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Edenhouse, one of the UK's largest independent SAP partners, sells up.

Independent SAP consultancies continue to get snapped up.

Accenture has bought Edenhouse, one of the UK's SAP partners, for an undisclosed sum, in the latest buyout of an independent SAP consultancy by a global professional services company.

The deal is Accenture's sixth buyout so far this year. (The company was 2020's most acquisitive consultancy, a recent M&A report by Ciesco found; its hunger for inorganic growth clearly continues.

Independent UK SAP consultancies have become hot property among professional services giants in recent years. Deloitte bought the UK's Keytree last year -- another independent firm with a strong SAP practice --, while EY picked up AgilityWorks in late 2019.

(Not everyone's happy at the trend: some SAP specialists feel the subsuming of -- arguably -- more customer-centric independent shops into global giants results in a loss of truly independent counsel.)

Edenhouse, founded in 2008, is a Platinum SAP partner with a focus on six verticals: consumer, public sector, manufacturing, professional services, and pharmaceuticals. It handles everything from day to day support, via complex issues, debugging of code, and major migrations. It also offers a fully managed service featuring end to end hosting, BASIS and support service, along with account management etc.

With large on-premises ERP implementations typically involving a host of custom code and proving a meaty change management process for IT teams, Accenture clearly sees considerable ongoing opportunity to support enterprises with their SAP migrations, particularly in the wake of new incentives announced this year by the German software company intended to lure recalcitrant customers to the cloud.

SAP killed off plans in 2020 to end support for its Business Suite 7 software suite by 2025 in the face of growing customer pressure. It is extending support until the end of 2027, with an optional extended maintenance offering running to 2030, and has confirmed a “maintenance commitment” for SAP S/4HANA until 2040. The company wants customers to move to its flagship ERP software, S/4HANA, which — unlikely its existing software — will run exclusively on SAP’s own database, HANA.

A recent survey by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG) noted that 30% of SAP customers had delayed planned SAP S/4HANA migrations due to the Covid-19 pandemic and pressure to control costs.

Gartner suggests that Accenture has 20,250 trained SAP S/4HANA application services professionals worldwide. The company ranks amongst the highest in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for SAP S/4HANA Application Services. Grist to the mill of those lamenting the loss of independent consultancies may be that the three areas where Accenture reference clients scored it lowest are "innovation realized, proactiveness and continuity of staff... in certain countries, resource availability is extremely limited due to Accenture’s multiple projects."

(After announcing that ERP will no longer be updated, and will not be supported beyond 2027, SAP has been developing and evolving its new S/4HANA offer, and has now streamlined it into three components – with a new private cloud offering revealed in January).

Mukul Dixit, Accenture's UK&I SAP Business Group Lead, said the deal would "broaden the depth of our SAP capabilities to serve our large and mid-sized clients on their next phase of growth and transformation, and cement our leadership position in the UK market."

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