Apptio brings analytics into the IT shop

The IT financial management company helps bridge the gap between business and technology

Back in 2007, Apptio CEO Sunny Gupta noticed a disconnect when it comes to enterprise IT: Technologists have a technology agenda, but CEOs have a business agenda, and the two don't always overlap. In fact, the two are often starkly different. Technology is strategic to business, but enterprises don't always think of it as such and have resisted applying BI (business intelligence) to their in-house IT operations. Furthermore, IT is too complex and constantly shifting for a standard BI model to work. The solution, Gupta reasoned, is a nimbler kind of BI that brings cost transparency to IT, so he started Apptio to create just such a solution.

Apptio's on-demand analytics and cost monitoring offering is that product. Its easily updated analytics formulas help CIOs figure out the unit cost of an enterprise's current IT setup as well as the unit costs of potential moves so that he can talk to the CEO in terms of business rather than sheer technology. For example, if a company wants to outsource its e-mail, what would the cost per mailbox be? What would the difference in cost per kilowatt be if the company chooses to shut down a server or add a new one?

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At its root, Apptio addresses two questions: Where is IT money being spent? and Is this spending optimized? To help business-minded executives make technology decisions, Apptio presents them with an IT bill that allows them to drill down into unit costs. Just as a cell phone bill presents not just the total amount due but a cost breakdown (standard fees, overtime minutes, roaming charges, and so on) as well, Apptio can show the cost breakdown of an enterprise's technology operations so that executives can see what resources are being applied to which problems.

The key is Apptio's Data Links technology, which pulls data from multiple sources within a company, then integrates and correlates that data in order to show where the money is flowing within the business. From there, users can perform all sorts of "what if?" tasks, getting the unit cost and expense breakdowns of proposed future plans. This allows for more accurate budgeting and forecasting on the IT level, which in turn can help companies maximize their ROI when it comes to IT spending.

Apptio promises quarterly updates to its software. More information and a free trial can be found at apptio.com.

This story initially stated that Apptio's product is available either on-demand or on-premise. It is actually only available on-demand, and the story has been updated to correct this.

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