Deloitte Makes Big Cloud Move With SaaS-based CloudMix

After several years of inching toward the cloud, Deloitte finally is making a big splash in the market.

Last month at DreamForce 2013, Deloitte introduced CloudMix, which ties together disparate enterprise cloud applications into a single preintegrated solution. CloudMix is the first offering from Deloitte's Emerging Technologies practice, which was created earlier this year to focus on new opportunities in emerging tech markets.

"We're a big company and we're focused on traditional consulting and technology services," said Paul Clemmons, principal at Deloitte Consulting and head of its Emerging Technologies practice. "But we have an aggressive strategy to expand into new areas, and we've identified a number of key areas to go after. And cloud is one of them."

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CloudMix essentially takes preconfigured enterprise cloud apps and SaaS offerings such as Salesforce and delivers them in a packaged, preintegrated solution; Deloitte also provides on-premise integration with existing legacy software platforms.

"We'll be doing both on-premise and cloud because the reality is, the cloud isn't for everyone. Plus, there is a ton of legacy enterprise software out there," Clemmons said. "But the thinking is, over time, customers will isolate those on-premise systems in the future and move more to the cloud."

Deloitte has explored cloud solutions prior to CloudMix, but this arguably marks the biggest move yet for the consulting giant. Instead of getting into public cloud hosting or Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Deloitte is trying something different that will service the company's customer base especially well.

"The challenge we've seen over the last few years is that enterprise software isn't monolithic, and there are a lot of choices now beyond just SAP and Oracle," Clemmons said. "It's very complex and confusing, and some software is cloud-enabled and some isn't. It became obvious to us that our clients needed something to help solve that problem."

Virtually all of Deloitte's customers use copious amounts of enterprise software, Clemmons said, and the vast majority of them also are looking to lower costs and reduce complexity through cloud computing. Therefore, CloudMix could kill two birds with one stone, with Deloitte managing the SaaS offerings from afar.

"We take care of it all -- the support, delivery and integration of the cloud software," Clemmons said. "It's a managed services model for SaaS."

CloudMix had been deployed for several customers already, Clemmons said, but the solution is in the early stage of its evolution with about 20 vendor partners currently in the fold. Those vendors include major players like Salesforce, NetSuite and Workday, as well as smaller SaaS vendors like Apttus and MuleSoft. "We have formal alliances with a few companies, and we're in the process of vetting a lot of vendors," he said.

In addition to adding more SaaS vendors to CloudMix, Deloitte said it will look to expand the offering with more customized and tailored cloud solutions, as well as business processes and capabilities.

"It's pretty exciting," Clemmons said. "It's a new model for Deloitte, and it's a new model for the market."