about the FinOps foundation and their core principles, read our blog on this topic here.

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