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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.
9) Cisco. This was a tough one: on the one hand, Cisco's all over the map to the point that it's hard to know where its center is located, while on the other hand you could argue that Cisco's pervasive impact makes it impossible to ignore on a list such as this. So I have to say that Cisco gains this spot largely through inertia: doing a lot of things that CIOs depend upon, plus a few things CIOs are evaluating (notably telepresence and other forms of video). But why's the company been so quiet about its Unified Computing System—you know, it's big-bang introduction that was going to forever change the nature of data centers and indeed all of enterprise IT by tying networking, storage, and servers all together? To reclaim a spot within the Top 10 for next year, Cisco will need to demonstrate more forcefully its commitment to where CIOs need to be headed in the future, rather than just describing grand visions. (See Global CIO: IBM Turns Guns On Cisco With Acquisition Of Blade Network and Global CIO: Will Cisco's Revolutionary Router Torpedo Tinseltown?.)

#10) Hewlett-Packard. Another tough call because for a variety of reasons, HP's great people have been forced to play rope-a-dope for the past 2-1/2 months. But even before that, HP seemed to want to be known as the world's biggest PC supplier, or the world's broadest supplier of IT equipment, or perhaps both—and in the emerging world of extreme-performance systems and software-driven enterprises, the HP big-and-broad position just wasn't enough. Not by a long shot.

In my final analysis, HP would not have made this list were it not for its recent spate of acquisitions. I figured that even if HP's current product lineup does not indicate the type of high-performance leadership (outside of networking) that CIOs desperately need right now, the company seems to realize that and has reasserted some industry oomph and influence by the sheer dint of its willingness to deal.

New CEO Leo Apotheker has some awfully big questions to answer as he embarks on what will no doubt be a memorable adventure atop the world's largest IT company: at the high end, can his company compete with IBM and Oracle? In mobile, does he really think the Palm OS will allow him to compete with Apple and Google? In software, HP's got some very strong management and optimization products, and an impressive new leader in Bill Veghte, but can HP become a real force in the emerging analytics-driven IT industry without enterprise applications?

If Apotheker and his team can come up with some assertive and creative solutions to those questions (think M&A), then HP will remain in the Top 10 Most Influential camp and probably move up a few spots. But if Apotheker and team are only able to make HP a bit bigger without making it a lot more relevant, valuable, and essential, then their big-time influence will dissipate in a big-time way. (See Global CIO: HP's $130-Billion Gamble and Global CIO: An Open Letter To HP CEO Leo Apotheker.)

#11) The Next 10. Some IT industry stalwarts have clearly not made the Top 10 (Microsoft? Dell? EMC?), and we'll take a look at the next 10 next week. But to wrap things up, here's a look at the Top 10 Most Influential IT Vendors for 2010, the ones who more than any other companies are shaping the future of how businesses think about, purchase, and deploy technology, and how they use it to excite and delight customers and to make themselves more successful:

#1) IBM

#2) Apple

#3) Facebook

#4) Oracle

#5) Google

#6) SAP

#7) VMware

#8) Salesforce.com

#9) Cisco

#10) Hewlett-Packard.

See you next week with the Next 10 to conclude this series—please let me know what you think.

RECOMMENDED READING:

Global CIO: The Top 10 Most Influential IT Vendors (Apple And Facebook?)

Global CIO: Steve Jobs Declares War On Google

Global CIO: Bank Of VMware: Its Bold Plan To Fund Your Applications

Global CIO: HP's $130-Billion Gamble

Global CIO: An Open Letter To HP CEO Leo Apotheker

Global CIO: IBM Turns Guns On Cisco With Acquisition Of Blade Network

Global CIO: Will Cisco's Revolutionary Router Torpedo Tinseltown?

Global CIO: How SAP Is Leading The Mobile-Enterprise Revolution

Global CIO: SAP's Sweeping Turnaround: Exclusive Co-CEO Interview

Global CIO: VMware CEO On Future Of Virtualization

Global CIO: Salesforce.com CEO Benioff On Beating Microsoft And SAP In The Cloud

Global CIO: Salesforce.com CEO Benioff On IT Scams And Cloud Power

Global CIO: Google CEO Eric Schmidt's Top 10 Reasons Mobile Is #1

Global CIO: Oracle –Sun A Bad Deal? Only A Fool Would Say That

Global CIO: Larry Ellison And The New Oracle Rock The Tech World

Global CIO: Will Social Media Kill The CIO?

Global CIO: IBM's Top Product Exec On Strategy, Systems, & Oracle

Global CIO: The Awesome Transformative Power Of The Apple iPad

Global CIO: Is IBM Or Apple The World's #1 Tech Brand?

Global CIO: IBM's Blazing New MainframeWins Raves From Citigroup

Global CIO: 10 Reasons CIOs Will Get Fired This Year

GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].