15 Enterprise Tech Rock Stars You've Never Heard Of But Should Know

Annika Jimenez PivotalPivotal’s lead data scientist, Annika Jimenez

There’s a major revolution going on right now in enterprise technology. 

Apps, devices, cloud computing, big data, networks, software are all being overhauled.

There are lots of well-known people leading the charge like Cisco’s CEO John Chambers, Salesforce.com’s CEO Marc Benioff and Box’s CEO Aaron Levie.

But they aren’t working alone. Behind the big names are thousands of people doing their part to change the IT world.

Among them, some stand out for handing critical areas for their respective companies.

Fred Luddy, founder and chief product officer, ServiceNow

Fred Luddy describes himself as 'just a programmer' but he's known as the quiet genius behind ServiceNow, a super successful enterprise cloud company that helped cure the IPO market after the Facebook disaster.

ServiceNow is a cloud tool that let's IT departments manage their help desk and other technology projects.

Luddy started the company out of near desperation, he told Business Insider. He had been the CTO of Peregrine Systems when it filed for bankruptcy in 2002. His net worth 'dropped to zero' overnight. So he figured he had nothing to lose by starting his own gig.

His net worth is fine now. ServiceNow has a $5 billion market cap and he was paid $11 million (stock plus salary) in 2012 alone.

Partha Ranganathan, Fellow, HP Labs

Partha Ranganathan led the research team for what is perhaps HP's biggest breakout enterprise product of 2013, the Moonshot server.

This is a server that uses low-power chips that power mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These servers use 89 per cent less energy, and cost about half as much, as traditional servers.

Low-power servers are set to revolutionise the data centre industry and thanks to Ranganathan's work, HP could become a power-player here.

At 40, he's also the youngest HP Fellow on staff.

Amy Parnell, Principal Designer, LinkedIn

LinkedIn has forever changed the way businesses hire employees.

It also created new ways for business folk to meet, connect, conduct business.

Amy Parnell lead LinkedIn's redesigns for the uber important Homepage and Profile pages. She's known for being a wiz at all things tech: engineering, web development and data science and is a rising star to watch within the company.

Kris Gale, Vice President of Engineering, Yammer/Microsoft

Microsoft stunned the industry with its $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer last year.

One big reason was that Microsoft wanted Yammer's tech team to teach it how to enter the brave new world of constantly updated cloud apps.

They are looking to Kris Gale to show them. Gale oversees all product development engineering at Yammer and was an original member of Yammer's engineering team, where he created a product that could scale from the company's public launch through its first three years of rapid growth.

Hilton Romanski, VP of Business Development, Cisco

Hilton Romanski leads Cisco's all important mergers and acquisition strategy.

Cisco is a very important player in the tech industry because it's on a perennial shopping spree. It acquires the tech it needs, instead of funding a massive internal R&D effort.

Over the last 15 months, Hilton has led 18 acquisitions, 17 of which were of software companies. He reports to Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior.

Edzard Overbeek, SVP, Cisco Services

Cisco is madly trying to remake itself into an 'IT company' that offers a smorgasbord of IT products beyond networking hardware.

Edzard Overbeek has a key role in that.

He's setting the strategy for Cisco's Services portfolio -- about 20% of the company's overall revenue. He's been tasked with doubling software revenue to $12 billion over the next five years.

He's the former head of the Asia/Pacific region for Cisco.

Alex Bard, SVP and GM Service Cloud and Desk.com, Salesforce.com

Alex Bard runs Salesforce.com's Service Cloud and Desk.com units, which between them have 34,000 companies as customers.

He came to Salesforce in 2011 when Marc Benioff acquired his company Assistly. Assistly, a customer service app for small businesses, has since been relaunched as Desk.com.

That was his fourth startup (he previously helped found eShare Technologies, eAssist Global Solutions and Goowy Media which was acquired by AOL.)

He's also an advisor and investor in several start-ups including Klout, Kabam, Get Around, Space Monkey, LaunchRock, Foodzie, Stitch Labs, 310 Labs and Social Leverage.

Bruce Davie, principal engineer, Networking and Security, VMware

Annika Jimenez, Global Head of Data Science Services, Pivotal

Sam Schillace, VP Engineering, Box

Alright. We admit, you may have heard of Sam Schillace, but he belongs on this list of enterprise rock stars anyway.

He founded a startup called Writely, which he sold to Google, setting him off on a stellar career that most recently landed him at Box.

Writely became the foundation of Google Docs and Schillace the engineering director for it. He also worked on Blogger, Reader, Gmail and more.

He was working as a VC at Google Ventrues when Aaron Levie convinced him to join Box and make it into a true rival to Google Docs and Microsoft SharePoint/Office. He's still an advisor at Google Ventures.

Julia White, General Manager, Office Division Technical Marketing, Microsoft

Julia White is the voice of Microsoft's cash-cow Microsoft Office franchise including Microsoft Office, Office 365 and Exchange.

She lead's the unit's technical marketing group. It's her job to convince Microsoft customers to try Office 365 and Microsoft says she's doing that well. Office 365 and its on track to be a billion-dollar business this year, Microsoft says.

Rajiv Batra, cofounder and SVP, Engineering, Palo Alto Networks

When most people think of Palo Alto Networks, they think of charismatic cofounder Nir Zuk, a brilliant engineer who came up with the idea to rebuild the basic security product every enterprise has, the firewall.

But here's a shout out to Palo Alto's other cofounder Rajiv Batra, who today runs the company's engineering team.

Prior to Palo Alto, Batra ran engineering at Peribit acquired by Juniper Networks in 2005 for $337 million. Before that he co-founded VitalSigns Software (acquired by International Network Services in 1998).

Palo Alto Networks had a healthy IPO in 2012, and its shares are still going strong.

Ash Ashutosh, founder and CEO, Actifio

Actifio is a rising star in the enterprise storage startup world and it's the brainchild of founder and CEO Ash Ashutosh.

Actifio helps enterprise save money on storage by eliminating the extra copies of the same bits of data that a company stores over and over again.

Prior to founding Actifio, Ash was a VC with Greylock Partners. Prior to that, he founded two companies and guided them to successful exits. The last one was AppIQ acquired by HP.

Actifio recently closed a $50 million round with a $500 million valuation. Total funding is $107 million from Andreessen Horowitz and others.

Geddes Munson, Lead Solutions Architect, Mixpanel

Mixpanel is a San Francisco startup with an all-star cast of investors.

It sells an analytics platform for mobile and web apps that tells developers how people are using their apps.

It's backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Yelp's Max Levchin, Salesforce.com's Marc Benioff, Yammer's David Sacks. ($12 million total.)

Geddes helps Mixpanel's customers use the tech which means he hobnobs with startups like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, Fitbit and Jawbone. All told, the three-year-old company has 900+ customers.

Inder Gopal, VP of networking and technical strategy, IBM

There's a major revolution going on in the network industry around a new tech called software-defined networking. IBM's Inder Gopal has just put himself in the middle of it.

SDN takes all the fancy features that networking hardware performs and puts them into software. Companies can then buy less-expensive hardware and less of it.

Enterprises want it.

Gopal who leads IBMs networking business, recently became chair of a somewhat controversial new consortium called the OpenDaylight Project. The project's goal is to build new SDN technology that vendors can freely use and share.

It's controversial because the industry already a consortium working on SDN tech, the Open Networking Foundation, and the hardware industry is on the brink of all out war over this new tech, with lots of fragmentation and a bunch of products that won't work together.

Gopal has a big job in making all of these opposing forces, fighting over billions of dollars, play nicely together.

More people changing the enterprise tech world ...

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