​Why Sixtree sold to Deloitte

Melbourne-based systems integrator explains why Big Four merger made strategic sense.
Ben Wylie - Founder and Director, Sixtree

Ben Wylie - Founder and Director, Sixtree

Deloitte’s recent acquisition of Sixtree opens up an “ocean of opportunity” for the Melbourne-based systems integrator, as it bids to crack the “high ceilings” of one of the world’s largest professional services firms.

With the ink barely dry on the deal, Sixtree, founder and Director, Ben Wylie, told ARN that the merger would trigger new avenues of growth for the company, as it combines with a global headcount of over 225,000 employees, across over a hundred locations globally.

“It’s an organisation that nurtures both technical and consulting career paths, which is absolutely crucial for our technology-focused engineers,” Wylie told ARN.

“It’s great to be able to amplify the prospects for our team who have helped us get to where we are today.”

Just over a year ago, Sixtree partnered with Deloitte Consulting on a number of engagements which considered integration and API strategy core.

Consequently, Wylie told ARN that the acquisition represents an “organic evolution of that thinking”, building on the companies expanding partnership.

Yet before the deal was struck, Wylie said Sixtree was often engaged after only “visionary” decisions had been made, meaning the company would have to compromise its architecture or platform technologies to fit between particular customer constraints.

“The partner network at Deloitte will bring our team into discussions further up the food chain, allowing us to shape IT strategy early with business decision makers,” he said.

“Our strategy and implementation pedigree seems to align well with the advisory services Deloitte have been providing to date, so we’re excited about jointly going-to-market with a more holistic, end-to-end offering.”

Strong growth

As reported by ARN, Deloitte believes the move will help bolster its Cloud capabilities across Australia and New Zealand, bringing on board Sixtree’s 45 employees on both sides of the Tasman to form a new platform engineering unit within Deloitte Consulting, the company’s technology advisory arm of the business.

Led by co-founders Wylie, Yamen Sader and Brett Wilson, Sixtree - which has offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland - specialises in the implementation of MuleSoft, Red Hat and AWS technologies, working closely with key customers such as Genesis Energy, Telstra, Toyota and Qantas.

Factoring in the company’s strong growth curve, Sixtree CTO Saul Caganoff said the company has been more than doubling every year in “just about every metric that matters”.

“But growth can be a blessing and a challenge,” Caganoff added. “We were starting to feel the limits of rapid organic growth and knew that some structural changes were needed in order for Sixtree to reach its potential.”

In echoing Caganoff’s statement, Wylie believes the partnership will help sharpen Sixtree’s focus moving forward.

“While it’s been an exciting ride, we appreciate that growing pains can disrupt our ability to maintain a sharp focus, our value-driven market proposition and importantly the culture which keeps our people passionate,” Wylie added.

“We considered a number of options to help us through this growth, but joining Deloitte felt like the only path which allows us to hold onto what we hold dear, empowers our current leadership team, yet amplifies the value we deliver to customers.”

Looking ahead, Wylie said the creation of the new Deloitte Platform Engineering business unit as part of the merger, will help further “galvanise” his team as it embarks on its new phase of growth.

“For our people, the new business unit opens enormous opportunities,” he added. “First and foremost, those who have been with us for a while will be expected to step up to preserve the culture and enthusiasm that has made us so successful to date.

“We’ve emphasised to our team that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’ and those who wish to lead the business or drive our platform technologies have an enormous opportunity to shape the significant growth we anticipate over the coming years.”

Building a platform

As the business blossoms under the direction of Deloitte, from a technology perspective, Caganoff added that platform engineering stands tall as the company’s “new moniker”, triggered by the need for local organisations to transform.

“We strongly believe that Australian and New Zealand businesses need to reinvent themselves as platform businesses,” Caganoff said.

“Whether reinvention creates an overt external platform, or an internal platform - the platform architecture is a critical enabler for businesses that need to compete in an environment of constant change.”

For Caganoff, platforms are enablers, representing a level surface which provides “stability, reliability and a foundation upon which value can be created”.

“Platforms are a standard upon which things can be built and activities performed,” he explained.

“Platform engineering is all about bringing together fundamental building blocks to provide a stable, uniform, high level base upon which to build a business. Engineering is all about our technical expertise in this endeavour.”

Caganoff believes that architecture is crucial to building a stable platform, a platform that must be both robust and reliable over the long-term.

“Platforms are an old idea (hence the industrial resonance) and a brand new idea which involves openness, collaboration, assembly and change,” he added.

“This is why we are happy to be joining Deloitte and to call ourselves platform engineers for the 21st century.”