Introducing CloudWorks – Delivering on the Promise of the Cloud

September 15, 2010 Appirio

Narinder Singh

Today is one of the most significant days in Appirio’s history. We’re announcing the launch of Appirio CloudWorks (video). In many ways, this launch sums up what we’ve learned over the past four years.

A lot of our assumptions have changed along the way. When we started Appirio in 2006, we believed that on-demand applications were the future of enterprise IT today, we know it and have the evidence from over 700 cloud projects that foreshadow how powerful a truth it will be for an entire industry.

Freed from the constraints of on-premise applications, both IT and business people have become more productive. Business people can access information anywhere and IT can stop running infrastructure and partner more closely with the business. An inspiring example is our customer, RehabCare, who is using the power of the cloud to transform the healthcare industry.

While the impact that cloud applications and platforms have already had is amazing, there are some challenges ahead. Like enterprise applications of the past, cloud applications need to be brought together with each other to create complete solutions for business people. This need is only growing as enterprises move more of their business to the cloud.

According to data from Appirio’s soon-to-be-released survey of 150 cloud adopters, cloud applications will play an increasingly important role in enterprise IT. Forty-five percent of cloud adopters say they plan to have the majority of their IT in the cloud within one year, and 68 percent say this will happen in three years. And while more than 70 percent of cloud adopters said reducing SaaS silos is a priority to increase value and impact of their cloud applications, only four percent had fully integrated them. Forty percent cite existing technology limitations as a reason.

Cloud applications have changed our expectations of applications both in terms of usability and agility, but unfortunately the same cannot be said of the technology available to bring them together. We’ve found in engagement after engagement that we were using tools labeled as being cloud focused but were shackled by also serving the lowest common denominator, i.e. on-premise applications. Traditional integration tools are optimized to extract data from enterprise applications that are designed not to share information. They fall far short of delivering solutions to the business. Trying to build cross-cloud solutions that bring together information across cloud applications is far more expensive and challenging than it should be – especially when compared to how much better cloud apps are than what came before.

Learning from our experiences over the past 4 years, as well as in prior lives at SAP, Borland and webMethods, we realized that an entirely new approach was needed to bring cloud applications together in a way that unlocks their potential rather than stifling it. Our objectives were simple:

  • Be as user-centric and agile as cloud applications themselves
  • Make it easy to deliver solutions that bring relevant information from cloud applications directly to business people
  • Take advantage of community-based innovation and public cloud infrastructure

With CloudWorks, we believe we have achieved these objectives. CloudWorks is cloud broker technology, delivered as a service, that unifies identity, security, data, context and common business objects across leading cloud applications. CloudWorks makes it possible to build solutions that bring the right information from across your cloud applications to your business people, when they need it, regardless of where they are.

We’ve packaged solutions for common scenarios, including SalesWorks, which delivers customer information to sales people in context, as they work in their email, calendar or mobile device. For example, an email from a prospect automatically brings in information about campaigns they’ve responded to. A calendar appointment shows the latest whitepaper that the prospect you’re meeting with has downloaded. A mobile application automatically brings up the latest Chatter on a project as you enter a customer’s office building. These are just a few examples of what’s possible today with CloudWorks.

Today’s announcement is the first step in the journey toward a truly cloud-powered business. We’re very excited for the days ahead!

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