IBM Completes $4.6B Apptio Acquisition

Big Blue announced its intention to buy Apptio in June.


IBM closed its $4.6 billion purchase of Apptio today with a promise to marry the latter’s financial operations offerings with the tech giant’s automation and artificial intelligence portfolio.

Users of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM’s Turbonomic and Instana offerings – both IBM acquisitions in recent years – should benefit from Apptio’s FinOps capabilities in ApptioOne, Cloudability and Targetprocess that can create a virtual command center for managing, improving and automating decisions around technology spend, according to an IBM statement Thursday. .

Watsonx, IBM’s recently introduced suite of AI products, should benefit from Apptio’s $450 billion in anonymized IT spend data, according to IBM.

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IBM Buys Apptio

IBM announced its intention to buy Bellevue, Wash.-based Apptio in June. The tech giant laid out plans for Apptio to also benefit IBM Consulting and its systems integrators.

In a recent interview with CRN, IBM channel chief Kate Woolley said that partners will serve an important function in bringing the tech giant’s AI offerings to market.

IBM promises that users can reduce cloud costs by 30-plus percent with Apptio’s Cloudability and increase reservation coverage to more than 90 percent, according to the statement.

Turbonomic, meanwhile, promises to improve cloud investments by 33 percent and bring back 30 percent of engineering time, according to IBM.

Apptio, purchased from Vista Equity Partners, had more than 1,500 clients at the time of the close, serving more than half of the Fortune 100.

The acquisition also delivers on comments from IBM CEO Arvind Krishna at IBM Think 2023. While the vendor won’t pursue acquisitions on the level of the $34 billion purchase of Red Hat back in 2019, IBM is on the hunt for companies with expertise in software, automation, hybrid cloud, cybersecurity, AI and machine learning, and consulting.

For consulting, acquisitions to boost its SAP, Salesforce, Amazon Web Services, Oracle and Adobe capabilities are of interest, he said.

Bo Gebbie, CEO of IBM solution provider Evolving Solutions, No. 135 on CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500, recently told CRN that he is interested in seeing how IBM’s AI offerings benefit the security and infrastructure business, which have been in demand for Gebbie’s company lately.

Customers have asked Gebbie’s team about using generative AI tools such as ChatGPT—made by Microsoft-backed OpenAI—and automating tasks related to human resources, Gebbie said.

“If IBM can help bridge the gap between how we make meaningful use cases and we can make money at it helping clients, I think that’s the part we’ve got to do some more homework on,” he said. “The reason I’m excited and interested to learn more is we know there’s a skills gap and shortages with skilled employees still. [We need to learn] how does this help make certain tasks less labor-intensive so that we can redeploy the right people for the harder tasks and harder work?”

A June report by Morgan Stanley was mixed on the Apptio deal. On one hand, Apptio is profitable, fits with IBM’s automation portfolio, has “limited integration risk” and addresses the hybrid cloud optimized spend market, which “can help IBM gain more wallet share with existing customers.”

The limited integration risk comes from Apptio and IBM’s partnership dating to 2021 and Apptio’s software portfolio already running on IBM subsidiary Red Hat’s OpenShift.

A recent cloud optimization survey by Morgan Stanley showed that about 20 percent of companies use that software today, “showing a significant runway for adoption.”

However, the firm doesn’t see Apptio as “material” to IBM’s revenue and free cash flow “or shifting the IBM growth narrative.” Morgan Stanley estimates that Apptio will generate about $500 million of revenue in 2023 and about $80 million of operating income not using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

“With over $25B of software revenue and $60B of total revenue, we believe IBM would have to do multiple $5-7B deals, or more transformative M&A, for investors to gain greater confidence that M&A can be a material tool to help sustain or accelerate mid-single digit revenue growth,” according to the report.