The AI angle of the Apptio purchase

On top of all that, the sky’s the limit for FinOps insights once IBM is able to feed Apptio’s anonymized IT spend data—$450 billion worth of it—into the watsonx platform. It’s early yet, but Patel thinks AI might (1) improve Apptio’s (already excellent) ability to ingest and classify data, (2) detect anomalies in data or operations and (3) create recommendations, for example about the top areas where a CTO could proactively reduce IT spend.

The first of those would further improve ease of use and accuracy, while the second would definitely expand insights for customers. But the third one could be a runaway hit for the combined company.

Operational insights driving planning, spending and optimization

Apptio is already great at aggregating data from multiple sources onto a common data platform, and it’s great at showing everyone from the C-suite to DevOps teams on the front lines where IT dollars are going and how effective those dollars are. As part of IBM, we should see even more ability for it to get granular with questions like “What is it really costing me to serve a customer?” or “What’s this product SKU costing me?” or to go big with questions like “What market should I get into next?”

Thomas said that in the current economic climate the customers he deals with are focused on “getting fit—thinking about how they optimize investments.” The Apptio transaction, which should close later this year, increases IBM’s already significant ability to help customers do exactly that, and do it across any part of today’s hybrid multi-cloud environments. That’s how companies will get the most out of their IT investments—and how IBM will make the most of its investment in Apptio.