Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who recently lashed out at Microsoft on Twitter
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who recently lashed out at Microsoft on Twitter

As Marc Benioff Torches Microsoft, the Cloud’s Unique Value Is Revealed

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Proving that even top performers are still far from perfect, Microsoft has rolled out a new set of vaccine-management solutions after its first iteration failed miserably and triggered a very public beatdown from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

Microsoft has held the #1 spot on my weekly Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings for more than 2 years, while Salesforce is #4

While Microsoft’s embarrassing stumble with its first vaccine-management solutions surely won’t knock the company from its lofty perch, that failure certainly underscores the many benefits business customers gain as a result of the widespread and savage competition in the Cloud Wars.

Just 13 months ago, none of the vendors in the Cloud Wars Top 10 were offering pandemic-related applications and tools for the very obvious reason that there was no demand for such products and services.

But today, the market is brimming with innovative solutions—particularly vaccine-management tools—from the Cloud Wars Top 10. Here are links to what 9 of those 10 companies are doing in the vaccine-management space:

#1 Microsoft

#2 Amazon Web Services

#3 Google Cloud

#4 Salesforce

#5 SAP

#6 Oracle

#7 ServiceNow

#8 Workday

#9 IBM

The brave new world of the cloud

In the old world of on-premises software, such near-real-time innovation would have been absolutely unthinkable. No matter how intense and since the efforts, the technology of yesterday simply could not deliver the speed, precision, flexibility and incredibly rapid rollouts and enhancements that the cloud can deliver.

But for all of its promise, the cloud’s not magic. Neither are the cloud solutions that the world’s top cloud providers have been developing over the past year.

So, as reported by, when Microsoft’s initial set of solutions for vaccine management failed to perform properly in the state of New Jersey and in Washington D.C., Salesforce’s Benioff pounced on the opportunity to call out Microsoft’s bungled effort and to promote his company’s solutions instead.

Social-media gamesmanship aside, the language in Benioff’s tweet reveals an extraordinary development that’s taken place in the Cloud Wars in the past year: the near-real-time creation of industry-specific and/or purpose-built applications.

Note that Benioff didn’t refer to the product as part of its “Healthcare Cloud”—no, he refers to it as the “Salesforce Vaccine Cloud.” 

That’s pretty remarkable for a company that one year ago had absolutely zero presence in the world of vaccines, and that today can claim its new Vaccine Cloud “leads 100s of the most successful scaled vaccine implementations in the world.”

In addition, look at what ServiceNow has been able to achieve in an unbelievably short period of time: the company that for most of its relatively short life was best known for wonky IT-management tools is now supporting vaccinations for 20 million people via its Now Platform and Vaccine Administration Management solution.

And while one of the main advantages of the cloud has been its ability to deliver seamless and unintrusive innovations on a quarterly basis, even that remarkable timetable is being blown away as ServiceNow promises to push new capabilities to customers twice a month.

“The rapid distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the greatest workflow challenges of our time,” said Mike Luessi, the head of ServiceNow’s Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry in a press release. “We are working closely with organizations to rapidly ramp their vaccination efforts and adding new capabilities to our Vaccine Administration Management solution twice a month as the landscape evolves and more vaccines become available.”

And that, my friends, is the true power of the cloud:

  • the world’s greatest tech vendors creating powerful new specialized applications for industries and even subsegments of industries;
  • giving customers access to more innovation more quickly;
  • shattering the old mindsets about what is and is not possible; and
  • proving that extraordinary things can happen when businesses put their customers and not their own history at the center of everything they do.

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