Last week, we published scores for our 2023 cloud predictions. This is a yearly exercise meant to hold us accountable on the predictions we make. We evaluate whether our predictions were partially true, ahead of their time, failed to make progress, or if, in fact, the opposite occurred. And we’re honest, even harsh, when evaluating ourselves. Most years, we get a few right on the mark and some that are partly there. This year, we landed a little below other years — which will happen. After all, you can’t be bold and accurate every time.

My colleagues and I got together at the end of 2023 to assess our work. We had some good hits when it came to cloud-native and sovereign cloud. However, we badly missed the mark with cloud cost management. And … I’m embarrassed to say, that was my prediction. How do you miss a prediction on cloud cost management in a year like 2023 when FinOps and optimization was all the rage? Quite frankly, it was about the tools. I focused on third-party tools and underestimated the product team capabilities of the most advanced FinOps users. They’re further ahead than I gave them credit for (more below). Despite the miss, I’ll say that it has been an amazing ride over the last 12 months working with some of the most advanced FinOps practices and hearing about their own creations.

Read the full report to see our scorecard. Our biggest hit and biggest miss?

  • Our biggest hit: Forty percent of firms took a cloud-native first strategy. We predicted that organizations would accelerate investment into Kubernetes as a distributed backbone for current and new applications, which would then accelerate application modernization. This prediction hit the mark. Personally, I think this was an obvious one that reflected an ongoing trend. The question was just whether it would hit the 40% mark in time, as things tend to move slower than anticipated. Ultimately, it exceeded expectation. In 2023, 63% of cloud decision-makers reported adopting or have adopted Kubernetes in public or private cloud. Similarly, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation reported that 47% of North American organizations of 500 or more employees have adopted both Kubernetes and containers.
  • Our biggest miss: Third-party cloud cost management and optimization (CCMO) tools will lead cost management strategies. How did we (I) miss this? We strongly advised against DIY cloud cost management or any form where companies create their own cloud cost tools. And yet, it’s on the rise. We narrowly viewed DIY as the ol’ spreadsheet approach (i.e., the least mature adopters that are overconfident on their macros abilities). But this also encapsulates the most advanced users that are building their own capabilities and products to meet their needs. Data from the FinOps Foundation clearly shows that DIY tools have risen to the top spot (as both the least and most advanced lean on this approach). Today, we see organizations that are spending north of $50 million on cloud spend annually either doing a full or partial DIY approach. This is often paired with capabilities from the native cloud platforms. However, going this route still isn’t easy. Organizations that do this have full product teams maintaining their DIY tooling.

These are just a few of our scores for 2023 cloud predictions. For a deeper dive, see the full report. If you like hearing about how we perform on our annual cloud predictions, stay tuned. We’ll do this same exercise again next year to find out how our 2024 predictions faired. [SPOILER ALERT] Thankfully, my own prediction for 2024 on FOCUS is looking promising!

If you want to dive into this report or have any questions around FinOps, cloud cost management tooling (incoming Wave in Q3 2024!), cloud platform teams, or cloud skills, you can find me at