Cloud advisory services attract money from investors

Private equity investments continue to flood the service provider sector, with four deals this week highlighting the appeal of cloud consulting services.

In a cloud services transaction, KKR & Co. Inc., an investment firm known for its leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco, has agreed to acquire Ensono, a cloud and hybrid IT services company based in Downers Grove, Illinois. . The transaction, which will transfer ownership of Ensono from current investors Charlesbank Capital Partners and M/C Partners, is expected to close within 60 days.

Ensono acquired cloud-native development company Amido last week.

In a separate deal, Ahead, a Chicago-based PE-backed cloud solutions provider, purchased Vertical Trail, a Schaumburg, Illinois-based data and analytics consulting firm. Vertical Trail specializes in cloud offerings from Snowflake, Dataiku, and Tableau, among other vendors. The company also offers pre-built cloud-based offerings that it customizes for customers. One example is its Troodon Analytics Hub, which provides an automated data science environment.

Private investment firm Centerbridge Partners LLC acquired Ahead in October 2020. At the time, Ahead said the transaction would strengthen its position in cloud infrastructure and “make acquisitions easier.”

Meanwhile, Berkshire Partners has invested $50 million in Upstack, a web-based platform that sells cloud services through cloud sales agents. New York-based Upstack said the funds will expand its offerings and sales agencies.

So far, Upstack has acquired 10 independent agencies. “There is no hard cap on the number of agencies the company seeks to acquire,” said Upstack CEO Chris Trapp. Agencies range from sole proprietorships to larger, more established companies, he added.

Additionally, in the ERP sector, Syntax, a Montreal-based managed cloud provider, acquired Linke, a Barcelona-based consulting firm specializing in SAP-on-AWS offerings. Linke targets the Iberian, French and Nordic markets.

Syntax, a portfolio company of private equity firm Novacap, joins Pythian Services Inc., Sapphire Systems and SNP Schneider-Neureither & Partner in the acquisition of specialist SAP companies this year.

Digital Guardian makes managed DLP a channel sell

Digital Guardian, a Waltham, Mass.-based data loss prevention company, uses channel partners to sell its DLP-as-a-Service offering in North America.

The company’s managed DLP service is aimed at mid-market customers, primarily focusing on enterprises with 1,000 to 2,000 employees, said Troy Gabel, vice president of sales and channel for North America at Digital Guardian. The service provides data discovery and classification, as well as monitoring capabilities for web browsers, email, copy-paste, printing, USB and removable media, and archiving.

Partners can integrate consulting services around the managed DLP service, Gabel said. Additionally, the DLP service integrates into offerings from managed security service providers such as security operations centers and security information and event management services.

Digital Guardian also offers its partners and customers a proof of concept (POC) hosted in the cloud. The cloud-hosted POC can compress the sales cycle compared to on-premises POCs, which can take weeks to set up, Gabel noted.

Digital Guardian has typically generated about 60% of its new business from channel sales, but partner contribution has increased to just over 70% in 2020, Gabel said. The mid-market offering, which is sold only through partners, will increase that channel percentage, he added.

Lenovo AI bundles to get a channel push

Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group said Channel Partners can offer bundled offerings that Lenovo has created with ISVs.

The company launched five AI bundles this week:

  • A system to track COVID-19 safety protocols created with Addfor;
  • A visual AI offering for retail created with Everseen;
  • A machine learning operations offer created with;
  • An edge analytics offering created with SAS; and
  • A data management offering created with NetApp.

Lenovo partners can determine which uses of AI make sense for customers, said Scott Tease, executive director of high-performance computing and AI at Lenovo. Most uses of AI in business are still emerging, he noted.

Lenovo’s AI bundles also offload the task of technology verification to the company’s AI Innovation Centers. Robert Daigle, global head of AI at Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group, said many channel partners lack the data science staff to validate and test AI offerings or manage relationships with numerous ISVs.

Channel schedule launches and updates

  • Code42, a Minneapolis-based insider risk management firm, has launched a channel partner program. The company’s Accelerate program provides professional services training and education.
  • SoftIron Ltd.a London-based software-defined storage provider, unveiled its SoftIron + Co program. Program participants can offer open-source technology such as Ceph, a software-defined storage platform.
  • BeyondTrust, an Atlanta-based privileged access management provider, has expanded its partner program tier structure to Authorized, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. According to the company, the program offers additional benefits as partners move up the ranks. BeyondTrust has also appointed Jeff Mattan as Vice President of Global Partner Programs. Mattan was previously Senior Director of Global Partner Programs, Operations, Marketing and Enablement at KeepTruckin, an IoT provider.
  • Acronis, a Swiss data protection and cybersecurity company, has revamped its partner portal. The portal includes a central dashboard, built-in marketing automation tools, ready-to-use and do-it-yourself marketing content, and a support section for tracking tickets.
  • Nerdio, a Chicago-based provider of Microsoft Azure products for MSPs, will offer 30% off the cost of Nerdio Manager for MSP to service providers who work with nonprofit organizations. The offer, which applies to net new nonprofit deployments, is available worldwide.

Partner List Updates

  • LogicMonitor, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based infrastructure monitoring platform provider, has added 11 companies to its partner network. Eight of these partners are in Europe: Amasol in Germany; CDW in the UK; Corporate Finance International in Switzerland; Exccon AG in Germany; Kaemi in Germany; Netsecurity AS in Norway; Proact in Europe and the United States; and SoftwareOne in the Netherlands. Xylex Technologies has joined the LogicMonitor partner network in the United States, with Arvensys Technologies and Total eBiz Solutions signing from Australia and Singapore respectively.
  • Inkscreen, an Austin, Texas-based secure content capture provider, has signed a strategic reseller agreement with Vertosoft, which provides technology and services to government customers.
  • LogRhythm, a SEIM provider based in Boulder, Colorado, has partnered with AlJammaz Technologies, a value-added technology distributor in Saudi Arabia.

Other news

  • IBM’s yet to launch managed infrastructure services company will be called Kyndryl. Kyndryl is expected to emerge as an independent company by the end of 2021. IBM revealed plans for the spin-off in October 2020. The new company will be based in New York.
  • Accenture will support the financial operations of a global COVID-19 vaccine distribution initiative. The COVAX facility is supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; and the World Health Organization.
  • Companies should look at cloud vendors’ consolidated toolsets, according to Thoughtworks, a Chicago-based software consultancy. Of the society latest Technology Radar report said the toolsets are convenient for developers, but “may be the best bet across the board.” Additionally, a company that locks itself into a single set of tools may lack the flexibility to swap workloads between cloud platforms, according to Thoughtworks.
  • A Deloitte report released this week advises business leaders to stay on top of quantum technology. The consulting firm guide to quantum technology states that a “wait-and-see attitude could cause organizations to miss critical opportunities” for testing and experimentation. The report recommends that organizations learn about the impact of technology on particular industries and build teams to develop a quantum strategy.
  • Kaseya, an IT and security management provider for MSPs, has updated its IT Complete platform. Kaseya’s VSA Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tool now includes Virtual Machine Network Discovery, which automates the discovery of VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V hosts and virtual machines. In the area of ​​backup and disaster recovery, Kaseya offers Gen 9 Max appliances from Unitrends through a subscription-based model. When it comes to security, Graphus, which Kaseya acquired in 2020, now detects organizations’ internal email attacks.

Executive appointments

  • SADA, a Los Angeles-based business and technology consulting firm, has added three members to its board of directors: Sebastian Goodwin, CISO at Nutanix; Matt Bates, CFO at Zenoss and former Rackspace executive; and David Meredith, CEO and Board Director of Everbridge. SADA CEO Tony Safoian said advisors bring experience in much larger companies as SADA aims to create systems and processes to accommodate growth. In addition, SADA will create three board committees on the model of large public companies. Bates will chair the audit committee, Meredith will chair the compensation committee and Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO at Nutanix, a member of the board of directors, will chair the nominating/governance committee, Safoian said.
  • Datto Holding Corp., a software and security provider for MSPs, has named Joshua Hoffman as senior vice president of sales. He was previously global vice president at Poly Inc.
  • Armis, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based device security provider, has named Tim Mackie as the chain’s global vice president. Mackie has also held cast and distribution roles at Recorded Future, SentinelOne, and Cylance.

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