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Cloud consultants Cloud Sherpas, Global One merge

Cloud Sherpas and GlobalOne, which advise clients in implementing cloud-based Software as a Service applications, have merged in what is a sign of the continually busy M&A activity in the SaaS market.

The SaaS market is a volatile one right now, with industry giants like Oracle and SAP buying up companies to expand their cloud-based offerings. Now, a similar shakedown is happening for consultancies that advise clients on SaaS products, says Jeffrey Kaplan of THINKstrategies, an analyst and consultancy.

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Both Cloud Sherpas and GlobalOne operate in what they call cloud service provider (CSP) roles, in which they act as consultants for business that are implementing or are considering implementing SaaS-based offerings.

The venture-backed Cloud Sherpas, started in 2008, mainly advises clients on migrating to Google-based enterprise systems for communications, such as email, messaging, collaboration and security. GlobalOne is a Salesforce.com consultant that aids clients in using the SaaS-based customer resource management (CRM) offering.

Combined, the new company, which will operate under the Cloud Sherpa name, will be able to offer consulting services to businesses that are considering the implementation of either or both offerings. For end users, the move means greater ease of implementation of SaaS offerings, Kaplan says.

It also, he says, reflects larger changes occurring in the SaaS marketplace. In the past six months there have been a handful of major mergers and acquisitions, including SAP buying SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion in and Oracle buying Taleo for $1.9 billion. As SaaS providers consolidate, so too are consultancies that attempt to be one-stop shops.

"The SaaS-based cloud industry has proliferated and is beginning to consolidate -- the consultancy world is a shadow of that," Kaplan says. "It's all about moving from best of breed offerings to more stand-alone, all-encompassing, strategic suppliers of services."

The Cloud Sherpa-GlobalOne merger will be officially announced on Tuesday morning and the combined company will be led by David Northing ton, who was CEO at GlobalOne and previously was COO of Cap Gemini's North American Applications Services group.

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