Funko’s cloud-first future goes all in on CIO’s Microsoft past

The CIO of Funko, a pop culture company that makes collectible toys, is banking on Microsoft software to provide the foundation for digital services.

Funko’s cloud-first future goes all in on CIO’s Microsoft past
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Don’t expect Sarathy Annamraju to apologize for his Microsoft bias. The Microsoft veteran is betting that the software giant’s cloud portfolio will help ensure a successful digital transformation he is orchestrating as CIO of toy collectible company Funko.

“Coming from Microsoft, I’d drunk the Kool-Aid and developed a bias toward it,” Annamraju, who spent a decade working in IT and other roles at Microsoft, tells CIO.com. “It’s what you know, right?”

That old saw applies here, but Funko has more practical reasons for betting big on Microsoft, which currently accounts for the bulk of the company’s IT software stack. Annamraju says that it behooves CIOs to work with fewer vendors because injecting too much diversity into a technology ecosystem requires more people, overhead and interoperability challenges. And Funko, a $500 million company that employs only 40 IT staff, can ill afford those obstacles.

Clarity in the cloud

Vendor sourcing is one of the critical choices CIOs must make as they shepherd digital transformations. Betting on the wrong vendor, or vendors, can be disastrous, leading to implementation issues or outages. And acquiring technologies from too many third parties can lead to a bloated IT stack. Add a crunched timeline and you’ve got narrow, hit-or-miss opportunities to nail your technology choices.

Such was the case with Funko, whose growth was doubling year over year when Annamraju joined in August 2017. Funko, which has more than 200 rights licenses from universal brands such as Disney and Marvel, faced a “digital deficit” after blowing through years of modest technology investments.

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