SaaS Specialist Reels In Cisco As Investor, Reseller

Software-as-a-Service upstart Apptio on Thursday said it completed a Series C rounding of equity investment, and also announced a reseller relationship with one of its strategic investors, Cisco.

Both moves bode well for three-year-old Apptio, which provides Technology Business Management (TBM) software to help CIOs manage all of the IT costs associated with running a business.

Apptio, which has about 50 U.S. customers and which has been featured in CRN's ongoing Emerging Vendors series, is receiving $20 million in Series C investment from a varied group that includes Cisco, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Madrona Venture Group and Shasta Ventures.

Apptio's broader channel strategy sees it offering the TBM software through large vendor partners, systems integrators and consultants (it recently signed on with VAR 500 juggernaut Wipro, for example), and service providers, meaning both traditional outsourcers to more bleeding-edge cloud computing service providers. It'll have a major enterprise booster in Cisco, which will become a reseller partner, adding Apptio's TBM solutions into its own professional services arm.

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"Cisco believes that this is a very strategic market," said Stan Shull, vice president of strategic alliances at Apptio. "The funding and the reseller relationship are separate on one hand, but the investment sort of cements the reseller relationship, too."

Shull declined to provide hard numbers, but said Apptio, based in Bellevue, Wash., has grown by a factor of between 3x and 4x year-over-year. The company began purely as a direct model in 2008, but its expansion into indirect channel sales has been steady.

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Deborah Gash, CIO at Saint Luke's Health System in Kansas City, Mo., said Saint Luke's is a customer of both Apptio and Cisco, and that the TBM software is a "natural fit" for Cisco-led architecture.

"Cisco can now provide me with deep insight into the cost, value and performance of our IT operations, allowing us to make better decisions about infrastructure as we adopt the Cisco solution architectures to drive down costs and increase the business value of IT," said Gash in a statement.

Shull and his team believe Apptio has tapped into a major growth area: one where CIOs want to ensure every technology and infrastructure investment they've made is strategically sound at both a value and a performance level.

"They've invested a lot in technology automation: process management, service desk systems, asset management, all of it," Shull said. "But what they haven't had until now is the ability to take all that data from each of their systems and have a comprehensive view of the IT services together. That's where Apptio comes in."