10. IBM To Buy Salesforce.com Channel Superstar Bluewolf
IT vendors have acquired solution providers in the past when there was a specific skill or service they provided that could give the vendor a competitive edge. But when IBM announced on March 31 a deal to acquire Bluewolf (reportedly for more than $200 million), people really took notice. (The acquisition was completed May 12.)
The acquisition certainly makes sense for IBM. The company has been focusing on software and services in recent years and exiting more commodity businesses like the x86 server business it sold to Lenovo in 2014. Bluewolf, a leading solution provider in the Salesforce.com market, goes far beyond basic IT implementation and configuration capabilities to provide high-value services in change management, analytics, digital marketing, cloud governance and more.
But is it a loss for the channel? While Bluewolf was only No. 238 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, it has been widely seen as one of the leading new-generation strategic service providers that is setting the pace for the channel. The disappearance of such a bellwether channel company into IBM leaves a significant void.