The clearest and most-unequivocal proof that the enterprise-cloud business has grown up and is fully ready for industrial-strength deployments is the recent pledges from top executives at Microsoft, SAP and Oracle to make customer success—not customer satisfaction or loyalty, but customer success—their top priority in 2018.
Those tech-industry giants have joined cloud-native SaaS providers Workday, Salesforce.com and ServiceNow in committing unconditionally to this new top-priority metric in the following ways:
revamping salespeople’s compensation to be based on cloud-services consumption and business success, rather than on what Microsoft CFO Amy Hood called “the billing cycle”;
creating new roles and positions within the organization specifically designed to bring all the cloud vendor’s resources to bear on ensuring successful deployments, go-lives and ongoing operations; and
launching new programs specifically designed to enable and enhance customer-to-customer communications.
These latest public pledges from three of the world’s biggest enterprise-tech companies—Microsoft, SAP and Oracle—underscore a prediction I made late last year that customer success would become the single most-important and defining issue for the entire industry in 2018.
I laid out this new premise for cloud leadership in an article called Cloud Computing Outlook 2018: The Top 10 Predictions For Winning The Cloud and here’s a quick excerpt to offer some context on just how transformative and sweeping this new movement has become:
Yes, brilliant cloud technology will remain essential—but I would argue that in as the cloud marketplace evolves at a stunning pace, that brilliant technology and resulting cloud services are becoming table stakes in the Cloud Wars.
And as a consequence, the true measure of strategic differentiation in the cloud will be how well those cloud vendors can, as noted above, map their offerings to their customers: the business priorities of big, mid-size and small companies in every industry and across every region on the planet.
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