SADA Systems Sells Microsoft Practice To Core BTS


SADA Systems, a pioneering cloud-focused solution provider, has sold its Microsoft practice to Core BTS so it can focus efforts on expanding its Google one.

The deal will give Madison, Wis.-based Core BTS, a Microsoft partner focused on networking, collaboration, security and data center solutions, its first presence on the West Coast.

Los Angeles-based SADA, in turn, will gain capital which it will invest in scaling its long-running Google practice, CEO Tony Safoian told CRN.

"Our intention is to become the dominant player across all aspects of Google Cloud," Safoian said.

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[Related: WATCH: SADA Systems CEO's Top Takeaways From Google Cloud Next]

Core BTS, sold last September to Tailwind Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, had 15 offices across the Northeast and Midwest prior to the SADA deal. Terms of the deal, which closed Feb. 28, weren't disclosed.

Safoian said the decision to sell the Microsoft operation came down to contemplating two different paths toward half-a-billion in revenue: adding an AWS practice and becoming truly cloud agnostic; or laser-focusing on a single provider.

For his company, an exclusive focus made the most sense.

"In our view, we don’t really know how to go to market unless we're top of the partner ecosystem. Everything we do is closely managed. We work very closely with vendor partners in the market, in the field, in practice building and service delivery methodology," Safoian said.

SADA has done pioneering work in both the Google and Microsoft channels.

The solution provider was one of seven inaugural Google Apps partners back in 2006—a year after it established a relationship with the search giant by agreeing to build connectors for Google's search appliance to Microsoft Exchange they could jointly bring to market.

While the small company didn't sell a single search appliance, it had forged an enduring partnership that soon translated to a thriving business reselling Google's groundbreaking office productivity suite.

The success SADA saw with Google's Software-as-a-Service offering led Microsoft back to its door. SADA joined the first group of Office 365 resellers in 2009.

The Microsoft practice scaled as fast as the Google one before it, and for a decade the two competing solutions co-existed as they both grew rapidly in size and scope.

Eventually, "running two separate business units in the field, where ecosystems compete, became very challenging and daunting," Safoian told CRN. "As we became bigger, it became very difficult to manage, so we had to separate them."

SADA was named Microsoft Partner of the Year in the Cloud Productivity category in 2015 and a runner-up in 2016.

SADA's Google practice had many milestones: the company quickly became the largest Google Maps reseller and later the first partner to bring to market Google's Orbitera Platform and its Jamboard digital whiteboard.

The Microsoft business unit, about one-third of SADA's total workforce, wasn't too difficult to segment and hand off to Core BTS because of how the company organized its internal operations, Safoian said.

SADA expects to leverage the capital infusion to accelerate its Google business with new hiring, redesigning its digital strategy, and upgrading tools that improve both the employee and customer experiences, Safoian said.

Changes in the cloud landscape made selling its Microsoft division a compelling option, he told CRN.

"This is something that wouldn't be advisable five years ago, but we see a significant opportunity with the Google ecosystem and market and maturation of Google cloud," he said.

Safoian wants to focus on verticals that Google has done well in, including health care and entertainment.

It’s a good time to go all-in on Google, he said, as the hyper-scale provider is making massive investments in its cloud infrastructure, and new cloud chief Thomas Kurian brings a "whole new level of enterprise investment, which will help all of us win deals."

"Google is not the leader today," Safoian said. "But there's a tremendous amount of upside, and it's like the second inning."

As for Core BTS, the company will gain geographic expansion and immediately scale its Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics practices.

“This acquisition strengthens our strategic partnership with Microsoft and expands our relationships with many tremendous clients,” Core CEO Walter Cook said in a prepared statement.