As part of the alliance, Deloitte Consulting will incorporate Salesforce.coms suite of CRM applications, as well as its Apex platform, into its consulting services practice. Deloitte has more than 3,500 CRM practitioners (including those with specialties in on-demand, multitenant architecture) in its practice that offer services across all major markets and industries, officials said.
The partnership comes as no surprise. During Salesforce.coms Dreamforce conference in San Francisco last October, CEO Marc Benioff extolled the virtues of big-name systems integration partnerships during his keynote address. Bob Suh, Accentures chief technology strategist and global managing partner for growth and strategy, joined Benioff on the stage "on behalf of the 140,000 people at Accenture," said Suh. "From our perspective, this is a major milestone for software," he said. "We believe this on-demand services milestone is perhaps bigger than anything before it."
Deloitte Consulting likewise is banking on Salesforce.coms traction in the on-demand CRM space—and on its potential in the on-demand platform provider market—really being defined by Salesforce.com with the Apex platform and programming language, should the model prove successful. Deloitte Consultings Customer Transformation Offering provides a framework to help users apply strategy, process, technology and operational services for the three legs of CRM: sales, service and marketing.
Deloittes goal with Apex is to push it into the enterprise. "The Salesforce.com Apex on-demand platform represents an opportunity to expand the benefits of on-demand computing across many facets of an enterprise," said Paul Clemmons, principal and emerging solutions leader at Deloitte Consulting.
With the code for the Apex programming language still in beta (the platform is available), its too early to determine how much success Salesforce.com will have in reaching into the enterprise as an on-demand infrastructure provider, according to partners.
"I dont think our mutual customers have defined exactly how to take advantage of [Apex]," said Sanjay Sarathy, CEO of AboveAll Software, a composite application and integration company in Redwood City, Calif.
Sarathy said the question for customers considering Apex is: "How do you assure that the logic you are writing for Salesforce is shared across the enterprise?
"Thats why integration is a big part of Salesforces story. You have to make sure Apex is not its own silo and make sure that its available to the rest of the enterprise," said Sarathy. "You still have to access it, call it, to take advantage of it. Thats why they have a very open API, but you have to think about how you want to take advantage of it beyond Salesforce.com. But its too early to tell."