10th Magnitude Acquires Northwest Cadence For Azure-related DevOps, Analytics, App Modernization Expertise

10th Magnitude, a solution provider specializing in Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud infrastructure, is boosting its DevOps capabilities and its geographic reach with the acquisition of Northwest Cadence.

The acquisition by 10th Magnitude, a Chicago-based solution provider and Microsoft's 2017 hybrid cloud and infrastructure partner of the year, of Bellevue, Wash.-based Northwest Cadence gives the company a huge step up in bringing Azure to business clients, 10th Magnitude founder and CEO Alex Brown said.

The kind of DevOps and data analysis expertise Northwest Cadence has developed are essential to helping customers with their digital transformation plans, Brown told CRN.

[Related: WWT Adds Software Development To Infrastructure With Asynchrony Acquisition]

Brown said his concept of digital transformation is all about automating the IT to enable businesses to run in the cloud as a way for them to focus their IT staff on developing their own intellectual property. "Digital transformation unlocks the ability to move quickly so IT is no longer a drag," he said.

That places DevOps and data analysis front and center when it comes to helping businesses in their move to the cloud, Brown said.

"We're trying to deliver agile IT to customers, and DevOps is a critical part of that story," he said. "As we deliver automation in Azure, DevOps also delivers automation in application development."

Northwest Cadence brings advanced skillsets in DevOps, analytics and artificial intelligence, and application modernization, Brown said.

"Prior to the acquisition, we had core capabilities in all these areas," he said. "Northwest Cadence will help us extend our lead and go to a much deeper level of expertise."

Brown admitted that 10th Magnitude could have deepened those skills organically rather than through acquisition. "But Northwest Cadence's skills are truly world-class," he said. "Building that expertise is long and difficult. We needed to move much faster."

Also important is Northwest Cadence's focus on Azure, Brown said. "They have a very complementary understanding of the Microsoft ecosystem," he said. "Overnight, we expand our Microsoft Azure capabilities."

The acquisition gives 10th Magnitude its first West Coast presence, Brown said. The company had offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and Tulsa, Okla. "So now we have a nationwide presence," he said. "We are working with a Fortune 1000 customer set. It's important that we have a nationwide presence."

Northwest Cadence was founded in July of 2007 by Lori Borg, CEO of the company, who told CRN that digital transformation was not really a trend at that time.

"We always focused on helping software companies improve their software and their delivery," Borg said. "We focused on helping software companies leverage better tools to bring out better software."

However, as the company grew, the focus shifted in part to modernizing applications with cloud, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and DevOps, Borg said.

"We did DevOps since the beginning," she said. "If you think of an application on your smartphone, you have a phone that is very different from five years ago. If an application today does not utilize the cloud and have intelligence, it's not a modern app. There will be a day when very few apps do not have intelligence built in or do not utilize the Microsoft cloud for performance and security."

Like 10th Magnitude, Northwest Cadence has a solid focus on the Azure cloud, Borg said.

"We as a company since the beginning have always been a Microsoft partner," she said. "We have an affinity for Microsoft technology because we feel they offer the best technologies. So our services revolve around Microsoft. We have no plans to work with AWS or Google Cloud."

Borg said Northwest Cadence could have continued as an independent company, but to succeed in helping customers succeed with their digital transformation plans would have required the solution provider invest heavily in services.

"Services is a big part of digital transformation," she said. "What we do can be expanded with 10th Magnitude. When we met with Alex [Brown], we realized they have a huge focus on digital transformation with a hole in business that our technology could fill."

With the acquisition, Borg will take over as 10th Magnitude's vice president of marketing, while her husband Steve Borg, currently Northwest Cadence's co-founder and strategist, will serve as vice president of 10th Magnitude's newly-formed Innovation Institute.

"Steve has a uniquely vision for the technology," Brown said. "He will continue to focus on customer innovation."

Terms of the acquisition, which was 10th Magnitude's first, were not unveiled.

However, Brown said, funding came from a 2017 equity investment that Charlotte, N.C.-based Pamlico Capital made in 10th Magnitude aimed at fostering and accelerating its growth, Brown said. "We are evaluating additional acquisitions," he said. "But we can't say where yet."

Brown did say that, as demand for cloud technology grows, 10th Magnitude is seeing growth of 40 percent to 50 percent every year. That is pushing a need to hire more people to build on that demand. 

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