One Small Step For the Cloud Industry, One Giant Leap for Appirio

March 15, 2012 Appirio

by Chris Barbin

This morning, Appirio announced that it has raised $60 million from global growth investor General Atlantic – more than 3x what we have previously raised as a company to date.  Given our strong growth, ability to run a profitable services business and general market momentum, the natural question is why raise the capital?  We couldn’t be more excited at all the things this will enable us to do right now, but, to answer fully, we must first take a step back.

We founded Appirio in 2006 because we thought our industry was broken.  We had worked with and for systems integrators (SIs) and experienced first hand how they had engineered their entire business models around the complexity and shortfalls of on-premise technology.  The combination of on-premise technology and traditional system integration was just not working. CIO survey after CIO survey highlighted the central issue of traditional IT – 80% of time and budget keeping the lights on and no time to align with the business.  I saw this firsthand at Borland where when I became CIO, we had a company with 1,000 people and 1,000 servers.

As the cloud emerged, we saw a radically different future for technology in the enterprise.  Enterprises now had the potential to move faster and capitalize on, and maybe even create disruptions in their industries.  Yet, the services ecosystems hadn’t innovated in a decade and were wed to the practices and skills needed to make slow moving on-premise technology work.
We knew we needed to bring Silicon Valley thinking and innovation to the stagnant services model.  In early 2007, we talked about “Services 2.0”, a new services model that could disrupt traditional consulting as radically as we believed the cloud would disrupt on-premise software..

Since then, we’ve been hard at work showing that Appirio can do it better.  As we worked with over 300 enterprises and moved over 1.5 million users to the public cloud, we learned how to use technology and crowdsourcing to power our consulting services in ways that were never possible with on-premise software.  We’ve been privileged to work with innovative companies of all sizes and mindsets, from large and established companies reinventing themselves for a new age like Japan Post to companies that are changing the world like Twitter. The constant across all these customers is a desire to change how they do business using technology.

Our agile delivery approach delivers results quickly, our technology portfolio helps us bring Appirio’s collective experience to every customer and the CloudSpokes community lets us bring the talents of tens of thousands of developers to every project.  And of course the foundation of our success is the set of close partnerships with like-minded cloud leaders like, Workday, Google and Amazon.

Now, five and a half years later, what began as proof of concept is a vibrant and fast-growing global business with nearly 500 full time staff and operations in 3 continents.  Both our customers and their ambitions have grown with us. We believe more than ever that we will disrupt the entire global systems integrator model – and General Atlantic does too.  With their support, and with the public cloud growing in importance each day, Appirio will disrupt more and more of the worldwide IT industry.  We’ll live up to the expectations of leading enterprises like Facebook that are showing us the future by re-imagining what’s possible with technology and demanding an alternative to global systems integrators.

With the investment we are also honored to welcome Gary Reiner to our board of directors.  As the former CIO of GE for 14 years, Gary has shaped many IT leaders across today’s industry. GE and the network of executives it has graduated have the reputation of being pragmatic, cost conscious, ‘show me’ first executives who insist on clear and demonstrable value.  Winning GA and Gary over gave us a no-nonsense filter to distill how we are and will continue to disrupt the IT value chain.  His voice in helping ensure we continue to focus on the pragmatic, future needs of large enterprises will be a welcome addition.

Several months ago we were named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer because of our potential to help change the world through technology. Today, we are stepping up our commitment to deliver the same type of disruption that and Workday have delivered to SAP and Oracle to the traditional systems integrators. As Andy Warhol once said  “They say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”  We are dedicated to driving that change and taking the success we have had with leading enterprises to more customers across the world and every aspect of the transition to cloud computing.

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