Judges praised the company for bringing transparency to a complex market
It would take a long lift journey to fully describe all of Apptio's business: the products, solutions and expertise it can bring to bear to help its customers. "About 40 floors!" jokes senior vice president for EMEA Colin Rowland.
Nevertheless, the problems Apptio - Computing's recently-crowned winner of ‘Cloud Analytics Product of the Year' at the Cloud Excellence Awards - can solve will be immediately familiar to IT businesses both large and small. The myriad points that make up the IT chain - hardware, software, people and so on - make keeping track of costs that bit harder.
"If you think about IT over the years, people didn't really understand how much it would cost them to deliver and run an application as a service."
Cloud - useful as it is - is just an extra layer of complexity on this. "It's become almost complex-squared, with applications and services in the cloud."
It's this gap in the market that Apptio neatly fills. "We're able to see all of the cloud providers - Azure, AWS - through one single pane, aligned to whatever you're using in house," Rowland explains. "It's only when you're seeing the whole picture together that you can make real optimisation decisions and ensure you're getting value for money."
Cloud technology is expensive, and if left unchecked it can become unmanageable. Rowland's message is clear: plan this "sooner rather than later," because costs can quickly spiral.
"So many times, we've seen people saying 'We'll go with the cloud and month one will be X and forecasting Y'. But by the time they get to month 11, it becomes X-squared or X-cubed. It just goes so quickly and if you're not keeping an eye on that cost it's like a Direct Debit running wild out of your account."
Apptio's win at Computing's Cloud Excellence Awards comes off the back of a number of strong case studies proving the company's effectiveness. The likes of RBS and Nationwide use Apptio's services, and Rowland is particularly proud of the work done with Unilever's cloud migration, which ultimately helped save the consumer goods giant a projected €50 million.
Winning Cloud Analytics Product of the Year makes stories like this a little easier to tell, and Rowland says that the company is already feeling the benefit. "We've had customers and prospects asking about the award and being interested in the Apptio story," he explains.
But more than that, the win, at what Rowland describes as "the Oscars for cloud," is a vindication of the enormous progress the firm has made over the past decade. "It gives a boost to the company, from the engineers who are writing the code to the people that are supporting the customers to the sales guys walking two inches taller with this award in their pocket.
"I'd be lying if I said we didn't pop a few glasses of champagne in the office the next morning."
In the two weeks since the big night, the company hasn't had much time to celebrate though. Just yesterday, it completed its third acquisition, making the machine learning cloud optimisation business FittedCloud part of the Apptio family.
This shouldn't distract Rowland and his colleagues from entering the Cloud Excellence Awards again next year. "My team were thrilled by the professionalism and the suspense of how the awards were done. It made us say 'Right, how do we defend this award next year?' That's the first conversation we had the next day."
Rowland couldn't make the big night himself, but that's not a mistake he'll be making twice, should the company have another successful year. "Oh I'll definitely be there," he promises. "I'm not missing it again."