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Salesforce consulting services deals go global

Publicis Sapient's buyout of Sapient i7 is the latest acquisition in the increasingly globalized Salesforce consulting services market; more channel news from the week.

Salesforce consulting services continue to take on a global focus with Publicis Sapient acquiring a London-based joint venture it created two years ago.

Publicis Sapient, based in Boston, is the digital transformation business of Paris-based Publicis Groupe. Publicis Sapient in 2016 acquired Vertiba, a Salesforce consulting partner based in Boulder, Colo., and followed that move with the launch of Salesforce consultancy Sapient i7 in 2018. Publicis Sapient has now wholly acquired Sapient i7, which it formed with Tquila Ventures. With the addition of Sapient i7, Publicis Sapient will form a global Salesforce practice.

Jason English, the global Salesforce practice lead, said the acquisition stems from the company's comfort level of having seen the i7 team engage with Salesforce and customers. The timing was also right, given the market growth for Salesforce services.

"We didn't want to wait another year or a few months to make it happen," he said of the acquisition.

The Publicis Sapient transaction follows other deals in the increasingly globalized Salesforce consulting services market. Earlier this month, Infosys, a digital services and consulting firm based in Bengaluru, India, agreed to acquire Simplus, a Salesforce partner based in Salt Lake City.

In addition, AllCloud, a cloud and managed service provider based in Tel Aviv, Israel, plans to expand its North American operations in 2020 through acquisition and organic growth. The company in 2018 acquired Salesforce partner Figur8, with offices in San Francisco, Toronto, New York City and Vancouver, B.C.

Jason English, global Salesforce practice lead, Publicis SapientJason English

The latest round of deals signals the continued growth in demand for Salesforce services.

"The challenge that we have is finding enough delivery capacity in the market to do the work," English said. "That's a problem, but that is the problem you want to have."

The demand for skilled Salesforce personnel has made acquisitions attractive. "It's hard to grow a practice organically," English said.

And while it's challenging to find qualified resources, growing Salesforce consultants internally isn't necessarily easier. Training recent college graduates in the numbers required to meet demand is a difficult and time-consuming task, English said. Acquisitions let service providers bolster their Salesforce businesses at an accelerated pace, he added.

Salesforce consulting's top growth prospects include B2C use cases and business processes, English noted. Companies in a range of industries are looking to improve their knowledge of customers and boost customer engagement. Those drivers spark interest in offerings such as Salesforce's Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, MuleSoft integration software and Customer 360, he said.

AllCloud targets Salesforce Lightning migration

AllCloud has unveiled its Lightning Migration Assessment service for Salesforce customers.

Salesforce Lightening, the SaaS provider's platform-wide upgrade, debuted in 2015. But numerous customers have continued with Salesforce Classic. Salesforce on Jan. 7 flipped the switch on Lightning for all organizations that hadn't previously enabled it. According to AllCloud, customers can still use Salesforce Classic but may not be able to tap new features.

Peter Nebel, vice president of strategy and practice development at AllCloud, said 30% to 40% of the company's customers have yet to move to Lightning. He said the yet-to-migrate group represents a strong business opportunity for AllCloud.

"Customers understand that migration is a process that requires thoughtful consideration and management, which is why many have taken a measured approach," Nebel said.

He said customers are now moving to the new platform to take advantage of Lightning-only features and tools that "maximize efficiency and value."

In general, AllCloud is seeing demand for a range of Salesforce services.

"Among larger companies, we've been doing a lot of work around Salesforce CPQ, Marketing Cloud and Consumer Goods Cloud," Nebel said. "Smaller companies are taking advantage of our managed services and integration to NetSuite ERP."

ConvergeOne expands managed SD-WAN service 

ConvergeOne, an IT services provider of collaboration and technology offerings based in Bloomington, Minn., has expanded its SD-WAN lineup with the addition of Cisco Viptela.

The new SD-WAN managed service combines SD-WAN and security technology from Cisco and ConvergeOne's ITIL-based managed services. The Viptela-based service joins ConvergeOne's current Cisco Meraki-based SD-WAN managed service offering.

Some service providers have launched demo labs in which customers can assess SD-WAN technology options. ConvergeOne operates a Validation Center, which lets customers test and integrate offerings in a live environment, according to the company.

Trustwave launches Palo Alto Prisma Cloud services

Trustwave, a managed security services provider based in Chicago, took the wraps off a new line of consulting and security services for Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud.

Trustwave said it uses Prisma Cloud to bolster its threat monitoring and management of customer workloads across private and public clouds such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. Mattias Deny, vice president of managed security services for EMEA at Trustwave, said the Prisma Cloud service portfolio targets all markets.

"One could assume the larger, more mature companies are targeted, but we see the offering resonating at all companies of various sizes, hundreds of seats and up," he said.

Keyfactor rolls out channel partner program

Keyfactor, a digital identity management vendor, launched a new global channel program, the Keyfactor Partner Network.

The program is built around Keyfactor's certificate lifecycle management platform and will look to recruit solutions providers, referral partners, strategic OEMs, distributors and systems integrators. Through the program, partners can access resources and support such education, deal registration and market development funds.

BJ Ferguson, senior director of global channel sales and operations at KeyfactorBJ Ferguson

"It is a simple program. We want companies and partners to be able to come into the program and learn about Keyfactor and be able to represent that to customers as easily as possible," said BJ Ferguson, senior director of global channel sales and operations at Keyfactor, based in Independence, Ohio.

The launch of the new partner program marks a shift in Keyfactor's go-to-market strategy, Ferguson said. The vendor had previously worked with partners on an opportunistic basis. "There was ... no structure built around how we onboard [channel partners], how we get them up to speed, how we enable ... partners to get them to get the word out about Keyfactor," he said.

He said opportunities for Keyfactor partners are partly being driven by a widening gap in PKI and digital certificate expertise. "Since PKI and digital certificates are an old baseline foundational technology, a lot of the expertise around that within [customer] organizations are retiring or moving on," Ferguson said. "And the ones that do have expertise in this area are extremely expensive."

According to a survey by Keyfactor and the Ponemon Institute that polled 603 IT and security professionals, 38% of respondents said they have enough IT security staff members dedicated to PKI deployments.

Ferguson also pointed to the company's Keyfactor Control platform, which offers security to IoT device manufacturers, as a partner opportunity. "That's a huge area of growth for Keyfactor," he said.

The Keyfactor Partner Network will continue to expand its channel resources this year. "We will have a formal certification program that is going to be coming out in the next few months. We haven't gotten there yet. It is kind of a 'crawl, walk, run' type of scenario," Ferguson said.

Barracuda: Cloud security still a concern

Security concerns continue to inhibit cloud adoption, according to a survey from Barracuda Networks, a data and network security company. Seventy percent of the 750 decision-makers polled said security concerns restrict their organization's public cloud adoption. The result runs counter to a recent survey that depicted security as a reason for adopting cloud, rather than an obstacle.

"It is true that security is not as high a concern as it was in the early days of cloud," said Fleming Shi, CTO at Barracuda. "There is more trust built as cloud adoption grows. However, the survey clearly indicates that security is still the No. 1 concern preventing an even faster growth in cloud adoption."

Shi said cloud providers' offerings, despite investments in native security services, continue to lack advanced security features, as well as multi-cloud and hybrid cloud functionality that most enterprises need. As a result, 95% of survey respondents are looking to third-party providers for help with public cloud security, according to Shi.

Other news

  • Enterprises are adopting emerging technologies such as AI and IoT in increasing numbers, but many may not be realizing the anticipated benefits. A survey from Logicalis, an IT solutions provider based in New York, revealed that while 61% of the CIOs polled cited use of IoT, only 9% of them believe their organizations have benefited from deploying the technology.
  • Yorktel, a managed services solutions provider based in Eatontown, N.J., has acquired the business assets of Video Corporation of America, an AV integration, digital signage and unified communications service provider, also based in New Jersey.
  • Lifesize, a provider of cloud-based video conferencing services and integrated equipment, has signed Synnex Corp. as a master agent and identified Connection as the first agent under the restructured relationship. Lifesize, based in Austin, Texas, cited the relationship as signaling the company's shift toward a "partner commission-centric model in the U.S." That shift will begin to phase in for distributors, resellers and managed service providers as of March 1.
  • Cloud storage company Wasabi Technologies introduced a pricing model for buying a reserved amount of cloud storage at a fixed price for 1-year, 3-year or 5-year terms. The new Reserved Capacity Storage pricing lets channel partners sell cloud storage capacity as a SKU, Wasabi said.
  • Carahsoft Technology Corp., a government IT solutions provider based in Reston, Va., added PencilData's Chainkit product to its roster of offerings, a PencilData spokesperson said.
  • SolarWinds launched a partner advocacy program that will provide training, resources and consultative sessions for MSPs. The program, SolarWinds Head Nerds, aims to help MSPs understand business growth areas such as security, automation and operations.
  • Snyk, an open source security company, unveiled a global channel program for security-focused partners. The company's partner roster includes Optiv Security, GuidePoint Security and Trace3.
  • Heather Margolis, founder and CEO of Channel Maven Consulting, released a channel marketing automation platform for boosting vendor-partner lead-generation efforts. Dubbed Spark Your Channel, the platform lets partners personalize and share vendor-provided multimedia content, including webinars, podcasts and video, according to Margolis.
  • D&H Distributing, a distributor based in Harrisburg, Pa., unveiled programs that aim to boost adoption of Lenovo's computing offerings among nonregistered and Authorized/Silver registered Lenovo partners. Lenovo's product line includes thin clients, notebooks and workstations.
  • Security vendor Netwrix said it updated its partner resources. The updates include new web-based demos of Netwrix Auditor and Data Classification products; a partner portal with access to sales, marketing and technical enablement tools; and additional customer onboarding tools.
  • Pricefx, a vendor of cloud-based pricing software, has launched a "collaborative ecosystem" for pricing strategists, experts, integrators and ISVs.
  • Security-as-a-service provider Cygilant entered a joint partnership with cybersecurity startup Barac.
  • CoreDial, a white-label communications services provider, rolled out an integration with ConnectWise. The integration lets CoreDial partners synchronize data between CoreNexa Account Manager and ConnectWise Manage professional services automation software.
  • US Signal, a data center services provider based in Grand Rapids, Mich., said it will open its Greater Detroit data center on March 1 in Van Buren Township, Mich.
  • MSP360, a backup and disaster recovery vendor, has moved its headquarters from Lewes, Del., to Pittsburgh. In other news, the company said it plans to launch an MSP University by the second quarter of 2020.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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