API platform vendor Apigee seeing strong results from SAP partnership

SAP and Apigee are both seeing good synergies from their approximately two year-old partnership, the type of ISV alliance strongly being broadly pursued by both companies.

Chris Arisian

Chris Arisian, Head of Indirect Sales and VP of Sales and Strategic Business Development at Apigee

ORLANDO — SAP doubled down on the importance of its vendor partnering messaging at its SAPPHIRE NOW event last week. San Jose-based Apigee was among the hordes of these ISV, OEM and systems integrator partners of SAP at the event. While their partnership with SAP is relatively recent compared to many of these others, Apigee described it as critical to their success.

Apigee makes an intelligent API platform for digital business. The company is now eight years old, and went through some early experimentation before coming up with their present platform, which is delivered either on-prem or through the cloud.

“We started out as an appliance,” said Chris Arisian, who is responsible for indirect sales and strategic business development at Apigee. “We then did a complete rewrite and moved to a cloud-only offering. Now we are available as software, as a cloud offering, or on-prem for a private cloud.”

Most of their customers – but not all – are larger.

“We have a lot of Fortune 500 companies like AT&T, Nike, and Walgreens, but we also have customers who are digital natives, who are smaller than that,” Arisian said. “We have traditionally focused on direct sales, but we also have channel partners, particularly the major systems integrators, like Accenture and CapGemini. Accenture is a minority investor in the company.”

Partnerships with vendors like SAP are also critical to Apigee’s go-to-market strategy.

“We not only endorse SAP’s philosophy on partnering, but we fully agree with it,” he said. “Today, partnerships are more important than competition in terms of moving the market. SAP’s partnering with nimble specialized companies like Apigee helps them move deeper into the market.”

Apigee and SAP’s partnership dates from July 2014, when they announced that SAP would deliver an integrated API management solution built on the Apigee Edge platform, their flagship product for API management. Apigee also makes a predictive analytics product (Apigee Insight) and an offering to build API Connectors for the Internet of Things (Apigee Link).

“We are SAPs API management product,” Arisian said. “They OEM us and provide an SAP-branded version of our product.”

Arisian said that Apigee wanted very much to work with SAP because they significantly extend Apigee’s reach.

“Our buyer traditionally has often been the Chief Digital Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer, but we also often have to sell to the Chief Information Officer,” he said. “SAP is very CIO-centric, and they are looking to extend more on the digital side, so our relationship in that sense is very synergistic.

“In addition, SAP has helped us reach additional customer sets and segments that we couldn’t reach on our own – or even have visibility into in some cases,” Arisian added. “Many customers also won’t buy unless SAP has validated.”

Arisian cited a recent win for them of a large bank in the Middle East, for which he credited SAP.

“A traditional Middle Eastern bank is very hard for us to sell to – but not for SAP,” he said.

Apigee is also expanding other key partnerships as well. During the SAP event, they announced a new integration with Pivotal, with the availability of Apigee’s API management software for Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry. They are demonstrating this integration this week at the Cloud Foundry Summit in Santa Clara CA.