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Dimension Data buys Ceryx for Microsoft expertise

Dimension Data has acquired Ceryx to provide customers with the option of subscribing to hosted Microsoft products, such as Exchange, SharePoint and Office 365.

Dimension Data's acquisition of privately held Ceryx, a provider of hosted Microsoft products, underscores Microsoft's strength in the unified communications and collaboration market.

Dimension Data, an IT services company based in Johannesburg, South Africa, announced this week the acquisition of Toronto-based Ceryx. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Dimension Data, which operates in 58 countries, sells IT services related to data centers, network integration, security and technology consulting. Ceryx hosts and manages popular Microsoft collaboration products, including SharePoint, Exchange, Skype for Business and Office 365. Dimension Data plans to fold the Ceryx services into its IT as a service unit.

Ceryx also provides migration and consulting services to businesses that want to move from on-premises technology to Ceryx services.

Ceryx adds to Dimension Data's portfolio Office 365 and other Microsoft products that many companies are deploying, said Matthew Cain, an analyst at Gartner.

"If you want to stay in the Microsoft stack, the question is not if you move to Office 365 -- the question is when," Cain said.

Because many companies struggle with the migration to Office 365, Ceryx's consulting services are likely an appealing part of the deal, Cain said. "Migrating to Office 365 is certainly no walk in the park."

Another key acquisition for Dimension Data is a Ceryx product called Cloud Control, Cain said. The software lets IT administrators manage Ceryx-hosted applications. "You can have one point to manage them all," Cain said.

The acquisition is evidence of a maturing unified communications as a service market, analysts said, with larger vendors buying smaller companies to break into a new space, or acquire technology that will augment an existing product. Similar acquisitions happened throughout 2015, and analysts predicted the trend would continue into 2016.

The sale also underscores Microsoft's position as a leader in the enterprise communications market. "Similar to everyone else in telecom, Dimension Data is looking to boost its Microsoft capabilities in view of Microsoft's strong push into the UC market," said Elka Popova, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

The sale also benefits Dimension Data and Ceryx customers, analysts said. Ceryx subscribers get access to more products and the greater financial stability of a large company, while Dimension Data clients get the option of subscribing to Microsoft products through a trusted vendor.

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