The\u00a0recent\u00a0announcement\u00a0of\u00a0the\u00a0BlueWolf\u00a0acquisition\u00a0by IBM\u00a0surprised\u00a0many\u00a0people in the technology industry,\u00a0in the same way\u00a0the\u00a0announcement\u00a0of the\u00a0Cloud\u00a0Sherpas\u00a0acquisition\u00a0by Accenture\u00a0shocked people back\u00a0in September 2015.\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\nPersonally,\u00a0I don't think these acquisitions\u00a0should\u00a0catch\u00a0anyone in our industry\u00a0off guard.\u00a0Global\u00a0technology\u00a0giants\u00a0are trying to have a greater appeal to their customer bases.\u00a0These customers are\u00a0demanding\u00a0skilled\u00a0consulting firms\u00a0who\u00a0can provide value by implementing\u00a0widely\u00a0adopted cloud based applications such as\u00a0Workday\u00a0and Salesforce\u00a0in\u00a0a matter of\u00a0months.\u00a0Large scale implementations have, at times, taken\u00a0years and this is no longer\u00a0acceptable with\u00a0the rapidly\u00a0changing technology space.\u00a0\n\n\nThe\u00a0explosive growth\u00a0experienced by Salesforce\u00a0over the last few years, along with\u00a0its\u00a0projections\u00a0to continue this growth,\u00a0in addition to the shift\u00a0from\u00a0onsite\u00a0CRM software to cloud-based CRM software are influencing the Salesforce ecosystem.\u00a0\n\n\nI find it hard to remember 10\u00a0years ago when I first joined the Salesforce ecosystem. At that time, the concept of cloud computing was still in its infancy. I remember trying to explain the advantages of the \u201ccloud\u201d and being faced with a great deal of hostility from IT departments who were concerned about their company\u2019s data security, governance policies and, equally as important, their jobs.\u00a0\n\n\nContrary to those fears, the game is changing.\n\n\nThe last decade has proven that cloud technology has an enormous positive impact on organizations, as well as the overall economy. Today,\u00a0cloud\u00a0computing is an important paradigm in IT, driving new ways to use technology and creating additional sources of competitive advantage.\n\n\nWhile the "cloud" still represents a small part of the overall IT budget,\u00a0it is growing at a much faster pace than IT as a whole\u00a0and organizations\u00a0who spend money on cloud computing subscriptions also spend on ancillary products and services, such as data migration, integration and training.\n\n\nIDC indicates\u00a0that the Salesforce\u00a0partner ecosystem generates 2.8 times the revenue of Salesforce itself, and is expected to grow to 3.7 times as large as Salesforce in the coming years. That is an amazing amount of growth leading to numerous\u00a0opportunities.\n\n\nIt begs the question, however, why are we surprised to see the big players like IBM, Accenture and PwC joining the ecosystem? Why do we question their \u201cdraft picks,\u201d as they merge or buy out some of the smaller firms? This provides them with a competitive advantage -- obtaining talent that has made an impact already within the Salesforce ecosystem.\n\n\nWe often find ourselves loyal to a particular team or player, so when A-Rod was drafted, we continued to pull for him on a different team. This same logic can be applied to technology giants absorbing some of the well-known players on the Salesforce field. They are hopeful that the customer base and the reputation of these smaller companies (along with their methodology) will remain loyal and embrace the change in their lineup.\n\n\nI think the surprise is not\u00a0a result of the recent\u00a0acquisitions,\u00a0but about\u00a0the expected (or unexpected, depending on your current view) culture shock. The Salesforce ecosystem is\u00a0agile and entrepreneurial.\u00a0Both its customers and employees crave innovation.\n\n\nCan global implementation firms be successful in aligning the\u00a0differing cultures\u00a0successfully?\u00a0While mergers and acquisitions are an easy solution to meet demand, will this solution sustain them in the long run? If the bigger players are successful, what does it mean for the customers and the other players within the ecosystem?\u00a0\n\n\nThe larger firms (and customers) are recognizing that IT services are changing. The world of billable hours and multi-year deployments is being replaced by rapid deployments, increased value,\u00a0openness and\u00a0flexibility.\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\nThere is a definite shift on the playing field and the number and organization of players on the Salesforce field is changing. We are expected to see more global firms joining the ecosystem.\n\n\nThe question is not when this will happen, the question is who will be stepping up to bat next?