Accenture Exec: Google Enterprise Push Will Accelerate With Cloud Sherpas Acquisition

Accenture is setting its sights on driving Google deeper into the enterprise market with its acquisition this week of cloud services superstar Cloud Sherpas, the managing director of Accenture's Cloud First Applications division told CRN.

"Google is a very strategic focus for us, because we see the opportunity where Google for Work is going to get an increasing fraction of the enterprise," said Saideep Raj, who will be overseeing the 1,100-strong cloud services team from Cloud Sherpas once the acquisition is finalized.

The $30 billion systems integration behemoth has, on its own, already embedded Google in its Accenture Cloud Platform alongside Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, said Raj. "We see Google as a great enabler," he said.

[Related: Blockbuster Buy: Accenture Snaps Up Cloud Sherpas, Sets Its Sights On Cloud Growth]

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The Cloud Sherpas deal makes Accenture, already the top partner in the world, the No. 1 Google global partner. Cloud Sherpas -- No. 3 on CRN's 2015 Fast Growth list, with a 289 percent two-year growth rate -- won the Google for Work Partner of the Year award an unprecedented four times, from 2011-2014.

The deal comes as Google is pivoting its channel focus to just a few large partners to fight its productivity suite war with Microsoft. In fact, with a new $500,000 minimum in new business to qualify for the Google's top-tier partner rank, one source estimated, the number of Google Premier partners will be reduced from as many as 100 to about 10 large global partners.

Raj said the deal has provided Accenture with a cloud services growth engine. "We don't want to mess with that," he said. "We think that is going to be incredibly important for our growth, especially with the newer innovations that are coming on the scene."

Even as Accenture steps up its cloud services offensive, the systems integrator is not sacrificing its long-standing relationships with legacy providers including Microsoft, said Raj. "With Microsoft, that business has been growing," he said. "But that hasn't prevented us from growing across the ecosystem," he said.

The Cloud Sherpas acquisition comes with more Accenture customers than ever before "proactively" looking to move to the cloud, with the company's Cloud First Applications Division leading the charge, said Raj. "Cloud Sherpas is coming in and complementing our capabilities," he said.

Cloud Sherpas CEO David Northington, for his part, told CRN that the company has been supplying Google and its other cloud solutions in the heart of the enterprise market. He said the Google for Work suite provides enterprises with an ideal collaborative environment to bring together teams of employees working together in different groups around the globe. "Documents are easily collaborated on and easily shared," he said. "It is quite a productivity increase."

Cloud Sherpas rapidly grew from what was essentially a three-man shop out of Atlanta eight years ago to a global powerhouse by being among the vanguard of solution providers to focus their energies exclusively on bringing to market cloud solutions, starting with Google.

The born-in-the-cloud company’s founders recognized early on the potential of the Google Apps suite of cloud-based office productivity tools, giving them a head start in a nascent market that would explode in the coming years.

The relationship with Google that it forged in the early days of the Internet giant’s enterprise push would be a boon for the company as it expanded, with Google’s internal sales teams directing some of its largest accounts to the reseller.

Cloud Sherpas merged with GlobalOne in 2012 to become a major force in the Salesforce ecosystem. The acquisition of Navigis established a large ServiceNow practice, and other acquisitions helped the company grow rapidly in overseas markets.

Joseph Tsidulko contributed to this story.