New Apptio Channel Chief Talks Partner Opportunities, Philosophy

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T.C. DoyleMost vendors want a channel partner on every corner just in case there’s a nearby customer with a need. But not Apptio.

Instead of thousands or even hundreds of partners, the Bellevue, Wash., startup that has become a darling of the Fortune 500 by helping them better manage their technology assets, wants only a few dozen partners. But the ones it wants need to be big, capable and committed. Among other things, they must be able to help big enterprises manage the systems, software and services they leverage through the cloud.

The solutions that Apptio provides are part of a growing portfolio of capabilities that belong to a new category of software called Technology Business Management (TBM). It’s actually a category that Apptio named, but others are falling into line. Big companies including Boeing, Target, Xerox, Safeway and Royal Bank of Scotland are huge fans.

The job for managing the company’s partnerships falls to Michelle Hodges, Apptio’s newly named vice president of global channels and alliances. For nearly two decades, Hodges has worked with leading companies on designing, building and managing partnerships and alliances. She’s worked for Microsoft, SAP and VMware.   

In an interview with Channel Partners, Hodges explained the unique mission she is on at Apptio, one of the hottest companies in all of cloud computing.

Channel Partners: What was it about this opportunity that attracted you to the company?

Apptio's Michelle HodgesHodges: I’ve really had a jungle-gym approach to my career leading up to running all routes to market globally for a big vendor. This is certainly part of that. [The opportunity] here is taking a company with a market of $100 million onwards to $1 billion. It was a good fit from that aspect. And from my experience at VMware, I repeatedly competed against Apptio and lost quite often [laughs]. I saw a company that understood its space and saw the market in a different way than big vendors. What the “cloud" has done to the ecosystem for a channel geek like myself, is just fascinating. For a company like Apptio, which understands that deep in its blood, to be a part of this change, is pretty interesting.

CP: What do you mean by “what the cloud has done to the ecosystem"? Finish that thought and articulate a bit more what you mean ...

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