Accenture, the worldwide consulting company, announced today it was buying Cloud Sherpas, a firm that specializes in helping companies incorporate cloud services like Salesforce.com, Google and ServiceNow into the enterprise.
Accenture did not disclose the purchase price.
It’s not a coincidence that this announcement came as Dreamforce, the enormous Salesforce.com customer conference, is taking place in San Francisco this week. The acquisition actually has a lot do with Salesforce consulting services.
Accenture already has a team of more than 2700 consultants devoted to helping with Salesforce integration. They will be adding 500 additional Salesforce experts with the Cloud Sherpas deal.
“The context is Accenture has been driving a cloud first agenda in response to clients focusing on the cloud increasingly as a platform to fuel transformation,” Saideep Raj, global managing director at Accenture told TechCrunch. The deal certainly helps expand the Salesforce consulting team, but it’s more than that, Raj said.
Cloud Sherpas also brings experience with Google as Google’s largest consulting partner and ServiceNow, a company that Accenture is seeing embedded in an increasing number of enterprise processes where service is a key component.
Cloud Sherpas, has been around since 2007 and has grown into a worldwide consultancy with over 1100 employees, who will now be part of Accenture. As soon as the deal closes. They will join the newly created Accenture Cloud First Applications team.
If cloud computing is supposed to simplify computing, you may wonder why it would require a consulting team to help implement cloud solutions, and that’s a legitimate question. Companies moving to the cloud have lots of issues around digitization and transformation, and working with existing legacy applications alongside cloud applications. There are also issues of more complex custom integrations with a product as sophisticated as Salesforce.
That’s where Cloud Sherpas comes into play. While Accenture has also been helping companies make this move to the cloud, even before the acquisition, this gives them a huge team of experienced consultants to expand that consulting unit with one stroke of a pen on a check.
Cloud Sherpas formed at a time when the idea of Software as a Service in the enterprise was just beginning to develop as a mainstream concept. While Salesforce.com launched in 1999, many of today’s biggest cloud companies weren’t even around at that point. It was a company well ahead of the market need in that regard.
“We saw several things [in 2007] including demand from users of technology, not just as it relates to corporate transactions, but enabling the user experiences around mobile technology. The cloud was uniquely suited to this and we thought it was going to take off and resonate with users,” David Northington, Cloud Sherpas CEO said.
Over the years, the cloud services have gotten better, and the projects have grown increasingly sophisticated. Northington says that as part of Accenture, that should only accelerate.
Today, there is all kinds of complexity in spite of the cloud notion of simplicity. If you’re integrating enterprise cloud service into an existing enterprise stack, it sometimes takes help. For instance, companies working with Salesforce Wave, the company’s analytics platform might need help connecting to the various data sources and create the kinds of custom reports a company might need.
But it’s more than helping implement a single service, it’s about stitching together a range of services from a single vendor like Salesforce or across services, and that’s where this combination could really shine, Raj explained.
Cloud Sherpas has raised over $63 million, according to Crunchbase.