Cloud Wars logo and text, Tech's Response to COVID-19: Microsoft and Amazon leadership
Cloud Wars logo and text, Tech's Response to COVID-19: Microsoft and Amazon leadership

Microsoft, Amazon and Salesforce’s Exceptional Leadership in Confronting COVID-19

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While many of the world’s leading tech companies continue to make meaningful and enduring contributions to the battle against COVID-19, the three companies whose efforts have been most significant are Microsoft, Amazon and Salesforce.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that their standout leadership and innovative approaches during the unprecedented global COVID-19 crisis mirror their positions on the Cloud Wars Top 10: #1 Microsoft, #2 Amazon and #3 Salesforce.

As the Coronavirus emerged as a global pandemic, those three companies were among the first to:

  • clearly recognize the magnitude of its threat;
  • communicate clearly and decisively with employees;
  • establish work-from-home policies to protect employees;
  • offer high-value technology solutions at no charge to the world; and
  • continue to communicate effectively with employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Without question, other major tech vendors have similarly rushed into the breach. They’ve created valuable and timely programs to make unique applications and other technologies available at no charge to a public dealing with major disruptions.

ServiceNow Looks to “Help the World Flatten the Curve”

In particular, ServiceNow—#9 on the Cloud Wars Top 10—has made a huge impact. Almost 1,000 public- and private-sector organizations have begun using the four emergency-response apps ServiceNow released earlier this month and made available at no charge.

Local, state and federal agencies along with hospitals, healthcare organizations, and financial institutions are using the apps. ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott acknowledged the rapid adoption in a press release.

“We are humbled by the extraordinary and rapid response to these apps in an effort to help the world flatten the curve on COVID-19 as fast as possible,” he wrote. ”
“These applications enable emergency outreach, self-reporting and exposure management, which are precisely actions that organizations can take right now to help people get through this crisis.”

ServiceNow offered a comment from Linda Gerull, CIO of the City of San Francisco. “The City of San Francisco is committed to continued high-quality service to residents and must now ensure the city workforce is available and working on prioritized response initiatives,” she said. The ServiceNow community apps are in use across multiple departments within the city including healthcare, law enforcement and fire.

We outlined those new apps from ServiceNow last week in Tech’s Coronavirus Response: What Salesforce, ServiceNow and Workday Are Doing.

Adobe and SAP Provide Free App Usage

In addition, #10 Adobe is offering “greater access to Adobe Creative Cloud desktop apps to facilitate distance learning” on a temporary basis.   

“Starting today, we’re giving our higher education and K-12 institutional customers globally — who currently make Creative Cloud apps available to students who login through on-campus labs — the ability to request temporary “at-home” access for their students and educators,” the company says on its website. “This will be granted through May 31, 2020 at no additional cost.” 

And the co-CEOs of #5 SAP shared an impressive letter—Together We Will Persevere—with employees and other stakeholders that outlined a message of hope and collective strength. The company is also offering some of its business applications at no charge on a temporary basis. You can see more on that in our recent piece As COVID-19 Rages, Microsoft & SAP CEOs Share Messages of Gratitude, Empathy, Hope.

But as impressive as all these efforts have been, the COVID-19 responses from Microsoft, Amazon and Salesforce are the ones that have impressed me most. Here’s why.

#1 Microsoft

The company quickly made its Teams collaboration suite available to individuals, the public sector and the private sector at no charge thru the end of September. The results have been astonishing.

In a recent 7-day period, 12 million people around the world became Teams users. And in a recent LinkedIn article, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that Accenture has been averaging 150 million minutes of Teams meetings per week. You can read much more about that in our recent analysis WFH Revolution Making Microsoft Teams Global Phenomenon; Millions Added Daily.

#2 Amazon

Taking a unique approach that would help not only in the short term but also on an enduring basis, Amazon and its AWS cloud committed $20 million in AWS services “to support customers who are working to bring better, more accurate, diagnostics solutions to market faster and promote better collaboration across organizations that are working on similar problems.

“As part of this, we are committing an initial investment of $20 million to accelerate diagnostic research, innovation, and development to speed our collective understanding and detection of COVID-19 and other innovate diagnostic solutions to mitigate future infectious disease outbreaks.”

I was impressed by this example of Amazon’s attention to detail in designing its new program: “Diagnostics research has historically been underfunded and largely deprioritized in favor of a focus on vaccines.”

#3 Salesforce

Specifically aimed at “emergency response teams, call centers and care-management teams for health systems affected by coronavirus,” Salesforce deployed its industry-specific Health Cloud into the COVID-19 battle at no charge.

That focus on hospitals and other healthcare facilities that have had to deal with huge surges in demand is particularly insightful. Salesforce is looking to help “healthcare systems experiencing an influx of requests due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The solution can be deployed quickly and at no charge for six months to immediately aid healthcare systems responding to the crisis. After the six months, customers have the option to continue at their contracted price or discontinue the service.”


To all of the tech companies that have jumped in to help with this crisis: well done. And since the job is far from over, we will be watching closely as additional new initiatives come out.

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