- Evans Strategic Communications is a PR firm that helps companies get their marketing message out under what looks like articles.
- We analyze this paid placement in Forbes.
Video Introduction: How Accurate was Forbes and Bob Evans on AWS, IBM, Microsoft and Google in the Cloud?
Text Introduction (Skip if You Watched the Video)
In this article, we will review an article published in Forbes by Bob Evans. This article appears to be a paid placement in that both Bob Evans and Forbes were paid to make the article look like it was authentic journalism. This article also appears to have been paid for by cloud laggard IBM to make their cloud look competitive with AWS and GCP. This is amusing to anyone who works in the cloud, but IBM’s cloud does not come up in conversation. You will learn how firms like IBM hire rigged articles to help create a PR spin when they have uncompetitive offerings.
Our References for This Article
If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.
Lack of Financial Bias Notice: We have no financial ties to SAP or any other entity mentioned in this article.
- This is published by a research entity.
- Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department.
Beginning with What is Evans Strategic Communications
If we look at the author’s bio, it tells us interesting things about him.
(Note: After an award-winning career in the media business covering the tech industry, Bob Evans was VP of Strategic Communications at SAP in 2011, and Chief Communications Officer at Oracle from 2012 to 2016. He now runs his own firm, Evans Strategic Communications LLC.)
This author has no listed experience in doing anything but writing propaganda. He produced information that was pro-SAP and then switched to providing information that was pro-Oracle. Now he has his own company to hire him to write whatever you want to be pushed.
Notice his website…
Notice that it says he “helps businesses articulate their unique value.”
Notice that his website points you to read his articles on Forbes. Forbes is a primary outlet for his writing/analysis.
This much is very clear — Evans Strategic Communications is a PR firm. PR firms publish whatever their clients want them to publish for money. They lie for money. To be in PR means that definably, you do not care what is true and tell the story you are paid to tell. It is like hiring an attorney. An attorney can argue for you or against you — they don’t care which.
And none of this is disclosed on the Forbes website. Bob Evans claims he helps companies with their messaging. Interesting, does he do this for free, or does he charge for this service?
Now that we have discussed a bit about Evans Strategic Communications let us dive into the article.
Diving into the Actual Article
This table is from Bob Evans’ article.
Bob Evans lists the cloud revenues as reported by vendors — but does so without clarifying that Microsoft lumps things like Office365 into the cloud because it is embarrassed about how small its IaaS/Azure business is compared to AWS’s. IBM is listed with its “cloud” revenue without clarifying that most of IBM’s cloud is the same old hosted/data center business that IBM has had for years and that IBM is losing market share to AWS. Salesforce is included on the list, but why? Salesforce is a SaaS provider, not an IaaS provider.
Now we come to Evans’ claims or analysis if you want to call it that.
While Google said its GCP topped $1B in Q4 revenue, the shocker was that IBM outsold both Microsoft and Amazon in the cloud in Q4.
But outsold Microsoft and AWS in what?
Not in IaaS.
Evans Somehow Compares IBM to AWS
IBM has a large amount of badly managed outsourced hosted data center business. Is Bob Evans really unaware of how bad IBM’s reputation and customer service are in this space? It isn’t easy to find a satisfied IBM customer, with comment boards filled with IBM’s non-complimentary things.
IBM is a huge winner on multiple fronts, particularly in the revelation that its cloud business is only 3% smaller than Amazon’s and within 10% of market leader Microsoft.
Well, again, it is not the same thing. And next quarter, IBM won’t be because what Evans leaves out is that AWS is growing rapidly while IBM’s data center business is declining. A later graphic shows IBM growing 30% from the same quarter last year, but IBM’s data center business has been on a long-term decline.
The narrative—and it is dead wrong—repeated relentlessly and tirelessly by many in the media and amplified by some analysts that Amazon is the runaway winner in the cloud is baseless, sloppy and terribly misleading. In the IaaS space exclusively, yes indeed, Amazon’s AWS unit is the big cheese. But as the publicly available numbers shown throughout this article and within the embedded graphics reveal, Microsoft is the overall leader in the enterprise cloud,
Absolutely wrong. AWS is heralded for its IaaS. The topic is not AWS versus Microsoft’s Office365 business or other items Microsoft decides to put in the “cloud” bucket. Seriously where is the reporting of just Azure’s revenues by Microsoft? With 115,000 employees, is Microsoft too short on the workforce to break this out separately? Is there some reason that Evans is not simply limiting the discussion to Azure?
It seems like there is.
It’s time for that long-running string of extremely fake news that “Amazon rules the cloud” to come to an end.
What appears to be fake news to Evans is the reality, if it is not paid for by his client, which appears to be either IBM or a combination of IBM and Microsoft. I can tell which.
SAP and Oracle Out of it in the Cloud..And Their Clouds are Rubbish?
Bob Evans writes the following:
“Reports that long-time enterprise-software powerhouses Oracle and SAP are lost in the clouds is also pure rubbish.”
That is odd because SAP states that it gets roughly 12.7% of its revenues from SaaS/PaaS/IaaS combined — and almost all of that is from overpriced acquisitions. Oracle states that it receives around 16% of its revenues from SaaS/PaaS/IaaS.
However, that is an accounting trick by both of these vendors. The cloud being discussed here is could services, and there SAP and Oracle’s statistics drop in a major way.
As a person on SAP projects, I can say that I rarely see or use anything from SAP that is not on-premises. Using SAP and Oracle clouds is appalling inefficient, and really the only people that use or talk about SAP or Oracle’s cloud are financially biased SAP or Oracle resources.
So I agree SAP and Oracle cloud services are rubbish, and this is also widely known among those that work with cloud services. But let us find out why Bob Evans thinks their clouds are rubbish and why Bob Evans thinks these mega-vendors are cloud laggards.
Both companies are generating broad and deep growth for their cloud businesses, both are investing heavily in hybrid-cloud technologies to allow customers to continue to get maximum value out of their existing on-premises software in close collaboration with their new cloud services, and both companies are also investing heavily in customer-success programs essential to credibility in the cloud.
No, the revenue numbers contradict that claim. Neither company is gaining traction in the cloud, and AWS and GCP, along with many other small cloud service providers like Linode, keep growing.
Google Cloud Platform’s achievement of $1 billion in Q4 revenue is outstanding—but it’s also a clear indication that Google, for all of its astonishing technological and financial resources, has not until recently taken this market seriously.
This seems like the only part of the article that is true.
Yes, Google seems not to have its heart in its GCP. It might be difficult to focus when you make $60 (in 2018) billion per year in just serving ads.
However, upon updating this article in 2021, this has changed. In 2020, Google lost $5.6 billion on $13.1 billion. This shows that Google is very focused on GCP and willing to take losses to continue to play in the space. However, where this topic gets bizarre is that Bob Evans pointed this out in a later article. In February 2021, Bob Evans stated the following in the article 5 Reasons Why Google Cloud’s $5.6-Billion Loss Is Excellent News..
While Google Cloud lost $5.6 billion on revenue of $13.1 billion for 2020, a deeper look both into the numbers and at current and future marketplace dynamics shows that the $5.6-billion loss actually reflects excellent performance. Google Cloud has become the world’s fastest-growing major cloud company, and its rate of growth has actually begun to accelerate even as its business gets larger; the market Google Cloud is pursuing is enormous—surely many hundreds of billions of dollars, and perhaps into the trillions of dollars; and I’ll wrap up with this comment from Alphabet CFO Porat, who is absolutely not one to sugarcoat anything: “Looking forward, we will continue to focus on revenue growth driven by ongoing investment in products and the go-to-market organization. Cloud’s operating loss reflects that we have meaningfully built out our organization ahead of revenues, as we’ve discussed in prior quarters with respect to the substantial investments in our go-to-market organization as well as engineering and technical infrastructure.
This is curious. How did Bob Evans view GCP change 180 degrees in 3 years without explaining his earlier position? Did he perhaps pick up Google as a client?
Let us go back to the first article.
Evans Puts on the Spin Cycle
“IBM has not only created an “as a service” cloud business approaching $10 billion, but it has also exploited with great success its “power of incumbency” among the world’s largest corporations by offering hardware, software and consulting services to help those customers convert their legacy systems into cloud or cloud-compatible environments. That’s become a $7-billion business for IBM with some outstanding customer use cases. On the other end, IBM’s close coupling of cloud plus AI/cognitive via Watson has been brilliant.”
That is also false. Watson has been a failure and makes very little money for IBM. And this was known back in 2018 by anyone who had investigated Watson, which we did, and you can read in the article How Gartner Got IBM Watson so Wrong. (This article was written in 2019. However, the sources in the article go back to 2018)
Evans Lauds the Declining Salesforce
“Salesforce continues to be unique (as if a company run by Marc Benioff could be anything else), innovative, and fast-growing. Having hit $10 billion, Benioff is hell-bent on getting to $20 billion in just a few years, but he and his company will have to continue finding new revenue categories, notably in the platform area.”
Yes, while offering one of the worst CRM systems with the highest price tag in existence and using on-premises vendor lock-in techniques. Salesforce’s growth is slowing, which is natural as a company matures, but Salesforce is losing its cachet with customers. It is no longer chosen because it is competitive but because it is the standard.
“Oracle has a fast-growing SaaS business accounting for about 75% of its total cloud revenue, but chairman Larry Ellison has said many times that he believes Oracle’s PaaS business will become even bigger than its SaaS business, particularly as the database-as-a-service offering gains momentum among customers. Ellison also believes Oracle’s advanced IaaS technology can snatch huge chunks of share from Amazon.”
Well, if Larry Ellison said it, it must be true. When has Larry Ellison ever lied? BTW, no one outside of Larry Ellison and people that work for Oracle thinks this is true. Just the opposite, we predict AWS will continue to convert Oracle customers from the Oracle DB to other DBs and migrate Oracle on-premises DBs to AWS.
In every article, I found from Bob Evans, executive quotations featured prominently, and Bob Evans would nearly never critique that executive’s statement. Naturally, he is not an analyst but a PR professional, however, he is posing as one.
This is the problem when Forbes is purchased by a Chinese conglomerate, stops paying authors, but is paid by authors and when PR firms are allowed to publish what appears to be articles that are, in fact, paid placements. IBM or IBM and Microsoft paid Bob Evans or Evans Strategy Communications to write this article. Pure and simple, and Evans Strategic Communications website declares that this is what it does, so it is no stretch.
Bob Evans’s articles show evidence of this 100% financial bias, and Bob Evan’s views switched from article to article without any explanation why his views are changing. And Forbes owners think this is all fantastic, and they are just an absentee landlord that rents out space on their website; they probably don’t notice.
This article receives a 2 out of 10 for accuracy (one point above the bottom for the correct assertion about Google being slow to pick up the cloud). And Bob Evans continues as one of the lowest accuracy writers that we track.