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Appirio's CloudWorks Aims to Break SaaS Logjam

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Posted September 16, 2010 By David Needle     Feedback

The cloud broker solution is designed to help enterprises better manage data and users across different SaaS applications.

Enterprises adopt SaaS applications for cost savings, flexibility and scalability. And while companies can choose from different SaaS providers, relying on multiple SaaS vendors can be a headache since their offerings don't necessarily interoperate all that well.

Enter Appirio, which has debuted what it says is the first cloud broker technology that's designed to help enterprises free information from so-called "SaaS silos."

Appirio CloudWorks is designed to help companies build solutions that connect SaaS applications from several platforms, including Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), (NYSE: CRM) and WorkDay as well as from other developers that support those platforms. The company claims Appirio CloudWorks is as little as one third the cost of other approaches.

"There is a set of technologies you would have to piece together, including identity, middleware and integration, to get the same results as CloudWorks," Ryan Nichols, vice president of product management and marketing at Appirio, told

"The difference in our approach is that a lot of broker technology is focused on a point solution that is horizontal, but relatively thin, like single sign-on. To build a cross-cloud business solution that spans many different cloud applications is really, really hard to do today, but it's what we do for a living," he added, noting Appirio's experience as a professional services provider to the enterprise.

The news comes at a time of growing interest in cloud solutions as a broad range of software providers — from pure-play SaaS providers like Google and Salesforce, to more traditional software firms like Microsoft and SAP (NYSE: SAP) — are actively developing and promoting new cloud-based solutions.

"Part of the reason we're seeing such significant growth in cloud computing is because it drastically improves the way business and IT work — and how they work together," Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and fellow at Gartner, said in a statement. "Yet most IT departments are still working with the cloud in a 20th-century way. Cloud service brokerages and brokerage-enabling technology can help IT get greater leverage from the cloud model, and navigate an increasingly complex cloud ecosystem."

Appirio also is releasing a number of different types of cross-cloud solutions built on CloudWorks. Packaged Appirio solutions for sales and HR are called SalesWorks and PeopleWorks, respectively. There are also custom solutions that can be created for a specific enterprise needs, dubbed CustomWorks, and partner solutions that also leverage the CloudWorks foundation.

Matt Vandenbush, director of IT strategy and architecture at Brady Corp., said Appirio SalesWorks should make the Salesforce CRM and Google Apps his company is already using more effective.

"If our sales people don't have to re-enter or change information in multiple applications, it not only makes their life easier but can also increase system adoption and overall data quality," he said in a statement.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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