Giant systems integrator Accenture is acquiring Cloud Sherpas, one of fastest-growing and most respected cloud solution providers in the world.
The deal provides the US$30 billion company with one of the largest Salesforce.com and Google cloud application provider businesses in the world.
"Accenture is the cake and Cloud Sherpas is the cloud opportunity frosting," said Martin Wolf, president of Martin Wolf M&A Advisors, Walnut Creek, California, one of the top channel investment advisory dealmakers in North America.
"Strategically this makes a lot of sense for Accenture. It is a very glamorous, very strategic and very forward-thinking deal. Clearly, what Accenture is doing is hedging their bets as the market moves more toward cloud services. They will have a foot in both camps."
More than 1,100 employees from Cloud Sherpas will become part of Accenture's new Cloud First Applications team following the completion of the deal.
Cloud Sherpas has an Australian headquarters in Sydney, having acquired its way into this market through the purchase of DevNet in 2011.
The company focuses on delivering cloud services for Salesforce, ServiceNow, Google, Workday and NetSuite as well as other "pure-play" technologies. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The deal adds another 500 Salesforce.com certified experts to Accenture, the premier global Salesforce.com provider with more than 2,700 certified Salesforce.com professionals.
Accenture revealed the deal to coincide with the first day of Salesforce.com's blockbuster Dreamforce 2015 conference in San Francisco. Accenture is the exclusive diamond sponsor of Dreamforce.
Salesforce.com president Keith Block, for his part, called the joining together of the two companies "proof positive" of the success of the Salesforce.com model.
The deal strikes at the heart of the differences between the traditional systems integrator outsourcing model, where hundred million-dollar, multi-year global enterprise deals are standard fare, and the off-premise cloud services recurring revenue model with much lower-priced, shorter-term subscription-based deals with business units.
"Cloud Sherpas is a high-flyer and fast grower in an extremely desirable market," said M&A expert Wolf. "This shouldn't be surprising to anybody. This is a reinforcement of the fact that the more product-centric your business is as a solution provider, the more focus you need on growth and earnings. It is a cash-flow business."
The acquisition of Cloud Sherpas further expands Accenture's cloud capabilities, improving its ability to deliver cloud services across both established and emerging platforms, moving the tech giant closer to its goal of becoming the industry's largest enterprise cloud company.
“We’ve reached a tipping point in cloud as our clients rapidly adopt cloud solutions,” said Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty in a prepared statement.
“Accenture’s cloud first agenda is a game-changer that offers transformational cloud services to help clients move their businesses to the cloud and achieve significant business results more quickly. I look forward to welcoming the talented professionals of Cloud Sherpas to Accenture.”
The Accenture acquisition follows a number of similar, high-profile acquisitions in Australia in the past few years. Only two weeks ago, KPMG announced the purchase of Sydney Microsoft Dynamics partner Hands-On Systems.
It was just on one many takeovers by a "Big Four" accouting firm in the Australian IT sector.