IBM Buys Cloud MSP Taos for Expertise in AWS, Azure, Google

Channel partners will be able to take advantage of the combined companies’ hybrid cloud capabilities.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

January 16, 2021

3 Min Read
Two cloud-shaped hands shaking among other clouds in the sky.

IBM is building out its hybrid and multicloud strategy, following last year’s spinoff of the legacy infrastructure management business. This week, Big Blue said it will acquire Silicon Valley-based consultancy and managed service provider Taos. The purchase comes after IBM in December also bought Nordcloud, a similarly positioned MSP headquartered in Finland.

Adding Taos increases IBM’s access to the three major hyperscale vendors: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.


IBM’s John Granger

Taos “gives enterprises the freedom to choose from multiple providers to best meet their business and IT needs, and we are committed to helping our clients successfully navigate their open hybrid cloud journeys with those providers,” said John Granger, senior vice president within IBM Global Business Services.

That also means IBM channel partners will be able to offer those combined IBM-Taos proficiencies to their customers.

“From a services perspective, this allows our channel partners to be even more forward-leaning,” David Sun, IBM’s director of corporate business development in the global business services unit, told Channel Futures.

To be sure, IBM sees cloud as a vehicle for organizations to transform in strategic ways. It’s not solely to save money.

“When we talk about cloud migration, it’s not just about moving information and data,” Sun said. “It’s all about business outcomes, and that’s a lot of the reason why we’re helping our clients move to the cloud.”

Why Taos?

IBM chose Taos for three main reasons. First, the 30-year-old company caught Gartner’s attention for its work in public cloud infrastructure. Second, Sun said, the “caliber of the [Taos] team” spoke to IBM’s executives. Finally, given its longevity, Taos has built extensive relationships with end users in sectors including health care, finance, retail, technology and transportation.

“IBM’s strategy around cloud has been around serving clients first,” Sun said. “Our clients continue to look at workloads, application modernization, moving data and applications on the cloud, not purely from an efficiency standpoint but also from a transformational standpoint.”

Bringing Taos into its fold helps achieve those goals.

“Part of serving clients is building additional cloud capabilities onto our own,” Sun said, adding that’s where Taos comes in with its “multiple hybrid cloud” expertise.

The same applies to Nordcloud.

“Both of these companies are providing that unique capability in each of their geographies,” Sun said.

More Cloudy M&A

At the same time, Big Blue is planting its flag in other areas of cloud. This week the company snapped up 7Summits for Salesforce intelligent workflow, not long after buying Expertus for digital payments, TruQua for SAP and Instana for application performance.


Futurum Research’s Daniel Newman

“IBM has been on a really visible and active run of acquisitions over the past several months, even the last two months, expanding its competency,” Daniel Newman, founding partner and principal analyst at Futurum Research, told Channel Futures. “They’re heavily invested in this hybrid cloud narrative and it’s part of their story, especially in the wake of the Red Hat acquisition.”

IBM is using Red Hat “as a catalyst and conduit” to win more business across the cloud and on-premises data centers, Newman noted. And, indeed, IBM is making headway in its efforts to shed its hardware legacy. That takes time, of course. Big Blue made its debut in June 1911; the only “cloud” then floated in the sky. About 20 years ago, as the industry started to realize a heavy infrastructure focus would not pay off in the long run, IBM started shifting away (although not entirely) from its roots. Changes have happened slowly — no surprise for a global corporation embedded within thousands of organizations. IBM now aims to proceed on a “multipartner, multicloud” path, Sun said.

“This is a continued evolution of how IBM has run our business. We continue to evolve as the industry evolves.”

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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