This is the last in a three-part ASUG Guest Perspective series contributed by Bob Evans, Acceleration Economy co-founder, CloudWars founder, and digital business expert. Evans is a keynote speaker in this month’s ASUG Best Practices: SAP for Cloud virtual conference. More information on the conference can be found at

As customers become more demanding and less loyal, and disruptive newcomers rattle every industry and organizational structures get flipped upside-down and business cycles are squashed and the Great Reshuffle is shredding workforces, there has never been a better time for great leaders to shine.

That’s because what we’re experiencing is not simply a rough stretch of road. It is, in fact, the very volatile nature of the global economy’s entire journey. This crazy world—with all its tumultuous and incessant twists and turns—is, for better or worse (and I believe for better), the new normal, new abnormal, new hyper-normal, or whatever you choose to call it.

Incredible Opportunities for New Leaders

Those disruptive forces are creating incredible opportunities for a new generation of leaders who don’t see the world through the old boundaries of traditional organizational structures. Who don’t see a company’s future being defined by what it has done in the past. Who are not afraid to embrace relentless change as a competitive advantage rather than fear it as an existential threat.

While these new leaders might carry traditional CXO titles, I think there will be very little that’s “traditional” about how they work, set priorities, measure performance and results, what metrics are the focus, and how they view—and change—established processes, departmental hierarchies, and reward systems.

They are focused on customers, growth, innovation, and acceleration. No matter what industry they happen to be in, they believe they must become data-driven digital businesses as rapidly as possible.

Greatest Growth Market Ever

These are the real drivers of the enterprise cloud, which is quite simply the greatest growth market the world has ever known.

Across the Cloud Wars Top 10, total revenue for 2022 will soar past $300 billion. Those huge numbers are nice for those 10 companies, but what they truly represent is that businesses are buying cloud technology at unprecedented rates.

And they’re not spending all that money to simply do what they’ve always done a little bit better or less expensively. Instead, they’re banking on the cloud to become innovation engines, high-speed analyzers of data, and to power new levels of execution that will let them dazzle customers.

As we surge into the digital economy, every business that wants to thrive in that new world needs to do four things:

  1. reimagine their business models
  2. optimize their digital futures
  3. accelerate their growth decisions
  4. then, armed with those new capabilities, dazzle their customers and employees.

Savage Competition in the Cloud

All of this is happening at a pace unlike anything the business world has ever seen. A major factor behind this acceleration is the absolutely savage competition among the Cloud Wars Top 10. Those 10 companies—and hundreds of other tech vendors—are pumping out extraordinary new products, services, technologies, solutions, and innovation strategies at a head-spinning pace. These are enabling their business customers to constantly discover how to do things they could never do before, create new products never possible, and engage with customers more intimately than they ever had.

In this environment, CXOs must think beyond their command-and-control models and instead look at what is possible, where the world is headed, and what businesses their customers demand they be in within 12 months.

Regardless of their titles, they must:

  • be growth drivers and change-agents, not coddlers of old ways that stifle high-speed innovation
  • see their teams in the context of the organization’s entire end-to-end operations—or else they’ll become an anchor that slows down the high-speed progress essential in today’s disruptive times
  • tear down old ways of doing things that put the organization at the center of everything
  • replace that old culture with a new vision and a new model with the customer at the center of everything.

With old-world technology, it would have taken three years to do what now must be done in three months or perhaps just three weeks. That’s why the cloud—the greatest growth market the world has ever known—is the Re-Imagination Machine that can fire the imaginations of CXOs to go out and build the future, rather than let someone else’s future happen to them.

The modern cloud is as much a mindset as it is a technology because it gives the new breed CXO the ability to re-imagine business, revenue, customer-engagement, product-development, and pricing models. It also allows them to re-imagine the fusion of supply chain and demand chain, new ways of attracting and retaining world-class talent, and most important of all, new ways to dazzle customers and employees.

Those are the goals of the modern CXO, and the cloud is both the toolset and the mindset to attain them.

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