Appirio Shatters Cloud Silos With Cloud Broker Technology
Andrew R. Hickey
And with the launch of its CloudWorks cloud broker technology, the solution provider now adds cross-cloud solutions to its arsenal that mesh once-disparate clouds, like sales, marketing, HR and others.
CloudWorks picks up in the next phase of cloud computing, said Ryan Nichols, head of cloud sourcing and cloud strategy for San Mateo, Calif.-based Appirio. For many, cloud computing has moved beyond the first steps of deployment and now companies are facing new issues as they take that second, third and fourth step to the cloud.
"CloudWorks breaks down SaaS silos and unleashes information," Nichols said.
Connecting clouds comes on the heels of a soon-to-be-released Appirio survey that found among 150 cloud adopters, 45 percent plan to have the majority of their IT in the cloud within a year, 68 percent plan to have most of IT in the cloud in 3 years, and 70 percent of cloud adopters said reducing the silos of SaaS is a priority and will boost the value of their cloud applications.
Additionally, only four percent of the 150 respondents said they have fully integrated their SaaS silos while 40 percent cited technology limitations as a reason for not integrating them.
Essentially, CloudWorks lets users connect once-disparate SaaS applications from Google Apps, Salesforce.com and Workday to boost speed and reduce costs. Additionally, users can improve data quality and compliance while streamlining data management across SaaS applications and mobile devices.
Appirio launched CloudWorks with two pre-packaged solutions: SalesWorks for sales teams and PeopleWorks for HR.
SalesWorks delivers relevant customer-related data to sales team in email, calendar and mobile devices, while PeopleWorks serves up contextual HR-related information in a manager's inbox in a secure, complaint way for employee management without risking data slipping into insecure environments.
Appirio also launched CloudWorks CustomerWorks, which are custom solutions created by Appirio's services teams that can be built for specific clients with CloudWorks as the foundation. And for partners that want to build their own solutions, Appirio offers CloudWorks extensions for other SaaS providers that tap into CloudWorks to extend their own solution.
Current CloudWorks extensions include offerings from Dun & Bradstreet, Merketo and Xactly that add company and financial information, marking insight and sales compensation data into SalesWorks.
Nichols said CloudWorks eliminates the need for employees to log into various different cloud-based systems to perform tasks. Instead, all relevant, contextual information is proactively presented across the various platforms and inside the tools and applications that users work in daily, such as e-mail, calendar, mobile devices and others.
For example, if a sales manager receives an e-mail from a client, CloudWorks presents all relevant information pulled from Google, Salesforce and Workday in that e-mail. Users can take action on or update information on the spot to improve the integrity of data.
"CloudWorks understands users across applications," Nichols said, adding it recognizes who is sending the e-mail, who is receiving it and what data is relevant to deliver information when users need it, wherever they are.
CloudWorks also offers a customizable cloud architecture that lets users forget about the plumbing and focus more on business. CloudWorks provides the components that enable the development, integration and delivery of cross-cloud solutions including unified identity, security and data compliance; data context and aggregation services; common business object definitions; and all of that is delivered as a service without hardware or software.
Appirio aims CloudWorks, which it calls a "cloud connector" or "cloud broker," at mid-size to large companies, or companies with 500 or more employees. The subscription-based managed service is billed on a per-user per-month basis and runs around $4 for casual users or up to $25 for multi-cloud applications.
Nichols called CloudWorks "yet another bet on the cloud" that Appirio is making as more business move to the cloud. Bridging cloud technologies and applications is going to be big business over the next few years as companies look to tie together different cloud environments.
"Each of these clouds is still its own world; still its own silo," he said. "We're optimizing for cross-cloud scenarios."