Computacenter's CEO has played down the significance of its acquisition of ServiceNow partner TeamUltra, stressing that it doesn't mark any shift in the firm's stance on cloud.
TeamUltra is one of only seven Gold Service partners in the UK for ServiceNow, an IT services management vendor touted as a rising star in the cloud market.
Last month, analyst TechMarketView asserted that Computacenter "needs to place greater emphasis on helping its customer base move to the cloud", arguing that its focus is "primarily on legacy areas of the market".
But talking to CRN, Computacenter CEO Mike Norris (pictured) batted off suggestions that buying one of ServiceNow's partners marks a change in gear for the firm on cloud.
He stressed that Computacenter was "the largest cloud builder in Europe" even before the acquisition, its first in the UK for over five years.
"The fact that ServiceNow runs predominantly in the cloud - so do a lot of technologies," he said.
"I don't want people to think I'm throwing open the hangar doors to fit in a new aeroplane. It's just a small percentage of Computacenter's overall business. This is a company with 60 or 70 staff, and Computacenter employs 14,000 staff. It's a nice, sensible little acquisition, but it's not a big deal."
Acquisitions of ServiceNow consultancies are in vogue, with Accenture picking off one of ServiceNow's other UK Gold Services partners, Focus Group, only last week. Fujitsu also claimed it created one of Europe's biggest ServiceNow practices last summer when it bought Nordic player Symfoni ESM.
Computacenter itself forged a services and sales partnership with ServiceNow six months ago, and Norris said acquiring TeamUltra builds on that.
"We have a lot of customers in the managed services space that are using ServiceNow as their core technology," Norris explained.
Computacenter was also in dialogue with a ServiceNow partner in mainland Europe but chose to proceed with TeamUltra because it was an easier deal, Norris added.
"They are really nice people and it's great to have them on board. But this is a nice little addition, not a game-changer."
Computacenter first struck up a dialogue with TeamUltra last summer.
"We've been dancing around the handbags with this business for a long time," Norris said. "It took a relatively long time to buy what is quite a small business. The value in this business is the people, so we want to do everything we can to retain them - or what have you bought?"
Other bidders were initially in the frame, he added.
"But for the last several months it was just us," he said. "We liked each other and got on. They are really nice people and it's great to have them on board. But this is a nice little addition, not a game-changer."
Although the deal marks a return to the acquisition trail for Computacenter - which put its hand in its pocket for several firms before the turn of the last decade, including Digica and Allnet - Norris reiterated his scepticism over M&A more generally.
"We were looking at two [UK targets]," he said. "This was one of them. We are not doing the other one.
"We're absolutely not all of a sudden going to go on a spending spree. It may be five years before we do the next one. We don't see a huge need for acquisitions to enhance our business. One of the reasons we are very cautious on acquisitions is we think more fail than succeed.
"When you make an acquisition, everyone gets excited and says congratulations. But if you go out on the high street and buy a new suit, people don't say congratulations. For me, it's more about how it's worked out three years down the line."
Channel veteran Ian Moyse said the dynamics of the ITSM market makes TeamUltra a good fit for a firm such as Computacenter.
"ServiceNow has disrupted [ITSM] as Salesforce did CRM, and the projects around ITSM are typically large and long-term relationships," Moyse said.
"The Computacenters of this world increasingly want to be more relevant and embedded in long-term strategic customer partnerships. ITSM, CRM, ERP all enable this and we can expect to see an increase in corporate resellers investing in these technologies."
TeamUltra will continue to operate independently but will become Computacenter's dedicated ServiceNow delivery capability, Computacenter said.
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