CRN Exclusive: Accenture Ditches Midsize G Suite Customers, Driving Business To Regional VARs

Accenture, the consulting giant that became a powerhouse in Google's channel with its 2015 acquisition of Cloud Sherpas, has dropped its G Suite practice for non-enterprise customers, driving much of that business to regional VARs.

Accenture told CRN Wednesday that it no longer made business sense to renew G Suite licenses for its smaller customers. Instead, the global systems integrator has been referring customers of the popular cloud-based office productivity suite to Google.

"Based on an ongoing assessment of our Google business, we are connecting smaller business customers directly with Google for help with their product licenses in the future," an Accenture spokesperson told CRN via email.

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"Managing these licenses is no longer a fit for our business model," the Accenture spokesperson said.

A Google Cloud spokesperson told CRN Google will lean on other partners to avoid any disruption for former Accenture customers.

"Google will continue to support our small business customers through our robust partner ecosystem focused on this market," the Google spokesperson said.

Accenture was recognized in 2016 as Google's Global Sales and Services Partner of the Year, and in each of the five preceding years, Cloud Sherpas won Google's award for its top enterprise partner.

"Accenture is firmly committed to our Google alliance and helping deliver greater value from Google technologies. Accenture is still committed to offering G Suite for enterprise clients," according to the Accenture spokesperson.

But Accenture wouldn't comment on when the change to its practice went into effect, or what was the size threshold for accounts it would keep in-house.

Several Google partners told CRN they have been enjoying a windfall from Accenture's decision to restrict its business.

Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global, a Google cloud partner based in Westborough, Mass., said former Accenture customers have been arriving at his door for months, some looking to renew accounts with hundreds of users.

Some of those Google customers told Cumulus they were surprised to learn they could no longer pay Accenture monthly or by credit card to maintain their G Suite subscriptions, Falcon said.

"With Accenture no longer renewing G Suite licensing, we have an opportunity to provide their customers with their subscription licenses and a broader range of services," Falcon said. "For many we are able to reduce licensing costs, discount upgrades to G Suite Business, and provide additional security and privacy services."

SADA Systems, a Google partner based in Los Angeles, is also fielding new accounts once owned by Accenture. Many of those businesses are in the "upper mid-market," SADA CEO Tony Safoian told CRN.

Safoian said he wasn't surprised to see Accenture stop supporting a broad base of G Suite customers.

"There's no way they can compete with a SADA for implementation," Safoian said. "They're too large and their cost structure doesn't support it."

Customers want the "boutique experience" for services like email migrations that a global giant like Accenture struggles to deliver, he said.

Cloud Sherpas, one of the first born-in-the-cloud solution providers to align with Google, thrived on such accounts.

That firm, based in Atlanta, Ga., was the leading reseller of Google Apps, the product later rebranded G Suite, and recognized by Google as its top enterprise partner from 2011 to 2015.

Cloud Sherpas posted a stunning 289 percent two-year growth rate leading up to its acquisition by Accenture.

In 2014, Cloud Sherpas sold over 450,000 Google licenses, and managed more than one million licenses across Apps, Maps, Search, Google Cloud Platform and Chrome.

The company added a Salesforce practice through a merger with GlobalOne in 2012, and a ServiceNow practice by acquiring Navigis the following year.