Consolidation continues in Salesforce partner ecosystem

As Salesforce held its annual Dreamforce customer event in San Francisco this week, the consolidation in its services partner ecosystem continued apace.

NTT Data announced that it had agreed a deal to acquire Zurich-based Nefos AG, a Salesforce consulting and development partner focused on Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The firm also has a near-shore development center in Croatia and claims to have more than 500 SFDC projects under its belt.

The move comes hot on the heels of the latest acquisition by Accenture – one of the leading consolidators in the Salesforce services market, and the largest player in the space by a distance. The company, which has more than 6,000 Salesforce specialists on its books, unveiled the takeover of New Energy Group, a Salesforce consulting firm with 300 employees in Italy and Spain.

The Salesforce-related services market is bigger than you might think (close to €5bn worldwide) and is growing rapidly, as the vendor evolves its positioning from CRM leader to enterprise platform provider. At Dreamforce, the company talked up the Commerce Cloud platform, based on the Demandware acquisition, which moves it into areas such as marketing, customer service and unified multi-channel customer experience.

One word of caution for these services vendors acquiring smaller Salesforce specialists: we blogged earlier this year about how some enterprise customers feel that these boutique companies lose their unique flavor and sparkle under the wing of a big international business. Clients like working with smaller specialists because of the agility and intimacy that they offer, and the acquiring companies need to ensure that this is not lost in the mix of the integration process.