It was no accident timing wise that the first major news of Dreamforce, particularly from a partner point of view, was that Accenture had acquired Cloud Sherpas. Accenture is of course the leading integrated SI in the world. Cloud Sherpas is a 1,100 person strong cloud services integrator focusing on Salesforce, ServiceNow and Google applications. The acquisition will spearhead the announced Accenture Cloud First Applications group.
This is a big deal in the cloud and SaaS services space. When capioIT ranked the leading Salesforce SI’s last year, Accenture was ranked first in terms of capability. Alongside two other cloud specialist SI firms, Bluewolf and Appirio, Cloud Sherpas was ranked in the Top 5 vendors, so Accenture has bought quality.
One of the most significant stats that capioIT saw last year was the fact that in April 2014, Cloud Sherpas with then 1,000 employees had more job openings for salesforce skills than a combined IBM, Accenture, Infosys and TCS. Those firms had then 800,000 employees. This outlines the level of disruption that the likes of Cloud Sherpas provided to the services market.
Furthermore the Salesforce SI market was perhaps the only services market globally that had three of the top five ranked providers (Deloitte rounded out the five) as independent cloud specialized providers.
The three providers all came to their position from different angles. For example Bluewolf was the first Salesforce partner, and Cloud Sherpas came to scale through a significant number of acquisitions.
The fact that Cloud Sherpas was snapped up is not a major shock. All three vendors provide scale into the cloud services space, and a different mindset to legacy IT Services providers, particularly those enmeshed in the offshore everything approach.
One key area that Accenture will have to manage is attrition. The cloud only focus of Cloud Sherpas and the kick against the establishment approach of both cloud services providers and Salesforce itself is a factor that may be diminished if the Cloud Sherpas team is treated like the rest of Accenture, and subsequently leave. To be honest, I expect that the acquisition will lead to some more start up services providers in the next couple of years as retention clauses unravel.
Finally, what does it mean for the remaining “born cloud” providers. Firstly, their price is now a bit higher than it was yesterday. The potential list of suitors for the remaining two providers is easy to develop. IBM, NTT Data, Fujitsu, Infosys, TCS et al are all relative subscale in the space and need to do something quickly if they are to retain leadership. If discussions are not underway, then they will be regardless of how much the remaining independents seek to remain independent. In the modern world, every investor has a price.
If you require further information, please contact Phil Hassey, Founder capioIT. capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology as the world becomes Digital. Phil may be contacted by email below,