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cloud_IBM claims the acquisition of Optevia will improve its position as a SaaS and digital consultant in the lucrative market. Optevia has a track record of working with UK Emergency Services, Central Government, Local Government and Social Enterprises, including the Ministry of Justice’s National Taxing Team’s rollout of Dynamics CRM.

“By acquiring Optevia, IBM will be able to provide Public Sector clients and prospects with a range of unique, industry focused Microsoft Dynamics CRM based solutions,” said Joanna Davinson, IBM’s European Public Sector Leader. “This strategic acquisition will help strengthen IBM as a SaaS provider and Global Software Integrator.”

In Gartner’s CRM Forecast Overview, published last summer, the global CRM market was valued in the region of $23 billion, with around 50% of the market accounted for by the top 5 services providers. SaaS continued to demonstrate strong demand, with almost 47% of the revenue attributed to the service. According to Gartner,Salesforce.com is the market leader, with IBM claiming 4% of the CRM segment.

While IBM already has an established position in the public sector market, the company has 98 current offerings on G-Cloud, the acquisition of Optevia signals its intentions of increasing its share of the public sector CRM segment.

Alongside IBM, other players have been bolstering their position in the wider CRM market. Last year, Accenture acquired Tquila and Cloud Sherpas, both of which are Salesforce partners on G-Cloud. The acquisitions more than doubled the number of Accenture’s Salesforce consultants in the UK.

“We have seen significant growth in SaaS as more companies adopt the cloud and digital strategies to collaborate better, drive greater operational efficiencies and accelerate the development of new products and services,” said Emma McGuigan, UK and Ireland MD at Accenture Technology. “One key factor for our continued success in delivering Salesforce solutions depends on having the right skilled professionals to meet the growing demand. With Tquila on board we have the critical mass to more proactively target big opportunities both in the UK and Europe, which will extend our position in the region.”

Despite Salesforce.com’s current market-leading position there have been a number of calls-to-arms by competitors looking to challenge the CRM giant. Alongside IBM’s announcement, Oracle has hinted at its intention to take on Salesforce.com. On Oracle’s earnings call this week, CTO Larry Ellison highlighted the company’s positioning “should make it easy for Oracle to pass Salesforce.com and become the largest SaaS and PaaS cloud company in the world.”

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