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Global CIO: Top 10 Most Influential IT Vendors, Part 2 (Microsoft And HP?)

Here are #6 through #10 on our list of the most vital and strategic vendors—and as with Part 1, it includes some surprises re who's in and who's out.

Earlier this week, I wrote about the five companies making up the top half of of my list of the industry's 10 most-influential IT vendors—IBM, Apple, Facebook, Oracle, and Google—and today we're rolling out the second half of that list.

As noted in that earlier column covering the five most-influential IT companies, the criteria here center on influence above all else: market cap, size, best TV ads, vacation policies, etc. Per my description accompanying that first list:

"Cloud computing, mobile, analytics, people-oriented apps, virtualization, revising the stack, flipping 80/20, coping with information explosion, the social enterprise, and more: CIOs have had to turn numerous conceptual challenges into business solutions this year, and I suspect the global business climate in 2011 will only accelerate that pace of change.

"In that context, my list of the 10 most-influential IT vendors from 2010 and into 2011 isn't based in sheer mass or market cap or history but rather on the influence those companies have had not just on IT organizations but on how businesses and other large organizations think about technology, how they deploy it, and how they are using it to transform their organizations."

For CIOs, the potential value of such a list will likely be as a conversation-starter: in a business world that's changing rapidly and forcing you to deal with new customers and new market dynamics and new ways of engaging with all of those forces in new ways, which IT vendors are best-suited to help you meet and overcome those challenges?

Is it the same group that you relied on 10 years ago, or five years ago, or even one year ago? Is your ideal mix tilting more toward big companies or small, software companies or hardware companies (and is there still a difference?), SaaS or on-premise, new or old, leading-edge or traditional, new-wave or old-school?

The first five on our list included some stalwarts (IBM and Oracle) as well as three companies outside the traditional IT industry: Facebook, Apple, and Google. That's because this list is all about influence: influence on products, on marketing, on technology, on customer engagements, and so on. And those newcomers have without question exerted profound influence on how businesses and their IT organizations think about technology, buy technology, use technology, and weave it ever more deeply into their long-term strategy and execution.

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For these next five, the ratio of traditional versus new is slightly different: three longtime IT powerhouses and two relative newcomers to the highest levels of enterprise technology.

Before meeting five more of the most influential IT vendors for 2010 and 2011, and to offer some context as we get started, here's a recap of the first five:

#1) IBM

#2) Apple

#3) Facebook

#4) Oracle

#5) Google

Now on to #6 (and for extended analyses of each company, please be sure to check out our "Recommended Reading" list at the end of this column):

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