IBM has announced plans to acquire Salesforce specialist consulting business Bluewolf, which will bolster the Global Business Services Interactive Experience (iX) department.
IBM iX, marketed as a next-generation hybrid consultancy and digital agency, has been bolstering its ranks in recent months, as the Bluewolf deal is set to be the fourth since the turn of the year. In January the business bought US ad agency Resource/Ammirati, February saw the purchase of Berlin-based digital agency Aperto and earlier this month the acquisition of ecx.io, another digital marketing agency, was announced. While previous deals have taken IBM iX down the route of digital marketing and advertising, the Bluewolf deal takes the department back down more traditional IBM routes.
While it has not been announced when the deal will be completed, IBM hopes the deal will provide an edge in the market for medium-sized businesses and enterprise scale organizations. Bluewolf, which specializes in helping companies integrate Salesforce’s CRM services into their IT systems, is believed to be one of Salesforce’s oldest consulting partners, claiming to have delivered more than 9,500 successful worldwide.
“I’m so proud of Eric (Eric Berridge, Bluewolf CEO), who built Bluewolf from a start-up into a leader in Salesforce services,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, Salesforce. “The powerful combination of our strategic partners, IBM and Bluewolf, will help clients transform and demonstrate the growing client demand for our Customer Success Platform.”
IBM said the acquisition of Bluewolf would give the Global Business Services division deeper consulting capabilities, as it continues efforts to differentiate the brand in a crowded market place. “There is no question that the consumer-grade experience has emerged as a fundamental element in modern business strategy,” said Bridget van Kralingen, SVP at IBM Global Business Services. “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.”
The series of acquisitions seemingly build on the trends more demanding customers and evolving consumer expectations on the digital landscape. An IBM survey stated 81% of C-suite leaders anticipate more digital and virtual engagement by 2020 and 66% anticipate a stronger focus on customers as individuals. It would appear IBM is attempting to get a jump-start on competitors through strategic acquisition, as opposed to organic growth and transformation.