Cloud Acquisitions Change Competitive Landscape

Includes: ADP, CA, CRM, IBM, INTC
by: Jeffrey M. Kaplan

There has been a series of acquisitions over the past few weeks which clearly illustrates how the competitive landscape in the tech industry and beyond is being fundamentally changed by the rapidly evolving cloud computing phenomenon.

The two most recent examples came this week. The first was CA Technologies’ (NASDAQ:CA) acquisition of 4Base Technology, a virtualization and cloud infrastructure consulting firm, which CA plans to use as a cornerstone of its expanded cloud computing professional services capabilities. This is the latest in a series of acquisitions which CA has made to transform the company from a software-only to a multi-dimensional corporate portfolio which personifies its new CA Technologies company name. CA’s transformation echoes the moves of other players seeking to become one-stop shops for hardware, software and services. The most significant of these was Oracle’s (NYSE:ORCL) acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) made an even more dramatic acquisition this week with its announced plans to purchase McAfee (MFE). This acquisition moves Intel into the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based security solutions market by embedding security software functionality into a chip. Paul Otellini, Intel’s President and CEO, put the acquisition into perspective by stating in the company’s announcement,

In the past, energy-efficient performance and connectivity have defined computing requirements. Looking forward, security will join those as a third pillar of what people demand from all computing experiences.

These moves come on the heels of a series of other acquisitions over the past few months aimed at repositioning various technology and business services vendors seeking to capitalize on the burgeoning cloud computing market.

Less newsworthy, but equally intriguing have been the following acquisitions:

  • ADP’s acquisition of Cobalt, a digital marketing services vendor, in July. This acquisition was the latest example of ADP’s efforts to offer a widening array of business and information services to make itself a more strategic, single-source of a full lifecycle of business services, such as marketing solutions.
  • IBM followed ADP’s example by acquiring Unica, a marketing software solutions vendor, early this month, augmenting its middleware and infrastructure enablement capabilities. IBM clearly stated its goals regarding the Unica acquisition in its announcement,

Assembling transformational capabilities to help clients create…relevant cross-channel brand experience to promote customer loyalty and satisfaction…This acquisition along with IBM’s recent acquisitions of Sterling Commerce and Coremetrics will enhance IBM’s ability to support customers increasing demands in this growing market.

  •’s (NYSE:CRM) acquisition of Jigsaw earlier this year was also aimed at redefining the company’s capabilities and helping to reposition it in the market. Jigsaw’s online lead generation database will feed essential data into’s SaaS-based customer relationship management solution, making it easier for the company’s users to satisfy their needs. Jigsaw also provides analytics regarding the productivity of users’ sales efforts. As a result, is able to now transform itself from a SaaS company to a business or information service provider offering Data-as-a-Service (DaaS).

The commonality of all of these acquisitions is not only that they extend the scope of the companies’ corporate portfolios, but that they do it by adding SaaS capabilities to their delivery methodologies.

These are just some of the ways various technology and software companies are transforming their businesses through acquisitions to capitalize on and better target today’s quickly growing cloud computing opportunities. They also open a Pandora’s Box of ancillary organizational and go-to-market challenges for the acquiring companies.