Top-tier consultants, SIs pursue IT services acquisitions

M&A activity remains hot in the IT services sector -- with Cognizant, McKinsey, Accenture and IBM revealing new acquisitions over the last 10 days; more IT channel news.

The pace of IT services acquisitions, rekindled in the second half of 2020, shows no signs of slowing.

While a spate of MSP platform transactions in recent months has brought together small to midsize companies, some of the largest consulting and systems integration houses also remain active buyers. Here's a roundup of deals that have emerged in the past 10 days.

  • Cognizant, a $16.8 billion IT services company based in Teaneck, N.J., this week agreed to acquire Magenic Technologies Inc., a custom software development services firm with headquarters in Minneapolis. According to Cognizant, Magenic offers Agile software and cloud development, DevOps, experience design and advisory services. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, at which point Magenic personnel will join Cognizant Softvision, the company's software development operation. The acquisition would be Cognizant's third in 2021 and the 12th it has disclosed since January 2020. Recent Cognizant targets include 10th Magnitude, a cloud consultant specializing in Microsoft Azure.
  • McKinsey & Co., one of the big three management consulting firms, acquired Candid Partners, an Atlanta-based cloud services company that partners with AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft. Candid Partners employs more than 100 senior technical experts and its Matter platform "assists in planning, provisioning and managing cloud security compliance," according to a McKinsey blog post.
  • Accenture, a $44.3 billion professional services company, purchased Wolox, a cloud-native and agile development company based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Wolox focuses on digital business design, product creation and agile squads. The addition expands the global range of Accenture Cloud First, a $3 billion initiative to integrate cloud migration, infrastructure and application services expertise.
  • IBM, a $77.1 billion IT vendor with a significant services orientation, acquired 7Summits, a Salesforce consultancy. The deal "extends IBM's portfolio of Salesforce services," according to IBM. In 2016, IBM acquired Salesforce channel partner Blue Wolf, which now operates as Bluewolf, an IBM company.

Claremont books Oracle EBS 12.2 upgrade projects

Claremont, an Oracle MSP based in the United Kingdom, said it is booked through mid-2021 with customers upgrading from Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1 to the product's 12.2 release.

The flurry of upgrades stems from Oracle's December 2021 deadline, when the vendor will cease premier support for EBS R12.1. MSPs are helping clients along the upgrade path, a process that could take up to a year. Claremont in September 2020 launched an R12.2 upgrade center, offering upgrade assessments and migration services. Many upgrade customers have moved beyond the initial assessments, committing to completing R12.2 upgrades this year.

Mark VivianMark Vivian

With the first half of 2021 fully subscribed, more upgrades will fall into place during the second half of the year. "We … are still talking to quite a number of prospects who are looking to upgrade," Claremont CEO Mark Vivian said.

Some organizations, however, might not be prepared to meet the end-of-support deadline. For those customers, Claremont is now offering fourth-line support to bridge the gap until they can migrate.

Nearly half of the customers yet to commit to upgrading are considering a support offering for EBS 12.1 beyond the end of 2021, Vivian said, citing a review of Claremont's sales data.

"Many of these [clients] are still also talking about an upgrade and may still move forward with one this year," he said. "But … there could be a significant proportion that don't."

OpsRamp MSP offerings monitor NetFlow, UC

OpsRamp, a digital operations management platform vendor, has introduced an MSP offering for monitoring NetFlow and unified communications.

MSPs can use OpsRamp NetFlow monitoring to perform network traffic analysis and keep tabs on network latency across WAN links, according to OpsRamp, based in San Jose, Calif. Meanwhile, OpsRamp Unified Communications monitoring provides analysis of user communication collected from UC systems, including Cisco and Avaya, and cloud collaboration offerings such as Zoom.

GreenPages, a hybrid cloud services provider and systems integrator based in Kittery, Maine, uses OpsRamp as the basis for its managed services operations. The company also resells the platform to customers. GreenPages CEO Ron Dupler said the new releases align with the accelerating work-from-home trend. He said many of his knowledge-worker-driven clients have the bulk of their employees working remotely.

NetFlow monitoring "allows people to troubleshoot latency, extending out to the WAN links," Dupler said. He added that the UC offering lets GreenPages gauge the quality of service that workers are getting at home.

Other news

  • Research from Aptum, an MSP and hybrid multi-cloud provider based in Toronto, points to a cloud computing paradox: Organizations view the technology as a security boon and vulnerability at the same time. The second installment of Aptum's four-part cloud survey noted 51% of the 400 senior IT professionals it polled cited security as "the main driver behind cloud adoption." However, 38% of the respondents viewed security and data protection as "the primary barrier to cloud transformation." Part One of Aptum's Cloud Impact Study focused on challenges that organizations face in their cloud adoption journeys.
  • HYCU Inc., a multi-cloud data management company based in Boston, said iSolutions, a premier Google Cloud Partner, joined its Cloud Services Provider Program. HYCU said iSolutions is among the largest integrators in the Middle East and North Africa region.
  • Another international alliance finds SNP Schneider-Neureither & Partner SE, a digital transformation software provider based in Heidelberg, Germany, partnering with Rackspace Technology. The relationship lets Rackspace use SNP's CrystalBridge software to support customers moving their SAP systems to the cloud.
  • SD-WAN and SASE vendor Versa Networks rolled out the Versa Accelerate, Captivate, Engage (ACE) Partner Program. The ACE program targets VARs, systems integrators, service providers and MSPs. The program includes include sales, pre-sales and technical training, as well as discount, sales and marketing benefits for qualifying partners.
  • Pax8, a cloud distributor based in Denver, is offering its North American partners access to Enlyft, a B2B customer intelligence platform. The platform provides lead generation and account-based marketing.
  • Ensono, a hybrid IT services provider based in Chicago, said it has earned Microsoft's Windows Virtual Desktop advanced specialization.
  • Lunavi, an MSP and digital transformation consulting company based in Cheyenne, Wyo., was named a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP for the second consecutive year. Lunavi said it is one of about 85 partners around the world that have that distinction.
  • D&H Distributing, a distributor based in Harrisburg, Pa., is making Acronis Cyber Cloud available through its D&H Cloud Marketplace in a new partnership with the cybersecurity vendor.
  • Cleo, an ecosystem integration company based in Rockford, Ill., appointed Vipin Mittal as vice president of channel sales.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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