Cloud Wars Top 10 Special Report:
Which Cloud Vendors Will Thrive in 2021?

By Bob Evans, Founder and Primary Analyst, Cloud Wars Media

After a year like no other—and one that we’re all eager to put behind us—billions of people have surged into digital lifestyles and digital workstyles that have transformed every aspect of our lives. Profoundly. Permanently. And more rapidly than anyone could have imagined. So whether you choose to think of this as the new normal or the new abnormal, the digital world is here to stay—for us, for our children, for our friends, and for the entire world.

In that context, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity throughout 2020 to observe and analyze 10 companies that have had and are continuing to have as big an impact on those extraordinary changes and our new reality as any 10 companies in any industry on Earth.

From that vantage point, I wanted to create this Special Report to analyze where the cloud industry will be headed in 2021, and what each of the remarkable companies in the Cloud Wars Top 10 can be expected to pursue in the coming year.

Those 10 companies—Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce, Google, SAP, Oracle, IBM, Workday, ServiceNow, and Adobe—have provided the digital foundations for the sweeping and unprecedented transformations that have touched and impacted not only their business customers but also the billions of people around the world who rely on those businesses for food, healthcare, communication, financial services, energy, everyday essentials, education, employment, the diversions of entertainment, and more.

Am I perhaps getting carried away a bit here? Possibly.

But maybe not. After all, look at the confidence and trust and sky-high expectations people have placed in and on the Cloud Wars Top 10:

  • the combined market-cap of the world’s Top 10 banks* is $4.81 trillion
  • the combined market-cap of the Cloud Wars Top 10** is $5.21 trillion

That comparison will no doubt drive some folks crazy—it’s not relevant, it changes over time, market-caps aren’t a meaningful indicator of an industry’s true value, etc., etc. I wish those folks well, and encourage them to take a deep breath.

$4.81T

The combined market-cap of the world’s Top 10 banks*

vs.

$5.21T

The combined market-cap of the Cloud Wars Top 10**

The fact is, that comparison shows, quite starkly, that the world right now is putting a significantly greater value ($400 billion) on the capabilities and potential of the world’s 10 biggest and most-influential cloud companies than it does on the world’s 10 biggest banks.

If that’s not extreme impact and influence and relevance, then I don’t know what is. And here’s why that matters so much for 2021—and why I’ve created this Special Report.

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, CEO of the world’s largest and most-influential cloud vendor, said in mid-2020 that as a consequence of the pandemic, the world underwent 2 years’ worth of digital transformation in 2 months. We’ve seen hospitals scale from doing 30 telemedicine visits per day to 8,000 per day; we’ve seen logistics companies reimagine not just what they do but the heart of value they deliver to their customers; we’ve seen omnichannel become wholly essential in not just retail but almost every industry; and we’ve seen pharmaceutical companies boldly harness digital technology to shatter the previously immutable boundaries of medical research.

We’ve seen data become the new currency of the business world, and we’ve seen massive global workforces shatter the notion of “work/life separation” (although I have to say I thought it was always a rather rickety construct anyway). We’ve seen Zoom become a verb, we’ve seen 5G become not just a concept but a reality, and we’re witnessing the first skirmishes in what will surely be a revolution in the world of higher education.

All of these extraordinary transformations—every single one of them and countless more—are built on the cloud. And none of them would have been possible—particularly in the absurdly short timeframes we’ve seen here in the absurdly strange world of 2020—without the cloud.

So what can we expect from these cloud leaders in the coming year?

What world-changing disruptions will they foster, create, or accelerate?

How will they continue to provide unprecedented levels of innovation and opportunity for not only the businesses they work with, but also the billions of consumers who engage with and depend on those businesses?

That’s the promise of this Cloud Wars Top 10 Special Report: a look into which of these world-shaping enterprise-cloud companies will thrive in the coming year that holds the promise of being as booming and creative and dynamic as many facets of 2020 have been stifling, frustrating, and isolating.

Thanks very much for making the time to join us on this look into the future.

Please share your reactions and questions with me at [email protected] or on our social-media posts on LinkedIn and Twitter, @bobevansIT. Because, as my dear friend Christopher Lochhead likes to say of everyone, “The future needs you.”

Explore The Cloud Wars Top 10 Special Report

SAP

About The Author

I’ve analyzed the enterprise-tech business for more than 25 years as an editorial executive and more recently as Chief Communications Officer at Oracle. I’ve written thousands of articles and columns about business innovation, strategy, leadership, disruptive technology, digital transformation, cloud computing, AI and more. In late 2016, I resigned from Oracle to launch the Cloud Wars franchise. It began with the Cloud Wars Top 10 ranking and weekly articles, and has since expanded into daily articles, a weekly newsletter, a podcast with more than 200 episodes, and now this one-of-a-kind Special Report.

This project has been enhanced by the contributions of my longtime friend and former colleague John Foley, a brilliant chronicler of the tech industry and its massive impacts on the business world. John has written the company overviews for Amazon AWS and Adobe, and my only misgiving about having him involved is that the quality of his work will be so clearly superior to mine.

About The Author

I’ve analyzed the enterprise-tech business for more than 25 years as an editorial executive and more recently as Chief Communications Officer at Oracle. I’ve written thousands of articles and columns about business innovation, strategy, leadership, disruptive technology, digital transformation, cloud computing, AI and more. In late 2016, I resigned from Oracle to launch the Cloud Wars franchise. It began with the Cloud Wars Top 10 ranking and weekly articles, and has since expanded into daily articles, a weekly newsletter, a podcast with more than 200 episodes, and now this one-of-a-kind Special Report.

This project has been enhanced by the contributions of my longtime friend and former colleague John Foley, a brilliant chronicler of the tech industry and its massive impacts on the business world. John has written the company overviews for Amazon AWS and Adobe, and my only misgiving about having him involved is that the quality of his work will be so clearly superior to mine.

*World’s 10 largest banks: I used a list from CEOworld Magazine and calculated the market cap for each as of 4:00pm on Nov. 3, 2020. The 10 banks and their market caps at that time are JPMorgan Chase ($315.2 billion), Industrial & Commercial Bank of China ($242.3 billion), Bank of America ($214.4 billion), China Construction Bank ($1.4 trillion), Wells Fargo ($90.1 billion), Agricultural Bank of China ($1.26 trillion), HSBC Holdings ($92 billion), Citigroup ($91.1 billion), Bank of China ($998 billion), and Royal Bank of Canada ($102.9 billion).

**Market caps for the Cloud Wars Top 10 at 4:00pm on Nov. 3, 2020: Microsoft ($1.57 trillion), Amazon ($1.54 trillion), Salesforce ($216.3 billion), Google ($1.14 trillion), SAP ($130.1 billion), Oracle ($171.5 billion), IBM ($101.8 billion), Workday ($49.3 billion), ServiceNow ($93.9 billion), and Adobe ($218.5 billion).