IBM’s Bluetab Acquisition: Tripling Down on Building Cloud Services Business

The News: IBM recently announced an agreement to acquire Bluetab Solutions Group to extend its portfolio of data and hybrid cloud consulting services. Bluetab will become a part of IBM’s data services consulting practice to further advance its hybrid cloud and AI strategy. Read the full press release from IBM here.

IBM’s Bluetab Acquisition: Tripling Down on Building Cloud Services Business

Analyst Take: I wrote about IBM acquiring a small consulting firm to focus on Hybrid Cloud services only last week (Read my take on the BoxBoat acquisition here). That article talked about IBM doubling down on cloud services, so of course this recent announcement caught my eye — and now I suppose with IBM’s Bluetab acquisition, we’re in tripling down territory.

While these acquisitions are probably not making noise in the industry on their own, if you look more widely you can see a trend emerging. IBM announced its intention to acquire BoxBoat last week, Waeg back in May and now Bluetab, so why three consulting acquisitions in three months? In a word, Kyndryl.

IBM has long been a powerhouse in the traditional domain of IT services. In a highly fragmented market where no one player has more than 10% market share, the Global Technology Services (GTS) business has an annual revenue of ~$20 billion, which dwarfs the likes of DXC, Wipro, and TCS, all of whom operate at roughly half that on an annual basis. However, IBM is spinning the company’s services capabilities off into a newly named business known as Kyndryl. What will remain is more of a pure play consulting business that dates back to the PwC acquisition from July 2002.

Global Business Services (GBS) has morphed and grown since the PwC days, but the business has remained focused on strategic consulting style engagements and less on the hands-on deployment of technology. GBS and GTS were perfect partners, GBS would lead the strategic engagement, engage the board room and senior leaders to scope the project, and then turn over the deployment to GTS staff to handle the deployment project. All of this changes with the Kyndryl spinoff.

IBM’s Bluetab Acquisition is All About IBM Running to Plug Services Gaps Ahead of Time

With IBM’s Bluetab acquisition, IBM is obviously working hard to fill the gap that the Kyndryl spin off will lead to in the company’s ability to deploy hybrid cloud solutions such as the OpenShift and Cloud Paks portfolio. This aptly named Bluetab acquisition is part of this strategic shift. I believe we will see more moves by IBM to acquire boutique services businesses in the cloud space in the coming months as the Kyndryl spinoff approaches.

“Our acquisition of Bluetab will fuel migration to the cloud and help our clients to realize even more value from their mission-critical data.” said Mark Foster, Senior Vice President, IBM Services and Global Business Services.

Bluetab is an IT Services boutique serving large corporations in the data Solutions space focused on strategy, management, analytics, and cloud services. With a team of more than 700 data experts, Bluetab deploys the full spectrum of services necessary to design and implement data focused solutions. These 700 data experts will land straight onto the new IBM services bench and specifically will be perfectly positioned as IBM looks to transition its Db2 portfolio and other software to Cloud Pak for Data deployed on OpenShift.

While each acquisition will not be newsworthy alone, the wider trend is worth noting here as it clearly shows the strategic intent of IBM Services. I will be watching closely to see whether the trend continues, especially on an international stage, as IBM looks to staff its Services bench with the right skill set to focus on the company’s priorities. I believe we will see more of this type of acquisition from IBM as Mark Foster and his team try to rebuild a new laser focused hybrid cloud services capability to support the company’s ambitions.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

Material Changes At IBM And What’s Ahead, BMC Announcements, And Thoughts On IBM’s BoxBoat Acquisition – Futurum Tech Webcast

IBM To Acquire BoxBoat, Doubles Down On Hybrid Cloud Services

IBM Shuffles The Executive Deck

Image Credit: IBM

Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.


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