Episode 13: Featuring Sunny Gupta, CEO of Apptio

Sunny Gupta, CEO, and founder at Apptio knows a thing or two about perseverance — and it started with immigrating from India and creating his own self-funded pathway to higher education in the United States. After earning Computer Science and Math degrees, Sunny pursued software and framework development at the forefront of innovation. At 26, he started his first company and 18 months later sold it to Rational Software (now part of IBM).

In this Net Effects Podcast episode, Sunny shares his vision about grit, determination, and digital transformation with co-hosts Mark Bavisotto and Les Ottolenghi

Episode highlights:

  • “I lived and breathed perseverance every day, setting me up for an entrepreneurial road.” Sunny made his own way to the U.S. for college and professional pursuits. His experience as a student in a new country further ingrained his determined work ethic and demonstrated the power of perseverance.
  • “Customers give you a lot of free advice.” Nurture an obsession around customer validation. It is a “death punch” to fixate on an idea and shut out what the market or customers are trying to show or tell you.
  • Apptio evolved from customer validation. In order to ready his new product, Sunny and his team visited prospective customers, asking them for “three reasons why you wouldn’t buy the new software.” There are meta themes here around the “ability to listen” and the “ability to morph” as well.
  • Entrepreneurship has its highs and lows, therefore, be perpetually optimistic. “The majority of days are pretty tough days,” says Sunny. “But eternally go back to North compass and really believe that. Be honest about what the real issues are, and work on chipping away at the issues, and then great things start to happen.”
  • CIOs need a way to manage the business and IT investments. So Sunny founded the TBM Council, a network of over 11,000 global CIOs and technology and business leaders who use the value management framework for data-driven decision-making about IT initiatives. TBM offers organizations the following benefits: 1.) Optimize and run the IT budget and free up capital so that reinvestment can be made in innovation and aid digital transformation; 2.) Measure and manage the journey to cloud, and 3.) Drive IT strategy around business alignment and value.

Topics range from new and digital-first business models to Sunny’s organization-building with the Technology Business Management Council. This episode offers a pragmatic look at some of the most pressing issues facing CIOs today.

About Sunny Gupta and Apptio: Sunny Gupta is a market and product innovator with a customer obsession that led him to uncover a significant untapped demand for an analytics-based business management system for CIOs, technology and business leaders. Since founding Apptio in 2007, Sunny pioneered a market category (Technology Business Management or TBM) and drove the company to become a leader in a disruptive industry with significant scale. Sunny led Apptio to an Initial Public Offering in September 2016 (NASDAQ: APTI) as well as its acquisition by Vista Equity Partners in January 2019 for $1.94B.

Prior to founding Apptio, Sunny was EVP of Products at Opsware, responsible for all product businesses until Opsware’s acquisition by HP in 2007. He was also the co-founder and CEO of iConclude, a company that pioneered the IT runbook automation market through its acquisition by Opsware. Previously, Sunny held senior leadership roles in Product, Business Development, and Engineering at Mercury Interactive, Rational Software, and IBM.