​Meet your new cloud integrators. Same as your old systems ones

Boutique cloud consulting and integration specialists have all been gobbled up by traditional systems integrators. Will the same outcomes that plagued on-premises enterprise software plague the cloud?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Cloud integrators and consultants have been gobbled up and Wipro's purchase of Appirio serves as icing on the consolidation cake. The bottom line: Meet your new cloud integrators--Accenture, IBM, Deloitte et al--and realize that they may be the same as your old systems integrators.

As former renegades like Salesforce and Workday increasingly become go-to cloud-first platforms, these companies' growth engines will need a boost from the same integrators that gave SAP and Oracle a big lift in the early days of enterprise resource planning applications.

The surge in ERP also led to an increase of costs, multiple implementation failures and a triangle of players (customers, consultants and enterprise vendors) all pointing the finger at each other.

If you listen hard enough you can hear enterprise observers mumble that Salesforce is just the new Oracle. Workday has onerous contract terms. NetSuite is just going to be part of Oracle. Toss in big integrators into the mix and guess what? The new Accenture is Accenture.

Add it up and next-gen cloud-first integrators didn't do much in the way of disruption. They were acquired. To wit:

Accenture bought DayNine, which specializes in Workday implementations.

Now if you're into that disruption storyline then maybe you hope that Wipro upends the traditional systems integrator pecking order. But you should also note that Wipro is huge in its own right.

Writing about the Wipro/Appirio merger, HfS Research's Phil Fersht and Khalda De Souza said:

Depending on the success of the merger, clients can potentially look forward to a full service suite offering around Workday, Salesforce and ServiceNow, with a focus on business outcomes. Wipro and Appirio clients we have spoken to in these markets are already pretty satisfied, highlighting Wipro's ability to provide proactive advice, and Appirio's focus on customer satisfaction. A smooth merger in the services industry is, however, seldom possible and a lot hinges on Wipro's ability to hold on to the best talent at Appirio (there will be several hungry Workday partners ready to pounce) and integrate offerings. More importantly, the challenge of integrating cultures and business could be massive, especially since Wipro has to change mindsets, working attitudes and break down its internal business silos, to take full advantage of the potential here.

In other words, Wipro and Appirio will have their own integration issues to worry about.

If you fast forward a few years it's obvious that all that old enterprise integration work and process outsourcing will move to the cloud and SaaS market. What's not so clear is whether enterprise customers will benefit from the change in eras.

Vinnie Mirchandani, an enterprise analyst and innovation author, is already sounding the alarm bells. Mirchandani noted:

Here's the concern. Most of the large outsourcers depend heavily on 'post-live" services that came with on-premise systems - application management, systems management, hosting, BPO, upgrades. In cloud world, many of those services are provided by the "as-a-service" vendor. The Appirios of the world focused on implementations and crowd sourcing of resources. Will the larger outsourcers buy into these principles or will they try to sell those large post-live staff even around cloud systems?

There's the tug of war about to happen. Customers will have to watch closely. After all, cloud vendors need the integrator ecosystem to grow.

Now that the inflection point has come and gone via mergers and acquisitions we get to see how this plays out. The odds are that new-age integrator will be the same as the old one whether its on-prem or in the cloud.

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