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Exclusive: 10 Minutes With A Top Apptio Industry Peer, Digital Fuel

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Exclusive: 10 Minutes With A Top Apptio Industry Peer, Digital Fuel
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Digital Fuel is an IT Business Management SaaS provider that services more than 250 clients, including several Fortune 500 companies and Dow Jones Components.

The company is a close competitor/peer of recently IPOed Apptio Inc (NASDAQ: APTI). After the latter went public, Benzinga had a chance to chat with Digital Fuel Chief Operating Officer Rick Bigelow and Senior Vice President of Operations Matt Thompson.

The IT Financial Management Sector

Benzinga opened the conversation by asking about what attracted the company to the IT financial management sector. “Just the growth… We see it as a burgeoning industry itself,” Thompson stated, pointing out that, according to their forecasts, this is a global market of $2 to $5 billion.

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Recent Years

Benzinga then moved on to inquire on Apptio, which was founded in 2007, seven years after Digital Fuel, and how the industry had changed since.

“In the past five years we’ve seen a lot more interest in IT combination solutions,” Thompson continued. “The biggest change in five years has been the shift towards SaaS and cloud based delivery… Also just the increase in data. We all recognize, whether it’s what’s on a smartphone, what’s on computers in general, how much data being pushed back and forth and analytics. That’s where the growth comes in and people recognize how important IT is and how much IT gets involved with all its data being spread amongst all of the industries.”

The SVP then went into Apptio’s IPO. “We’re pretty excited about it, because it validates the space,” he declared. “Apptio specifically mentioned us as one [of] their competitors and we have employees that previously worked at Apptio and we’re excited because our solution is in many ways a complement to Apptio, because ours is much more detailed, granular and accurate.”

Going Forward

When we inquired about the future, Thompson said they see growth of 20 percent over the next five years. “We really think this is about to expand going from larger Fortune 1000 companies down to the more mid-size businesses,” he added.

However, the company faces a few challenges, COO Bigelow supplemented. “Our biggest challenge [is] to have the marketplace understand that Digital Fuel, as a standalone, is going to be much more successful than they were in the last two or three years.”

Finally, Thompson discussed potential acquisitions. “This industry, ITBM is actually quite fragmented and there are a number of smaller players out there that we’re aggressively in discussions with to potentially acquire,” he commented. “So we’re on the prowl for some of these smaller players to add some complementary technologies.”

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Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no interest in any of the securities or entities mentioned above.

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