Channel technologies, CSPs, Mergers and Acquisitions, MSP, VAR

Columbus Global Acquires Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner

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Columbus Global has acquired Cambridge Online Systems, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 channel partner based in the United Kingdom. Columbus has made at least six acquisitions since early 2015, including deals for CRM and ERP consulting firms, hosting companies and cloud specialists across Europe and the United states.

The Columbus M&A strategy aligns with Microsoft's Dynamics 365 strategy. Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 -- the cloud-based successor to its ERP and CRM platforms -- on November 1.

The latest Columbus acquisition, Cambridge Online Systems, includes  71 ERP and CRM specialists in the U.K. Cambridge's annual revenues were roughly GBP 5.5m, and earnings of GBP 526,100, though I don't know how that converts into U.S. dollars, based on the ever-shifting exchange rate.

Cambridge Online Systems continues as an independent company with unchanged business operations, Columbus Global indicated. Except for the departure of Managing Director David Crabb, the current management team in Cambridge Online Systems continues. Managing Director in Columbus UK, Mary Hunter takes over the position as Managing Director for both entities.

IT Consulting Acquisitions: Cloud ERP, CRM Are Hot Targets

Columbus has been very active on the M&A front across Europe and the United States. The company's acquisitions since early 2015 have included:

  • July 6, 2016: Columbus acquired CSG, an ERP consultancy based in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • February 1, 2016: Columbus acquired SystemHosting, a Danish cloud and hosting company focused on ERP managed services. SystemHosting had 29 employees and more than 300 customers.
  • July 1, 2015: Columbus acquired Sherwood Systems, a U.S.-based IT consulting firm with more than 300 customers primarily in the south-western part of the U.S. At the time, Columbus had 24 offices and 250 employees across the U.S.
  • May 2015: Columbus acquired MW data, a Danish IT consultancy focused on production, logistics and food processing.
  • February 2015: Columbus acquired InterDyn BMI, a U.S. consulting company with 125 employees and more than than 2,000 customers.

Additional CRM, ERP IT Consulting Acquisitions

Meanwhile, IT consulting firms focused on and Oracle ERP solutions also have been hot acquisition targets. Deals of note have included:

  • Emtec acquired Summit Technology, a managed and cloud services provider that has deep Oracle expertise.
  • Edgewater Technology acquired M2 Dynamics Inc., an Oracle Platinum Partner focused on enterprise performance management (EPM) and business intelligence (BI).
  • Venture Technologies acquired WhiteLight Group, an Oracle ERP channel partner that offers on-premises and cloud services, the companies have confirmed.
  • RSM US — which provides midmarket audit, tax and consulting services — acquired Junction Solutions, a national technology consulting firm focused on Microsoft Dynamics AX.
  • HCL Technologies acquired PowerObjects in October for $46 million. PowerObjects had trailing 12-month revenues of approximately $37 million as of September 30, 2015. Over 250 PowerObjects employees joined HCL. PowerObjects is a professional services firm completely focused on providing service, support, education and add-ons for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The company has won Microsoft’s ‘Partner of the Year’ award three of the last four years.
  • Sonata Software acquired IBIS Inc. for a reported $14 million or so. That deal allowed India-based Sonata to expand its U.S. footprint. IBIS is a two-time winner of Microsoft Dynamics Outstanding Partner of the United States Award, and a Worldwide Finalist for the Microsoft Dynamics AX Partner of the Year.

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Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.