The Cloud Wars of 2019: Where Davids and Goliaths Both Reign
In the Cloud Wars, three victors stand, providing enterprise-level resource platforms to large brands. Their footfalls reverberate from earth to sky, as the size of their enterprise resource planning-style solutions swipe away competitors left and right. Adobe/Marketo, Oracle, and Salesforce are winning in the fight for big martech dollars and their battles have been long and hard, with newcomers to the field continuing to nip at their heels — often in the niches.
We talk with thought leaders from the Big 3, who provide insight about why marketers value cloud ERPs. Plus, we take a look at two nascent cloud competitors — the Davids nipping at the heels of the Goliaths.
But first, we take a look at why Adobe/Marketo, Oracle, and Salesforce outlasted many mighty ERPs, some of which we profiled in our 2016 cover story about the Cloud Wars. In that article, ERPs for marketing were relatively new. The all-in-one, cloud-based solutions — that handled everything from data to marketing automation — still had some kinks to work out. And competition shook out the platforms that marketers found weren’t actually solutions to their problems.
And now, brands’ challenges and opportunities in today’s data-rich, customer experience-driven marketplace are only multiplying, almost matching the pace of the creation of thousands of the new martech solutions available to them.
As Salesforce puts it in its most recent “State of Marketing” report:
“Today, successful campaigns rely on an ever-expanding number of data sources — from email open rates to transaction history to ad clicks — in order to reach the right individual with the right offer. As a result, the pace at which marketers are expanding their data portfolios is mind-blowing. The median number of data sources is projected to jump from 10 in 2017 to 15 in 2019 — a 50% increase in just two years.”
The Goliaths of the Cloud Wars
So how are marketers solving those problems, ensuring their ROI reaches the sky? Let’s find out.
The Davids of the Cloud Wars
Every battle enlists new soldiers, and the Cloud Wars are no different. Even as competition leaves only the mightiest Goliaths standing, the Davids continue to bring their slingshots to the fight.
The nascent cloud competitors are looking for chinks in the armor of the victors who serve big companies with their big clouds, and the newest clouds that seem to be finding those areas of vulnerability are in the niches.
Workday, for instance, started in 2005 and provides enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. Despite being the baby of PeopleSoft’s founder, Dave Duffield, he and Aneel Bhusri, a colleague from PeopleSoft (now part of Oracle), are making a giant dent in the ERP sky.
So, too, is Mailchimp. Originally known for its email marketing offerings, the company kept getting requests from its 11 million SMB clients to offer more marketing products so they could do more to serve their 4 billion contacts. So Mailchimp did, and is no longer considered a “Baby Cloud,” in the least.
While not a small cloud, Mailchimp’s all-in-one marketing platform is still a toddler. It was officially born a few months ago — in May 2019. In the announcement, Ben Chestnut — Mailchimp’s CEO and co-founder — says: “For more than two years, we’ve been adding new features, like landing pages, Facebook ads, Google remarketing ads, postcards, social posting, and our marketing CRM tools that have become the heart of the Mailchimp platform.”
Similarly, Workday is one of the newer clouds winning notable market share.
Per its site, “Workday delivers financial management, human capital management, planning, and analytics applications designed for the world’s largest companies, educational institutions, and government agencies. Organizations ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 50 enterprises have selected Workday.”
In other words, more than the Big 3 are holding up the sky in the Cloud Wars.