SAP skills, cloud development expertise in demand

IT services firms Pythian and Ensono have gone the acquisition route to build out their respective SAP and cloud-native development practices; other news.

The latest round of acquisitions in the IT services sector reveals demand for SAP skills and cloud-native development.

Pythian Services Inc., a cloud services company based in Ottawa with U.S. operations in New York, this week acquired ManageServe, an SAP application hosting, implementation and managed services company based in Lake Zurich, Ill.

The deal follows other recent developments in the global SAP services market.

  • In March, Sapphire Systems, a New York-based SAP and Infor ERP provider, purchased In Cloud Solutions, an SAP Business ByDesign partner based in the U.K.
  • In February, SNP Schneider-Neureither & Partner acquired a majority stake in EXA AG, combining two SAP software and services specialists based in Heidelberg, Germany.

Pursuing SAP skills

Keith Angell, CEO at Pythian, said the addition of ManageServe will significantly extend the SAP practice Pythian started in 2020. Prior to the acquisition, Pythian partnered with Chicago-based ManageServe for a year "to test the culture and see how we would operate together," he added.

The combination lets Pythian focus on four SAP services:

  • Professional services and consulting to optimize, upgrade and integrate SAP environments, whether on premises or in the cloud;
  • Managed services, including security, service-level agreement guarantees and disaster recovery;
  • Migration services to move SAP workloads to the public cloud or SAP's cloud; and
  • Analytics capabilities to mine databases connected to SAP.

Interest in SAP skills has grown as more of the enterprise software vendor's workloads move to the cloud. That shift has lagged other applications, Angell suggested.

Keith AngellKeith Angell

"SAP is one of the largest, most mission-critical workloads in major enterprises," he said. "It is so complex and … touches every piece of most corporations. It has been one of the last workloads to migrate to the cloud."

Pythian and other cloud services companies, however, have accumulated the experience necessary to safely migrate and manage such applications on cloud infrastructure, Angell noted.

In addition, public cloud providers now build architectures tuned to run SAP. "I think all of the major cloud vendors -- Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM and Alibaba -- are looking at SAP workloads," Angell said.

Gathering cloud development talent

Meanwhile, in the cloud market, Ensono, a digital transformation and cloud services provider based in Downers Grove, Ill., has acquired Amido, a consulting firm based in the U.K. that provides software engineering services for cloud-based applications.

The Ensono-Amido deal follows an acquisition trend of "third-wave" cloud consultants boosting their software skills and repeatable offerings. For example, professional services firm Accenture last month agreed to purchase Stockholm-based Cygni, a cloud-native software development firm.

Alan WalshAlan Walsh

Ensono's Amido purchase extends its "ability to create and support client applications that are purpose-built in the cloud," according to a company statement. Amido's core services include building microservices applications for AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, said Amido CEO Alan Walsh.

The company's offerings extend beyond development, however. Walsh said Amido also focuses on identity and access management, data lakes and other data platforms, and "augmented intelligence" services that transform data into formats that business can use to support decision-making. The company also integrates cloud-native applications with customers' line-of-business systems.

Amido hasn't traditionally offered managed services, focusing instead on data engineering and software development. Through Ensono's services, Amido can now operate customers' systems once they're deployed, Walsh said.

The transaction also lets Amido extend its reach in Europe and the U.S.

Channel program launches and updates

  • Semperis, a Hoboken, N.J., company that provides Active Directory (AD) security and disaster recovery offerings, launched a channel program for resellers and distributors. The Vigilance Channel Program includes free use of Semperis' AD security assessment tool, a margins-based commission structure, partner education, and qualified lead and opportunity registration via a partner portal. The company said it has committed to a 100% channel sales model.
  • Bitdefender, a cybersecurity company based in Bucharest, Romania, expanded its Partner Advantage Network. The company said the program offers improved incumbency protection during the customer renewal phase; new revenue opportunities with Bitdefender's endpoint detection and response offering; an updated partner portal providing access to sales and marketing content and tools; and a new e-learning platform. Bitdefender's roster of active channel partners grew 21% in 2020, the company said.
  • AgileBlue, a security operations center (SOC) as a service and software company based in Cleveland, signed up 15 channel partners for its white-label SOC platform. In addition, the company said it raised capital from an investor group and appointed Kevin MacDonald, previously CEO at Black Mountain Systems (now Allvue), to its board of directors.
  • Lookout Inc., a cybersecurity company based in San Francisco, relaunched its channel partner program following its acquisition of CipherCloud. The company said it simplified the program's structure to two partner tiers: Select and Elite. Elite-level partners will have access to increased discounts on registered deals, market development funds, and technical and sales training. Other benefits for Elite partners include additional revenue streams from consulting and professional services, the company said. The revised partner program also includes an updated portal and Lookout Partner Academy, slated to launch later this spring.
  • Cybereason, a cybersecurity platform provider based in Boston, unveiled a North American channel program for managed security services providers (MSSPs). Stephan Tallent, vice president of MSSPs for North America, will oversee MSSP growth, the company said. Cybereason hired Tallent, who was a senior director of MSSP at Fortinet, in February 2021.
  • Samsung revamped its Ascend Partner Portal with separate interfaces for partners who sell the company's mobile products, display products or both. The portal also includes a loyalty points program that offers points for activities such as submitting deal registrations and completing training certifications.
  • Ten technology companies launched the Digital Workforce Ecosystem Alliance to provide education and other resources for remote and hybrid work. Members include Cameyo, AppCure, DeviceTrust,, Fortinium, IGEL, Login VSI, PolicyPak, Tehama and Tricerat. Channel feedback influenced the alliance's creation, according to a spokesperson for Cameyo. Partners cited confusion in the market regarding the various digital workspace technologies, the spokesperson said.

Other news

  • Sixty percent of C-suite executives said they plan to increase hiring in the second quarter, while 33% anticipate little to no change, according to a West Monroe survey. The Chicago-based business and technology consulting firm polled 150 executives at U.S. companies with more than $250 million in revenue. Another sign of economic recovery comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported a non-farm payroll employment increase of 916,000 in March. The March unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6% from 6.2% in February.
  • Accenture acquired Core Compete, a cloud analytics services company based in Durham, N.C. Core Compete's client base spans the U.S. and U.K., focusing on supply chain, retail and financial services.
  • In other Accenture news, the company partnered with Goodwill Industries International to create a virtual reality offering that aims to help people who have been formerly incarcerated enter the workforce. The immersive technology provides practice interviews with an HR manager and coaching sessions with a career counselor, according to Goodwill. The immersive technology category ranks among the top anticipated technology trends for 2021.
  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said it appointed Carahsoft Technology Corp. as its U.S. distributor for hybrid IT products in the state, local and education (SLED) market. The SLED distribution pact is limited to hybrid IT products and does not include Aruba Networks products, HPE noted.
  • Liquid Web, a managed hosting and managed application services company based in Lansing, Mich., partnered with cloud security vendor Threat Stack to launch a managed intrusion detection offering. Liquid Web provides Threat Stack Oversight to customers as an add-on or within bundled services.
  • MSPs in North America can now purchase Datto Commerce, which provides quoting, sales and procurement functions. The offering, which became commercially available April 5, stems from Datto's July 2020 acquisition of Gluh, an Australian company.
  • Deepwatch, an MSSP based in Denver, appointed Christy Lynch as CMO. Lynch joins the company from Checkmarx, where she was vice president of communications and customer experience.
  • American Virtual Cloud Technologies Inc., a cloud communications and IT service provider based in Atlanta, hired Louis J. Hutchinson, III as its chief growth officer. Hutchinson was previously chief revenue officer at WGL Holdings.
  • GreenLink Networks, a VoIP services provider, named Larry Meador as its channel manager. Meador will focus on managing and developing GreenLink's MSP partnerships in the U.S., the company said. Meador joins GreenLink from CNET Content Solutions, where he was senior solutions manager.

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