CEO Priorities: What Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce and SAP Leaders Are Talking About

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Now that we’re 50 days into 2019, which priorities and initiatives are top of mind for the Cloud Wars CEOs and other leaders of the cloud companies driving one of the biggest growth markets the tech industry and the business world have ever seen?

In combination, the current outlooks from the CEOs of Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce, SAP, IBM, Oracle and others offer an intriguing picture. So let’s take a look at where those companies’ customers—the world’s leading businesses—are headed.

I’ll roll them out in order of their positions on my Cloud Wars Top 10 ranking of the world’s most-powerful and -influential cloud vendors.

The Cloud Wars CEO priorities include statements from each of the vendors in the Top 10

#1 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on the company’s January 30 earnings call: “Dynamics 365 grew 51% this quarter as we won customers with our differentiated approach to systems of record and systems of engagement by making them more modular, extensible and AI-driven. Increasingly, business-process automation includes digitizing physical spaces, activities and interactions. Dynamics 365—along with advances in Azure IoT, AI and Mixed Reality—are leading the way for organizations to create these new systems of observation and systems of intelligence that drive end-to-end business processes and bridge the online and off-line worlds.”

#2 Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy (recently named the Cloud Wars CEO Of The Year for 2018) in a December 2018 interview with CNBC’s Jon Fortt: “Sometimes facts are useful because facts are still a good thing—and if you look at the facts, by the end of 2018, 88% of the databases in Amazon that were running Oracle will be off of Oracle, and will instead be running Amazon Dynamo DB or Amazon Aurora. And 97% of the mission-critical databases will be off of Oracle and will be on Dynamo or Aurora… On November 1, we turned off our Oracle Data Warehouse and moved it to (Amazon) RedShift. We’re virtually done moving away from Oracle on the database side, and by the end of 2019 or mid-2019, we’ll be done.”

#3 Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff on a late-December earnings call: “We continue to take share and outpace the market, and you can see that in our results as we’re moving to $16 billion… This is because we’re the only company that is dedicated 100% to CRM at this size and scale… We’re the only company with a complete Customer Success Platform for both B2B companies as well as B2C companies… This is how we’re helping our customers connect all of our clouds together, giving our customers a single 360-degree view of their customers across every touch-point.”

#4 SAP CEO Bill McDermott, speaking a few weeks ago at SAP’s annual Capital Markets Day: “We were having a fantastic year in 2018—truly fantastic—and it did not escape me that if in the midst of that type of year we did a deal the size of Qualtrics, we’d have to explain it—and anytime you have to explain something like this it kinda drags out the story. But I knew—I knew!—this was something we needed to do. I knew this was the next big thing—the combination of Qualtrics and its unmatched experience-management solutions with our own C/4HANA customer experience suite was fantastic. Because a 5 percent boost in customer retention can boost profits by 95%, and that’s a big, big deal!… CEOs want products to become obsessions, customers to become fanatics, and employees to become ambassadors… If can’t understand and influence the sentiment and feel outside the company, how can you possibly influence the people inside the company to make the best decisions?”

#5 IBM CEO Ginni Rometty late last year describing the enormous strategic value IBM will generate from its $33-billion acquisition of Red Hat: “It’s not about cost synergy, but about growth synergy… hybrid cloud is an emerging $1-trillion market… We have 90,000 cloud architects to accelerate this movement… There is something in here for every part of IBM.”

#6 Oracle chairman Larry Ellison on an earnings call late last year: “Oracle has two strategic products that will determine the future of our company: Cloud ERP and the Autonomous Database.”

#7 ServiceNow CEO John Donahoe on an earnings call a few weeks ago: “As one CIO told me, he doesn’t view us as just another cloud partner. Instead, he sees ServiceNow as the platform that creates a multiplier effect in his cloud ecosystem because our enterprise capabilities link together other systems and platforms enabling seamless digital workflows that create great experiences and unlock productivity—and that’s what every C-suite executive I speak with is looking for.”

#8 Workday CEO Aneel Bhusri: “We continue to land marquee accounts in part due to our proven ability to support our customers’ large volumes of data and transactions, a capability that neither of our legacy competitors has been able to consistently demonstrate in the cloud… At Workday Rising, we once again revealed our annual customer satisfaction rating which came in at 98%. As you hopefully know by now, customer success is a core value of Workday.”

#9 Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian at a recent Goldman Sachs investors conference: “We have remarkable customer loyalty… The customers we work with love our technology, and as we go forward, we’re putting in place a new ‘Customers For Life’ program that will attract, retain and convert more customers into advocacy…. Over the last 12 months, we have also shifted our focus to go after more-traditional companies, and we are seeing very strong adoption in a number of industries. Not just in small companies in those industries, but among the largest companies in those industries—and you will see us continue to focus our go-to-market effort on going after some of the largest customers on Earth.”


Disclosure: At the time of this writing, SAP, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle are clients of Evans Strategic Communications.


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