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IBM's $4.6 billion Apptio deal shows how hot FinOps has got

IT spend management specialist Apptio recently updated its "Cloudability" FinOps suite as CIOs tighten belts

IBM has announced an agreement to acquire software company Apptio for $4.6 billion cash, in its seventh acquisition this year alone.

Apptio specializes in software to help clients manage their IT spending – federal clients include the VA which used it to underpin its TBM approach -- and recently launched new FinOps capabilities across its Cloudability suite to improve cloud spend management; a hot topic.

(As IDC recently put it: "The proactive focus on cloud costs over the last 18-24 months is so dramatic that in some cases, it is superseding cloud security focus", with organisations from Airbnb to the Home Office all having shared tips on driving down cloud spending.)

The acquisition of Apptio will furnish IBM with powerful access to over $450 billion of anonymised IT spend data from its telemetry.

"Apptio and the performance optimization and observability capabilities of IBM's IT automation software like Turbonomic, Instana and AIOps, will give clients a 360-degree technology business management platform, providing a 'virtual command center' for spend management and optimization stretching across their entire technology landscape" IBM said in a canned statement.

The deal comes as IBM CEO Arvind Krishna has set the company on a huge acquisition spree, snapping up some 30 companies since he took the helm. Last year's deals included Octo, an emerging technology and IT modernisation provider to US federal government agencies, sustainability performance management firm Envizi, telco consulting firm Sentaca, Azure specialist Neudesic, attack surface management startup Randori, data observability company Databand, and digital product engineering firm Dialexa among others.

The deal will close in the second half of 2023, coming in five years after Apptio owner Vista took the FinOps firm private. (In 2018, Apptio entered into a definitive agreement with Vista acquiring all outstanding shares of the hybrid IT management company's common stock for a total value of approximately $1.94 billion., so it is a healthy exit for the firm.)

Since, Apptio has partnered and integrated with major tech players such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Oracle and SAP- and boasts of a 1500+ strong clientele, serving 60% of Fortune 100 companies.

Structured as a SaaS with three core offerings (One, Cloudability and TargetProcess), Apptio provides FinOps towards  hybrid cloud spend management and optimization capabilities to analyse, optimize and plan IT spend and value by delivering actionable insights around cost and utilization, while benchmarking against industry peers for continuous optimization.

IBM is also likely to be interested in Apptio's public cloud spend management visibility and optimization capabilities, through which it connects multi-cloud and SaaS infrastructure with cloud financial management best practices.

According to Arvind Krishna, CEO and chairman, IBM, Apptio in combination with IBM's IT automation software like Turbonomic, Instana and AIOps, will provide clients with a 360- degree "virtual command center" for spend management and optimization.

The acquisition remains subject to transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, and will be aquired with available cash on hand.