#11) Microsoft. My colleagues Rob Preston and Art Wittmann think I'm nuts for not having Microsoft in the Top 10 but I'll again lean on the single criterion of influence as the basis for putting Microsoft at #11. The company is astoundingly profitable, big, pervasive, ambitious, well-known, and busy, and I give CEO Steve Ballmer a lot of credit for what he's done with the company's "all-in" commitment to the cloud and online versions of its products. But, the fact is that the ground no longer shakes when Microsoft walks, and Microsoft no longer sets the course that others must follow. Perhaps that will change, although that'd be a huge challenge for a company of Microsoft's size, and will be even tougher with Ray Ozzie leaving.
#12) EMC. Spanning the dynamic categories of world-class storage to information management and on down to its fledgling move into optimized systems with its acquisition of Greenplum, EMC's got an admirable position in the market, a terrific customer base, and broad set of products and technologies that CIOs depend upon for some truly mission-critical responsibilities. But is EMC changing the game for its customers, and forcing its competitors to react with great urgency? Can it define a new vision for information strategy for the mobile-social-collaborative-ultravideo-always-on world that (a) transcends what EMC currently does and (b) delivers great new business value to customers?
13) Jive Software. The folks that helped make wikis and social media industrial-strength are looking to dramatically accelerate their acceptance among global corporations with their new "social business" strategy. Pairing a range of new products and capabilities with its pioneering technology, and leveraging those with some aggressive new partnerships, Jive has helped lots of big and mid-sized companies take the collaborative-enterprise concept from theory to reality. And, it's the only privately held company on this list—but just how long will that be the case??
14) Citrix. Quietly but assertively assaulting antiquated notions of how IT infrastructures cannot exist without being overly complex, overly brittle, and overly expensive, Citrix has been a trailblazer in virtualization and effective cloud strategies without garnering the fanfare of some of its competitors. But its customers have surely noticed, and CEO Mark Templeton has Citrix closing in on $2 billion in annual revenue as CIOs are placing increasing levels of trust in Citrix to offer not only fresh ideas but also practical and effective technology solutions to the crushing problems confronting CIOs today.
15) Tibco. With several straight record-setting quarters under his belt, and with $1 billion in annual revenue now within range, Tibco founder and CEO Vivek Ranadive has become quite vocal in making the case that the big traditional software architectures designed by big traditional software companies to solve big traditional IT problems are simply not up to the challenges of this second decade of the 21st century. Promising to deliver to customers his "two-second advantage," Ranadive and Tibco are at the forefront of turning real-time business into a reality and giving their customers unprecedented ability to anticipate and eliminate problems, and to anticipate and pounce on opportunities.
Next comes Dell: