IBM Acquires Cloud Consulting Specialist Bluewolf - InformationWeek
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3/31/2016
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IBM Acquires Cloud Consulting Specialist Bluewolf

The acquisition of Bluewolf pairs cloud services and strategic consulting with IBM's expertise in experience design, mobility, and cognitive solutions. Financial details were not released.

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IBM is acquiring global strategic Salesforce consulting partner Bluewolf Group in an effort to extend the company's cloud services capabilities.

Bluewolf, a consulting firm and a Salesforce Global Strategic Partner with operations in five countries, has been an expert in Salesforce for over 15 years and the firm boasts of completing over 9,500 successful Salesforce projects.

IBM, which has been struggling in the cloud market as Amazon Web Services continues to dominate, made the announcement March 31. The two companies did not disclose financial details, although the acquisition is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of this year.

However, Re/Code quoting an unnamed source, estimates the deal is close to $200 million.

(Image: joel-t/iStockphoto)

(Image: joel-t/iStockphoto)

Bluewolf will join IBM's existing Interactive Experience (iX) practice of its Global Business Services to form a deeper consulting capability for clients adopting Salesforce technologies.

IBM's iX is a hybrid consultancy and digital agency dedicated to creating experiences that connect data with design, and that develop personalized customer experiences. The agency's services span industry strategy, creative, design, scalable digital, commerce, mobile, and wearable platforms.

As part of iX, Bluewolf will continue to develop solutions around Salesforce industry implementations, with a foundation based on Bluewolf's library of industry-specific assets, accelerators, and expertise in the financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, higher education, public sector, and new media sectors.

"There is no question that the consumer-grade experience has emerged as a fundamental element in modern business strategy," Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services, wrote in a statement about the acquisition. "Meeting that expectation defines next-generation differentiation and competitive position, and with Bluewolf we add expertise to scale that capability to the cloud-based capabilities of Salesforce."

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The acquisition follows more consolidation in the cloud market as companies such as Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and others continue to look for a competitive advantage. In October, Accenture bought Cloud Sherpas, a specialist in cloud advisory and technology services focusing on Google, Salesforce, and ServiceNow.

For IBM, the acquisition will marry its own software and infrastructure capabilities to Bluewolf's unique position as a provider of Salesforce services to businesses. It's yet another attempt by Big Blue to get away from its traditional spheres and move deeper into cloud.

"In 2001, Bluewolf became Salesforce's first consulting services partner and today continues to occupy a unique position within the Salesforce consulting ecosystem as one of its most strategic and successful pure-play partners," Eric Berridge, Bluewolf's CEO wrote in a statement.

"We have since expanded our business model, market experience, and incredible talent across the world for companies of all sizes and industries. Now, I believe we have the perfect alliance as part of the IBM iX team -- equally sharing our passion, discipline and desire to be a global leader in the Salesforce partner ecosystem with the scale, skills, and expertise of IBM iX to catapult us there."

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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