Last week, over 400 Apptians from all over the globe met in Bellevue for a family reunion at our corporate annual kickoff “Aspire.” There was fun and celebration. But at the core of it, we connected to talk seriously about the future.

I was blown away by the customer involvement and passion in this year’s Aspire.  We had a few customers join us to share stories about their experience with Apptio. As we set goals – and our CEO Sunny talks about them at length – I was excited to see how many of our aspirations were centered around learning from how we impact customers. 

Apptio is celebrated as a high-tech, high-growth SaaS company. However, as last week progressed, I learned that we’re more than just that. We’re a philosophy company. One of our valuable customers told us: Apptio doesn’t just deliver software, we help her company change the way they think and act! We’re changing the lives of our customers so that they see their investments of money, people, and technology differently. We enable them to invest in more of what really matters to their business. Eventually, it creates a fundamental shift in their business, where IT is empowered to do more than they ever thought possible.

How we deliver our philosophy

As Apptians, we live everyday by this philosophy: we want our customers to be wildly successful. It’s not only about the applications we provide, though we invest heavily in making Apptio products the best in the category. It’s about the philosophy of turning what was once just seen only as costs into a strategic investment. We help our customers stay competitive.

Living Apptio as a philosophy simply put, helps us align our goals and investments. First, our philosophy centers around investing in building a suite of applications that ensures we’re the best in the market. Second, we invest in being an organization that allows us to cater strategically to customer success. Third, we invest around building a strong community of Apptians and IT leaders that have an unwavering commitment to our philosophy.

When you’re a philosophy company, you work towards spreading your message far and wide. Our philosophy of running IT like a business applies to customers big and small. We believe in raising up not only CIOs, but making IT leaders at all levels wildly successful. Now the Apptio suite is available bundled as discrete applications. This means that we can service so many more customers than we have ever before. We’re spreading our philosophy one customer at a time. As Aspire showed us, we’re changing the world one company at a time. 

Philosophies create movement

Apptio is innovative. We’re shooting for the stars. But what gets Apptians excited everyday, is that we’re creating a new way of looking at IT. Philosophies create movements.

Philosophies also create communities, where no single leader stands alone. Six years ago, Apptio founded the Technology Business Management (TBM) Council to foster a community of leaders committed to managing IT like a business. Today, the TBM Council is over 1,100 members strong, all intrinsically linked by a belief that IT must operate as a strategic partner to the business. What started as a simple mission among six thought-leading CIOs grew into Apptio’s philosophy to help IT leaders succeed globally. We are all tied together by that message. We are all Apptio.

What do you think about a company operating as a philosophy? What did I miss? Tell me on Twitter or in the comments below.