Appirio Bets On The Cloud ... And Wins

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Appirio gets it.

The company steps into the ring, gloves laced and ready for battle. When the bell rings, it strikes with speed, agility and precision.

In the world of cloud computing solution providers, consider Appirio the Manny Pacquiao: pound for pound one of the best in the biz.

In less than four years, San Mateo, Calif.-based Appirio has grown from its four founding fathers to more than 200 strong and has done so with a jarring one-two cloud partner punch with and Google. Add other key vendors such as Workday and Amazon, and Appirio is a leader in offering myriad products and professional services in the cloud.

But to hear Ryan Nichols, Appirio's head of cloud sourcing and cloud strategy, tell it, the cloud sort of formed around Appirio.

"When Appirio was founded three years ago, even we didn't call it the cloud," said Nichols.

Appirio first signed on with when it launched in 2006. Shortly thereafter it built a Google practice around Google Apps. With those two powerful partners in its corner, Appirio made the move from Software-as-a-Service to what are now known as cloud platforms. Appirio marries consulting and product development with cloud technologies to help customers forge a new business path.

Today, the biggest part of Appirio's business is building custom applications on top of those cloud platforms, Nichols said. Appirio is credited with building a good number of the best-selling applications in's AppExchange and for devising applications that tie together Salesforce and Google Apps and Salesforce and Facebook.

"We can package what we learn into SaaS products built onto platforms," said Nichols. "We have 5,000 customers that use products that connect and extend Google, Salesforce, Amazon and Facebook."

Appirio's strategy works. It has amassed roughly 5,000 customers since its launch and has moved more than 300,000 enterprise end users into the cloud. Its customers include major players such as Avon, Starbucks, Japan Post and Genentech.

Appirio has also grown into a financial powerhouse. It has raised $16 million in funding in the past two years. Its revenue saw a 400 percent increase from 2007 to 2008; from 2008 to 2009 revenue climbed another 200 percent.

Nichols said that as cloud platforms took hold, Appirio made it a mission to have an answer for customers who ask: "What else can I do with this platform that is now a part of my enterprise architecture?"


NEXT: 'Cloud sourcing' and the demise of physical IT assets

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