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Consumer tech gets most of the attention but enterprise tech is really the stuff that’s changing the world.It is changing the way you work, the way you find a job, even the kind of jobs available.
Plus, it’s enriching investors. Where Facebook’s IPO was a mess, enterprise IPOs from Jive, Splunk, and Infoblox were big hits. And there’s more hot enterprise IPOs coming.
So it’s time shine a spotlight on the enterprise tech that is quietly rocking your world and the people who are leading it.
John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco.
Chambers has been CEO of bellweather Cisco Systems since 1995. He flies around in his private jet consorting with heads of state and the CEOs of the world's largest companies. Thanks to him, Cisco has been the most powerful company in enterprise networks for decades.
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft.
Since Bill Gates retired from daily work at Microsoft in 2008, Ballmer has really come into his own as CEO. He's making big changes that could rock the tech world by revamping Windows 8 and entering the tablet hardware business.
Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, fellow at the Linux Foundation.
Torvalds is a brilliant guy. The operating system he created -- and the open source method he helped pioneer -- changed the software world. He remains at the centre of it all.
Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell.
When Dell talks about tech people listen. They are listening more since he finally has a plan to survive the post-PC era. He's gunning for the enterprise and has made nearly a dozen acquisitions to make it happen.
Brad Anderson, president, Enterprise Solutions, for Dell.
Anderson is leading Dell's transformation from PC company to big enterprise player like HP, Cisco or IBM. Dell stole Anderson from HP, where he helped HP build its server and storage businesses.
Ping Li, partner with Accel Partners.
Li is known for funding cloud and big data startups. He lead Accel in creating a $100 million Big Data Fund and brought in advisors from Facebook, Standford, Bit.ly to help him run it. His investments include BitTorrent, Blue Jeans Network, Cloudera and others.
Charlie Giancarlo, partner, Silver Lake.
Giancarlo was once the CEO heir apparent at Cisco, but Chambers won't retire. So Giancarlo left and become a powerful enterprise VC. He's best known for Skype, though he's also on Netflix's board. He's got major clout in the network industry.
Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President, Chrome and Apps, Google.
Pichai is responsible for Google's $1 billion enterprise business which includes 1,200 employees. Google Apps had a huge impact on enterprises, as an alternative to Microsoft Office. It pushed Microsoft into the cloud.
Aaron Levie, co-founder and CEO, Box.
Levie built one of the hottest startups in the Valley. Levie turned a ho-hum file sharing idea into the next big collaboration thing. He even launched a program to get developers to write apps, turning Box into an ecosystem. Next up, IPO?
Aneel Bhusri, Founder and Co-CEO of Workday and a partner, Greylock Partners.
Bhusri is part of the dream team who co-founded Workday. Workday is expected to file for its IPO any second -- the most anticipated IPO in enterprise. Plus, he's helped to fund a whole crop of other hot cloud startups including Okta, Cloudera, ServiceNow, Zuora.
Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com.
Everything about Benioff is big, outrageous and important. Benioff led the enterprise into the cloud and now he's bringing them into the 'social enterprise.' That includes big buyouts like Buddy Media. In his spare time, this billionaire is trying to get President Obama get re-elected.
Lars Dalgaard, founder SuccessFactors, executive board member, SAP.
Dalgaard is the Marc Benioff of SAP. He's a big personality that can sell his cloud vision both inside the company and out. He's got the uber important task of helping SAP integrate SuccessFactors and figure out cloud.
Larry Ellison, co-founder, CEO, Oracle
Ellison is a Silicon Valley icon. He's always got his eye on the future. After mastering enterprise software he's now trying to become the next IBM, with hardware, software and cloud. Ellison is also funding anti-ageing research. If successful, he'll be powerful for centuries.
Godfrey Sullivan, CEO, Splunk.
Lots of eyes are watching Sullivan and Splunk. Big data will build the next crop of giant companies and Splunk was the first of the lot to go public. His success is encouraging a whole new crop of entrepreneurs.
Peter Sonsini, General Partner, New Enterprise Associates.
Before entering the VC world, Sonsini cut his teeth at VMware. Since entering it, he's had some big hits in enterprise including Xensource (sold to Citrix) and MapR, a Hadoop big data startup that's kicking butt.
Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware.
When Maritz took over VMware, the tech world thought the company wasn't long for this world. Ha! The ex-Microsoftie lead VMware to become one of the most important enterprise tech companies in the data centre and the cloud.
Mario Mazzola, Chief Development Officer, Cisco Systems.
Mazzola nearly retired back in 2005 but was pulled back to lead Cisco's dream team of engineers. They create all of Cisco's most important technology with 'spin-ins.' That's where Cisco funds them as a startup, and buys them back for millions if the tech works. The latest is Insieme Networks, which is out poaching talent from Cisco's rivals.
Diane Greene, angel for Nicira, board member Google.
Greene co-founded VMware and took it public before the board got nervous about Microsoft and ousted her. She's once again a visible power player. She landed on Google's board of directors and she's been an angel investor for hot startups like Nicira (a big threat to Cisco) and Hadoop big-shot Cloudera.
Martin Casado, co-founder and CTO of Nicira.
While he was a grad student at Stanford, Casado created a super important open source technology that does for networks what VMware does for servers. It's called OpenFlow and it's so potentially disruptive that Cisco has been scrambling to come up with its own flavour -- even setting Mazzola and team with its latest spin-in. Everyone in the network industry is watching Casado and Nicira.
Satya Nadella, Microsoft's President, Server and Tools Business.
Nadella is a member of Steve Ballmer's key brain trust. If Windows is the heart of Microsoft, then Server and Tools is its soul. It makes tools that serve Windows developers and enterprises. He's also leading Microsoft's Amazon-killer cloud.
Eliot Horowitz, CTO and co-Founder, 10gen.
Horowitz is one of the key people behind MongoDB, an open source 'NoSQL' database that is powering the big data phenom. MongoDB is really starting to take the enterprise by storm. That puts Eliot in the enterprise spotlight as a technical guru. He's also the co-founder and chief scientist of ShopWiki.
Disclosure: 10gen's other founders are also board members and co-founders of Business Insider.
Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon.com.
Vogels is an IT visionary that brought us cloud computing. He didn't build Amazon's first-generation cloud, but he's known as the architect of Amazon's strategy. He keeps Amazon.com two-steps ahead. Before Amazon, Vogels was a computer scientist at Cornell University.
Doug Cutting, Architect, Cloudera, director Apache Foundation.
Cutting is a brilliant guy that created the big data software known as Hadoop. That's enough to give him major clout, but he's also a lead dude at the Apache Foundation, the keeper of some of the most important enterprise open source tech.
Mark Templeton, CEO, Citrix.
Citrix is one of those companies that has been declared dead a 100 times and never listened. Instead, Templeton lead it into ever-increasing power in the enterprise. It's one of the companies that makes the 'post PC' era possible.
Jim Whitehurst, CEO, Red Hat.
Whitehurst might tell you that he's not the most important guy at Red Hat -- and maybe he's right. But given that he's lead Red Hat to be the first and only billion-dollar pure open source company, he's plenty powerful enough.
Joshua McKenty, CEO and co-founder Piston Cloud Computing.
When McKenty worked at NASA, he built them a cloud. This has become a tech known as OpenStack and it's the leading open source method for building clouds, competing with tech from VMware, Citrix, Red Hat. As the parent of OpenStack, McKenty is a big industry influencer. Plus, Piston is one fun company.
Pat Gelsinger, 'President and Chief Operating Officer, EMC Information Infrastructure Products.
It used to be, EMC was all about enterprise storage -- and that's important but not very exciting. Thanks to Gelsinger, and the uber important partnerships he manages, EMC changed the IT industry. EMC, Cisco and VMware (an EMC company), created a whole new kind of server, forcing the likes of IBM, HP and Dell to imitate.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical.
Billionnaire Shuttleworth has set his sights on making Linux just as popular to consumers as Apple, while keeping it free. Shuttleworth is a big personality in the open source world, sort of like a cross between Marc Benioff and Elon Musk.
Marten Mickos, CEO, Eucalyptus.
Mickos is the charismatic leader of Eucalyptus, which makes software to help enterprises build Amazon-like 'private clouds' in their own data centres. He's known for advocating a new way for open source companies to make money, called 'open core' where they mix in a little proprietary software to a free product and sell that. His clout stems from his days as CEO of database company MySQL, a company that proved free software could threaten the big guys.
Amit Singh, VP Enterprise, Google.
If Google's Sundar Pichai is responsible for the whole kit-and-caboodle of Google's enterprise businesses, Singh is responsible for execution and evangelizing. Singh was previously a long-time Oracle exec. So he knows the enterprise and is helping Google win customers and developers for Apps.
Samuel Palmisano, chairman of the board, IBM.
Palmisano honored IBM's tradition and retired as CEO at age 60. But he only handed one reign over to new CEO Ginny Rometty. She is executing his vision outlined in a document called Roadmap 2015. It promises to spend $20 billion on acquisitions and increase shareholder EPS to $20. In other words, Palmisano is still calling the shots.
Virginia Rometty, president, CEO, IBM.
IBM is the tech industry's oldest, more revered company and all eyes are on Rometty as its first female CEO. She's keeping IBM on the course set for it through 2015 by chairman and previous CEO Sam Palmisano. Culturally, she's helping IBM to finally loosen up its uptight, stuffy corporate culture.
Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal, co-founder and CTO, Acquia.
Buytaert is the man who created one of the world's most popular content management systems, Drupal. What started as a little project he wrote in his dorm turned into software that powers a million websites including the White House, NASA and Twitter.
HD Moore, creator of Metasploit, Chief Security Officer, Rapid7.
Moore's baby is Metasploit, an uber popular software tool that lets companies hack into their own networks to test their security. It also helps real hackers. Moore is so vigilant in adding newly found holes to Metasploit that it has become the deadline. Software companies better patch their new holes before Moore adds it to Metasploit.
David Sacks, Founder, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, Yammer.
Word is that by the end of June, Sacks will have sold Yammer to Microsoft for give-or-take $1 billion. Whatever happens to Sacks after that deal closes, he will remain powerful for changing how employees communicate. As former COO of PayPal, Sacks is also member of the PayPal mafia -- a group of ex PayPal execs that have been funding one mega Valley startup after another.
Warren East, CEO, ARM Holdings.
East has been CEO of ARM since 2001. It took a long time, but his vision for low-power chips designed by ARM, and produced by many, has changed everything about tech. They've created tons of competition for Intel and AMD. They've created super powerful smartphones and mobile devices that are killing PCs. And now, they are creeping into experimental servers.
Reid Hoffman, co-founder executive chairman of LinkedIn, partner, Greylock.
Hoffman has been ridiculously successful for so many years that he's powerful in every area of tech, including enterprise. He lands on this list for LinkedIn and how it completely altered how companies find employees, how employees find jobs and how business people stay connected.
Philippe Courtot, CEO, Qualys.
Courtot is well-known in the computer security world for repeatedly turning startups into multimillion-dollar companies. He's at it again with Qualys, which names Apple, Facebook, eBay and Oracle as customers and is on the verge of going public. But Courtot is also on a personal mission to make the Internet safer. He just spent half a million of his own cash on a new non profit that fights hackers.
Marc Andreessen, co-founder Andreessen Horowitz.
Andreessen has been redefining the enterprise forever first at Netscape and then through his $1.6 billion sale of Opsware to HP in 2003. Today, his venture firm co-founded with Ben Horowitz, is a big player in enterprise. It backs Box, Asana, ClearStory, Okta among others. Andreessen is also on the boards of Facebook, eBay and HP.
Zach Nelson, CEO NetSuite.
NetSuite was founded in 1998 with backing from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, way back before the average Joe ever heard the term 'cloud.' Nelson has been its CEO for most that time (since 2002) and has emerged as one of the leaders in the software-as-a-service area, particularly for mid-sized companies.
Meg Whitman, CEO, HP.
HP has been stuck in muck of its own making for about a decade. All eyes are on Whitman as she tries to clean it up. It's important that she does. HP employees over 300,000 people worldwide and its tech is used in just about every large enterprise on the planet.
Jayshree Ullal, CEO Arista Networks.
Ullal came to power years ago when she was running one of Cisco's most important business units (switching and security). She shocked the industry when she left for her own network startup that competes with Cisco. Arista has been kicking butt ever since and stealing away a lot of the Valley's brightest network engineers. They want to work with Ullal.
Peter Thiel, VC and co-founder, chairman, Palantir.
Thiel is just plain powerful. He's best known for co-founding PayPal and backing Facebook, but he lands on this list for his big data startup Palantir, which analyses data for government and finance companies. It's been called the secret weapon against terrorists. He's also powerful in enterprise for backing companies like LinkedIn, Yammer, IronPort ... and the list goes on.
Tony Zingale, CEO, Jive.
When Zingale took Jive public in December suddenly, enterprise software was cool again. Investors ate it up and still love it today. Zingale had plenty of clout before that. His previous hot enterprise company, Mercury Interactive, sold to HP for $5 billion in 2006.
Steve Wozniak, chief scientist, Fusion-IO.
Woz will forever be important in the tech world as the respected co-founder of Apple. But he's not a has-been. His latest startup is solving a big technical problem for data centres. It makes their storage systems more efficient and it's sold by the likes of IBM and Dell.
Mark McLaughlin, CEO, Palo Alto Networks.
Palo Alto Networks is a buzzy startup going public any minute. It filed its S1 in April to raise $175 million. It makes a firewall security device that enterprises love. Last summer, McLaughlin took the helm after a stint as CEO of another big security player, Verisign. Along with Splunk, Valley eyes are watching him closely.
Ray Lane, executive chairman, HP.
Lane has become the new kingmaker at HP. He's also a Kleiner partner and an infamous former Oracle exec. You can argue whether his moves at HP have been effective or disastrous, but no doubt he's powerful.
Kevin Johnson, CEO, Juniper Networks.
Juniper Networks is the main rival to Cisco that endlessly pushes and prods Cisco, bringing much needed competition to the network equipment industry. Johnson joined as CEO in 2008, after being a longtime bigwig at Microsoft. He ran the all-important sales organisation responsible for Windows. He's also a director for Starbucks.
Alaister Mitchell, CEO Huddle.
Huddle is a red-hot startup that's racking up the enterprise customers. It bills itself as a cheaper, easier, cloud alternative to Microsoft SharePoint. Mitchell says he's turned down several acquisition offers. He's got his eye on an IPO. That makes him another power player making enterprise hot in 2012.
Jim Goetz, partner, Sequoia.
Goetz is an enterprise funding powerhouse. Just look at all these boards he's on: Appirio, Barracuda Networks, Clearwell Systems, eMeter, Flite, Jive Software, MetaSwitch, Nimble Storage, Palo Alto Networks, Pocket Gems and Sencha. He also backed AdMob, bought by Google for $750 million in 2010.