EY scales up Microsoft Dynamics commitment with Sonoma Partners acquisition

March 23 2018

Ernst & Young LLP (EY) has announced that Sonoma Partners, a consulting firm specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce CRM products, has joined EY in the U.S. The acquisition brings more than 100 experienced practitioners from the Chicago-based firm into EY's digital, data, and analytics practice.

Sonoma Partners' CRM capabilities will better enable EY to help clients on their digital transformation journeys, according to company officials.

"The addition of the Sonoma Partners team adds a critical piece that will help us support our clients in their delivery of exceptional customer and employee experiences, while increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales and service functions, said Greg Jenko, principal, Ernst & Young LLP and EY Americas digital, data and analytics leader, in a statement. ‘This adds another piece to our already broad set of Microsoft capabilities across the digital transformation landscape.'"

In an interview, Jenko says that EY's CRM practice was predominantly a business process strategy/business process practice with fewer consultants in Dynamics and Salesforce.

"Obviously, bringing Sonoma on board, this is a significant uplift in terms of market presence, head count, credentials, market presence," he says. "We viewed this as an absolutely necessary step function we had to make to be able to attack the whole front office around marketing, sales, and service for our clients."

EY has had an alliance with Microsoft for about three years, Jenko says.

"When you think about the four big pillars that Microsoft has around the Azure cloud space, [you have] the Cortana analytics space, the productivity suite around Office 365, and the business applications piece," he says.

When the EY and Microsoft first teamed up, EY had very good capabilities around analytics and decent capabilities around Office 365. And the company has been building its Azure capabilities over the last couple years, Jenko says.

"The missing piece was around Dynamics because sizewize, compared to everything else, it was just a small piece of it," he says. "So when I had conversations with Hayden Stafford at Microsoft, he said, ‘Tell me when you guys are ready to go after Dynamics at scale' and in October I told him I needed a couple months. So the timing for us was all about being able to now go and [manage] that fourth pillar of Microsoft's capability set at scale."

Since Sonoma doesn't have any Dynamics AX capabilities, Jenko says that EY is actively working to build that piece up in parallel. However, acquiring Sonoma Partners was very much around the CRM space.

"Given that we also have an alliance with Adobe, we're very active in pursuing that combination of marketing, sales and service," he says.

Sonoma Partners brings everything from design through development, testing and integration of both Dynamics and Salesforce to EY. They also bring a close relationship with Microsoft thanks to Sonoma founders Jim Steger and Mike Snyder. EY had been "eyeballing" Sonoma since the fall of 2016 but he had to wait until Snyder and Steger were ready to actually make the move.

"And if you look at Sonoma's talent base, most of their developer and consulting teams have been doing this for years and years and years," he says. "At the end of the day, this is very complementary to what we were able to do in the CRM space before, and it's very complementary to the relationship we have with Microsoft."

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About Linda Rosencrance

Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in the Boston area. Rosencrance has over 25 years experience as an reporter/investigative reporter, writing for many newspapers in the metropolitan Boston area. Rosencrance has been writing about information technology for the past 16 years.

She has covered a variety of IT subjects, including Microsoft Dynamics, mobile security issues such as data loss prevention, network management, secure mobile app development, privacy, cloud computing, BI, big data, analytics, HR, CRM, ERP, and enterprise IT.

Rosencrance is the author of six true crime books for Kensington Publishing Corp.

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bensonf's picture

I've known Jim Steger and Mike Snyder for a few years and they've done a great job building Sonoma Partners, especially transitioning from a Microsoft Dynamics CRM practice into a multidisciplinary firm also offering Salesforce consulting services. EY is Salesforce.com's auditor, so it'll be interesting to watch what EY does with the Salesforce practice at Sonoma.