Category Archives: Cloud Sherpas

Accenture to buy Cloud Sherpas to help enterprise clients navigate the cloud

Accenture is to acquire advisory firm Cloud Sherpas, for an undisclosed fee, in a bid to beef up its cloud consultancy as more enterprises seek help with their hybrid computing strategies.

If concluded, the takeover will add 1,100 new staff to Accenture’s newly created Cloud First Applications team, which helps enterprises make their first moves towards a shared computing model.

Atlanta-based Cloud Sherpas has a similar mission statement, offering to guide enterprises through their cloud migrations. Since its creation in 2007 it has grown a global presence with offices in Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and the UK. With its main focus on helping companies to adopt off-premise software-as-a-service (SaaS) systems, its major technology partnerships are with Google, Salesforce and ServiceNow.

Cloud Sherpas has been recognised as a Salesforce Global Strategic Consulting Partner and is one of four ServiceNow Master Partners in the world. It has won Google’s Work Partner of the Year on four occasions.

Accenture, one of Salesforce’s first global partners, currently has 2,700 certified professionals. The acquisition of Cloud Sherpas could bring a further 500 certified professionals to its team. It claims to run 13,000 cloud computing projects, with a clientele that includes three-quarters of the Fortune Global 100. It has a total of 17,000 cloud computing professionals.

“Cloud Sherpas was born in the cloud and we are perfectly aligned with Accenture’s cloud first agenda,” said Cloud Sherpas’ CEO David Northington, “The new organisation should prove a good fit for Accenture’s cloud first push.”

Accenture needs the new intake in order to keep up with the rapid pace of cloud adoption by enterprises, according to Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer of Accenture: “We’ve reached a tipping point as our clients rapidly adopt cloud systems.”

Salesforce president Keith Block welcomed the combination of the firm’s two strategic partners. “It’s proof positive of the momentum around our customer success platform,” said Block.

Cloud Competition: Microsoft Cuts Prices, Adds Platform

Guest Post by Sharon Shapiro of Cloud Sherpas

Although it only entered the cloud computing market in July 2011, Microsoft has already made a name for itself with Office 365, its hybrid cloud solution available to businesses.  But despite its initial climb, Microsoft has yet to catch up to Google when it comes to cloud computing.

Google has worked as a cloud service provider, with its fully-based cloud solution Google Apps, since 2006.  Google offers customers four different cloud computing platforms (business, education, government, and non-profit) and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, including service and updates, that it regularly exceeds.  In contrast, Office 365 is currently available only for businesses and has had issues meeting its promised 99.9% uptime, which does not include service and updates.  Google Apps pricing is also much lower than Office 365 pricing, with the highest priced Google Apps platform (business) operating at $50/user/year and the lowest Office 365 plan operating at $72/user/year.  But a lot of that is about to change as Microsoft has announced news that it hopes will bridge the gap.

First, Microsoft recently announced that it will be cutting the price of Office 365 by up to 20 percent.  Microsoft says this is because it now costs less to run the hybrid cloud platform than it did when Microsoft first introduced Office 365 last July.

Second, Microsoft says it will soon add a new plan – Office 365 for Education – which will widen the customer base.  The release of Office 365 is clearly an attempt to compete with the success of Google Apps’ free education platform.

Although lowering its prices and adding a plan for educational institutions are steps toward competing with Google Apps, Microsoft still has a big gap to close.  Google Apps will still boast more platforms (government and non-profit, in addition to the free version that many people use in their personal lives) and five more years of experience in the cloud.  With this greater experience, comes enhanced cloud service, as Google Apps is a fully cloud-based solution that offers its users complete universal access and proven reliability.  In contrast, it is important to remember that Office 365 is still a hybrid cloud solution that requires on premises servers and that, when it comes to document creating capabilities, works best in conjunction with Microsoft Office installed on a desktop.  Both of these necessities limit the mobile access that Office 365 users can enjoy.   Additionally, Office 365 has already been plagued with a number of outages that have resulted in significant amounts of downtime for users across the world.

These key differences between Office 365 and Google Apps may be part of the reason why the governments of major cities, like Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, trust Google Apps for their communication needs.

While Microsoft’s price cut and addition of an education plan will definitely improve the Office 365 cloud suite, these changes will certainly not put Microsoft and Google on an even playing field, as Google still boasts more authority, reliability, and a wider range of services.