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Cloud Sherpas Co-Founder: Accenture Deal Is Chance To Grow Cloud Business At Faster Pace

Cloud Sherpas co-founder and CTO David Hoff says the blockbuster deal opens the door for the two companies to serve more customers with an end-to-end cloud-first portfolio.

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David Hoff

Cloud Sherpas co-founder and CTO David Hoff says the Accenture-Cloud Sherpas merger is a chance to grow at an even faster pace than the cloud services superstar could on its own.

"For us we have been growing at an outstanding rate, but the rate of growth in the cloud is even faster that," said Hoff in an exclusive interview with CRN at The Channel Co.'s Best of Breed Conference. "By joining with Accenture, we can get to that."

Accenture, the $30 billion outsourcing giant that is No. 2 on the 2015 CRN Solution Provider 500, entered into an agreement to acquire Cloud Sherpas, No. 3 on CRN's 2015 Fast Growth list with a 289 percent two-year growth rate, on Sept. 15. The deal is currently being finalized.


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

When the deal closes, Cloud Sherpas, No. 115 on the 2015 CRN Solution Provider 500, will be part of Accenture's newly created Cloud First Applications Team, which delivers cloud services for a number of "pure-play" cloud vendors including Workday, NetSuite, Google, Salesforce.com and ServiceNow.

Before the acquisition, Cloud Sherpas -- one of the largest Google, Salesforce.com and ServiceNow partners -- already was looking at adding Workday, NetSuite and other cloud vendors to its portfolio, said Hoff.

"There is a limited amount of capital as to where you can invest," he said. "For us this is a huge opportunity for when we go to customers to say that we have the breadth of all of these cloud solutions. We can solve the problems truly from your perspective because we know what works."

Cloud Sherpas is a four-time Google For Work Partner of the Year, a Salesforce.com Global Strategic Consulting partner and one of only four ServiceNow Master Partners.

Accenture, for its part, was particularly interested in the disciplined processes that Cloud Sherpas had built to scale the cloud services business. That involves an exacting processes put into place to ensure its team of 1,100 employees are up to speed on month-to-month certification and expertise changes around fast-moving vendors like Google and Salesforce.com.

"We are both Salesforce experts, but we have a process for how we become full Force certified, how we invest in the industry certifications," said Hoff. "They have seen how we get that done, whether it is with the virtual bench, how we recruit and we bring people in, how we manage the certifications, how we manage the industry solutions."

The Cloud Sherpas process for managing the expertise and certifications for its cloud services partners is one of its biggest competitive advantages. "It is not one or two certifications. You have 20 certifications for each individual," he said. "How do we make sure you are getting the support, the project work. There are a lot of components that go into that. You have to look at it on a daily basis."


Hoff said the roots of the blockbuster merger between the two companies resulted from seeing Accenture increasingly play in the cloud services market. "We were starting to bump into each other more and more," he said. "That was one of the things that fueled it. We developed an understanding of where each other's strengths were. And as time progressed it became more and more of a natural fit."

Customers are excited about the potential in bringing the consulting behemoth and the cloud services superstar together, said Hoff. He said customers see the deal as "validation" of the cloud services revolution.

"The customers that I have talked with are excited about it," said Hoff. "Even our big partners -- Salesforce, Google and ServiceNow -- are saying they have been wanting to partner with a company that has this level of agility and this level of expertise. Now it all comes together."

As to his future with Accenture, Hoff said he is looking forward to working with the Accenture team to grow the cloud business. "I love the opportunity to be involved in the evolution of technology," he said. "It is so hard to predict where it is going to be in five years. I have learned that a year is about as much runway as we get. To be so much an integral part of how it is changing and to have access to the biggest and brightest folks at Accenture is huge."

PUBLISHED OCT. 19, 2015

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