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Top 20 Enterprise Software Leaders

Privacy Policy Top 20 Enterprise Software Leaders

December 31, 2007 by Julian Peterson
The 2007 ERP software industry seemed to start off at a slow pace, pick up steam just after the summer months and reach several milestones in the last calendar quarter. This year's Top 20 Enterprise Software Leaders includes some of the frequently cited movers and shakers as well as some of the less cited but quite influential executives, analysts and thought leaders that helped to form and mold the industry's evolution through 2007.

Zach Nelson, NetSuite Zach Nelson
On December 20, 2007, NetSuite's CEO, Zach Nelson, reached a company and industry milestone with the NetSuite's initial public offering. The IPO followed seven years of progressive business growth and exceeded expectations by launching at double the investment bankers estimate price and then shooting up even further in the days following. Now Nelson has the enviable challenge of growing the ERP software as a service (SaaS) company under the less than enviable public market oversight. Nelson came to NetSuite in July 2002 (then called NetLedger) from Oracle in order to take the reigns from founder Evan Goldberg who remains Chairman. NetSuite is sometimes referred to as "Little Oracle"; not surprising as Oracle kingpin Larry Ellison owns or controls about two-thirds of NetSuite and the cultures among the two Silicon Valley companies are quite comparable.
marc benioff Marc Benioff
The founder and CEO is no stranger to media coverage or end of year lists. In fact, it's been alleged that he feeds and cultivates media coverage with his marketing prowess, attention getting controversial statements and close media relationships. However, this year Benioff has earned the company far more than marketing and public relations victories. Beyond the company's delivery of the Force platform as a service and marketing relationship with Google,'s most meaningful 2007 accomplishment was reaching 1 million hosting subscribers. Now the heat is on for Benioff to reach his stated $1 billion annual revenue threshold in 2008.
Kirill Tatarinov Microsoft Kirill Tatarinov
2007 introduced Kirill Tatarinov as the head of Microsoft Business Solutions and the successor to Great Plains Software founder Doug Bergum. Tatarinov doesn't come to the position with significant ERP business systems or channel experience, however, is clearly an inside favorite among the Microsoft executive team. After years of Microsoft floundering on the infamous Project Green, the project to consolidate Microsoft's four ERP systems to a common unified code base, Tatarinov spoke with the first confident voice and quite clearly said Project Green is dead. Now Tatarinov is charged with providing some form of commonality or shared technologies while advancing each of Microsoft's ERP systems autonomously.
Larry Ellison Oracle

Larry Ellison
The Oracle CEO had a banner 2007 which may be a precursor of what's to come in 2008. When his merger and acquisition (M&A) strategy was questioned by many of the so called analysts and pundits following the purchase of Siebel Systems, PeopleSoft (with JD Edwards), Hyperion and others, he plowed forward and 2007 clearly showed the results of his vision and the fruits of his labor with quarter over quarter revenue achievements which exceeded expectations throughout the year. When rival SAP acquired Oracle support company TomorrowNow in order to lure Oracle customers over to SAP, the entire strategy came to embarrassing collapse when TomorrowNow staff posed as Oracle customers in order to inappropriately, and allegedly illegally, download masses of Oracle intellectual property. Then as if to cap off the year in style, the software as a service company NetSuite, which Ellison owns or controls about two-thirds, had an IPO that exceeded expectations and earned Ellison another billion dollars. Now that Oracle is on the upswing, SAP is left to damage control and Ellison pocketed a few more billion dollars, what's 2008 to offer? Most likely, a repeat performance. If Ellison and Oracle can deliver Fusion as well as continued operational results, expect the software giant to surpass SAP.

Brad Wilson Microsoft

Brad Wilson
The general manager of Microsoft CRM will be sponsoring a coming out party in 2008; the year that the infamous Titan becomes a CRM on-demand reality. Wilson leads global product management and marketing for Microsoft CRM and is responsible for driving awareness, demand and revenue. His management responsibilities include product positioning, pricing and packaging, press and analyst relations and partner channel development. Wilson brings 20 years of information technology experience, including more than 10 years in CRM. Prior to Microsoft, Wilson was the PeopleSoft Global VP of Marketing and prior to PeopleSoft Wilson held management roles at E.piphany, including vice president in product marketing and technology alliances. Wilson also spent approximately 12 years at HP in engineering, consulting and marketing management, and has played roles in two Silicon Valley software startups (Sigma Dynamics and RightPoint).

Jim Schaper Infor

Jim Schaper
It's paradoxical that the 10th largest software company and third largest business systems software company in the world has an identity problem. However, even with $2.1 billion of annual revenues, nearly 10,000 employees and more customers than all other enterprise software companies, Infor hasn't achieved the industry name recognition such a giant would expect. Perhaps that because the company is only five years old. Infor was created from an aggressive M&A strategy financially backed by Golden Gate Capital. The company has acquired Geac, SSA Global, Mapics, Systems Union, Baan, JBA and several other recognized enterprise software brands. Schaper's strategy is to fill market voids by offering industry specific business software systems with strong domain expertise and the backing of a global organization. There's little question that Schaper is a fiercely competitive professional. "Competition breeds success, and by employing a unique business model that enables us to identify, acquire and integrate solutions that offer better value to our customers, we have built something successful and sustainable—a company that is here to stay. And we've done it faster than anyone thought we could. In fact, today we have more customers than our two largest competitors combined."

George Klaus Epicor George Klaus
While being named "CEO of the Year" by the local Technology Council of Southern California is a nice, it probably doesn't compare with the operational and financial performance CEO Klaus has brought to his Enterprise Resource Planning software company. In 2007, Epicor reported quarterly revenue of more than $100 million for the first time in the company's history. Klaus retains 30 years of high technology industry experience under his belt and has been the CEO of Epicor since 1996. With his leadership, Epicor surpassed its troubled history and has grown to acquire more than 20,000 customers in more than 140 countries.
temp Terry Petrzelka
Petrzelka formed Tectura through a management buy-out from Scitor Enterprises in 2001. Since founding the global Microsoft ERP reseller, CEO Petrzelka has managed an aggressive M&A strategy to grow the organization to one of the largest in the world. While not one of the first national or international VAR roll-ups, Tectura is possibly the first to achieve wide spread consolidation without showing the post-acquisition signs of troubled integrations. Petrzelka has elevated Tectura to the executive halls at Microsoft and a truly global presence. The CEO
planned for Tectura to achieve $500 million in annual revenues and 2,500 staff by 2007. Now with the venture backing of Pequot, GE, Dow Employees and Ritchie Capital, he takes his high growth company into 2008 with a watchful eye on changing market conditions and presumably on liquidation event opportunities.
Kevin Parker Deltek

Kevin Parker
Fresh off its successful IPO, Deltek President, CEO and Chairman of the Board Kevin Parker is on a mission to become the recognized leader in enterprise software, solutions and consulting to project-based businesses worldwide. Deltek's vision lies in its vertically focused strategy and clearly defined target markets which include a range of professional services industries such as architecture, accounting, engineering, construction, government contracting, aerospace and defense, consulting, IT services, management consulting, project-based manufacturing, nonprofit and systems integration companies. Parker's no newbie to enterprise business systems. Prior to Deltek he served at CFO and co-President of PeopleSoft. Now with the corporate reigns under his control, Parker enters 2008 flush with cash, a solid go to market strategy, more than 1,000 employees in twelve offices worldwide and a slowly developing business partner channel.

Chuck Schaeffer Chuck Schaeffer
The CEO of Aplicor, a CRM and ERP software as a service manufacturer, is clearly long on strategy and short on self promotion. Several SaaS publishers, including Aplicor, had a banner 2007. What separates Aplicor from the rest of the hosted software pack is the dominance in winning enterprise hosting deals. Aplicor has earned at least seven clients of more than 1,000 seats, including the US Department of Commerce at 7,800 seats, Prentice Hall at 5,000 seats, France Telecom at 3,500 seats and Australia's Suncorp at 4,500 seats. Aplicor has also succeeded in achieving the on-demand industry's highest system uptime and lowest customer churn for the last four years. Notwithstanding some of the hosting industry's biggest wins, Schaeffer seems to favor flying beneath the radar while climbing to the number four position in the hosting software industry (behind, NetSuite and RightNow).
Eric Musser CDC Software

Eric Musser
The President and CEO of CDC Software has spent the last 15 years molding the roll-up of business systems acquisitions into a global enterprise software company. Musser's strategy has been to transition CDC from a developer of horizontal enterprise systems to vertically focused, industry-specific applications which cater to the unique business needs of customers’ vertical markets. Musser has built an impressive management team with deep expertise in enterprise business software systems, professional services and capital markets. So far, the plan seems to be working. With headquarters in the US, the growing company has achieved a global presence with 22 international offices and customers in more than 50 countries. In 2007, CDC (Customer Driven Company) reported record revenue and is allegedly considering becoming a public company. This is a company to be watched in 2008.

Paul Greenberg Paul Greenberg
This industry expert is author of the best-selling CRM at the Speed of Light: Essential Customer Strategies for the 21st Century, President of The 56 Group, an enterprise applications consulting services firm, focused on CRM strategic services, and a founding partner of the CRM training company, BPT Partners, a training venture composed of a number of CRM experts that have become recognized as the de facto certification authority for the CRM industry. Greenberg is also the co-chairman of Rutgers University’s CRM Research Center and the Executive Vice President of the CRM Association. He is a Board of Advisors member of the Baylor University MBA Program for CRM majors, a unique national program. Greenberg is an unusually outspoken thought leader in CRM and through his PGreenblog outlet and teaching tours has educated many in the CRM community on the relevance of CRM 2.0 and social networks. His blog and his commentary will continue to provide strong influence for the evolution of CRM and the inclusion of social media to customer strategies.
temp Rich Bohn
Rich has been an authoritative voice on marketing, selling and CRM product reviews for 22 years. His web site is a clearinghouse of impartial and objective product reviews for hundreds of SFA and CRM software systems. When performing software reviews, Rich is infamous for skipping the latest and greatest technology and vendor hype in order to get to those factors which directly empower sales and marketing professionals to be successful and excel in their roles. Rich is experienced, passionate and talented and will clearly influence the CRM landscape in the year ahead.
Joshua Greenbaum Joshua Greenbaum
Greenbaum is a widely recognized 20 year ERP software industry veteran, award-winning columnist and contributing author to industry periodicals such as, Intelligent Enterprise,, Managing Automation magazine and Redmond Channel Partner magazine. Prior to starting his Enterprise Applications Consulting organization, he was the founding director of the Hurwitz Group, Packaged Software Strategies Service, which focused on information technology, infrastructure and business issues in the enterprise software market. Greenbaum spent three years in Europe as an analyst for Hurwitz Group and Patricia Seybold Office Computing Group, and European correspondent for Information Week and other industry publications. While in Europe, Greenbaum wrote the first-ever technical analysis of SAP R/3 for the US market in 1992 and has been a close observer of the ERP software market since.
Paul Johnston Entellium

Paul "PJ" Johnston
The founder, President and CEO of online CRM publisher Entellium made strong progress in 2007, going head to head with and growing the company toward the path of IPO. However, his innovation in producing the next generation CRM user interface by leveraging PC gaming interfaces is generating serious market intrigue. According to Johnston, video and PC gaming combine with CRM utilization in the areas of strategy, meeting deadlines, collaboration, playing to win and taking risks. Exactly how these traits fit into CRM software is a mystery to be revealed with the Entellium Rave CRM product. Entellium also leverages cost advantages, such as performing its software development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to undercut pricing from rivals such as and thereby deliver a greater cost/benefit value proposition. Johnston himself relocated from Asia to Seattle in March 2003 in order to found Entellium, hook up with Bellevue-based venture capitalist Ignition Partners and begin carving out a niche in the small business CRM software market.

Bob Thompson CustomerThink
Bob Thompson
Bob Thompson is founder and CEO of CustomerThink (formerly called, an independent customer management research and publishing firm as well as an online community web site with more than 300,000 total members. For the last ten years, Thompson has researched and analyzed leading industry trends such as customer relationship management, partner relationship management, customer value networks and customer experience management. Thompson is a frequent keynote speaker at industry conferences and has authored numerous research papers, such as his recent report, Customer Experience Management: A Winning Business Strategy for a Flat World. Prior to starting the world's largest online community in January 2000, he spent 15 years in the IT industry, including positions as business unit executive and IT strategy consultant at IBM.
Dennis Pombriant Dennis Pombriant
The Managing Partner of Beagle Research Group has a way of introducing trends and articulating industry movements that is not repeated elsewhere. This modest CRM visionary was one of the first to predict the on-demand industry growth and has more recently been a proponent of CRM's intersection with Web 2.0. He frequently covers NetSuite and all things Pombriant was previously an analyst and managing director of the CRM practice at Aberdeen Group. Pombriant is frequently cited in publications such as CRMDaily, DestinationCRM, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, CIO, Computerworld, E-Week and InformationWeek.
Dave Duffield Workday Dave Duffield
After unsuccessfully trying to save his former PeopleSoft from the clutches of Oracle, Dave Duffield turned his sights to software as a service (SaaS) and founded the human resources on-demand software company Workday in March 2005. Duffield has an unmatched career evolution. After an initial stint at IBM, he co-founded Information Associates, a maker of business applications for the higher education market. He then went on to become the CEO and chairman of Integral Systems, the maker of mainframe human resource and accounting software systems. Duffield's most recognized role began in 1987 as founder and CEO of PeopleSoft, which ultimately became the second largest business application software company before being acquired by Oracle in January 2005. Now Duffield is on a new mission to bring enterprise class SaaS to the ERP industry. The company has started with its core Human Resources applications and intends to evolve toward accounting software. Somewhat surprisingly, the company seems intent on staying out of the CRM software business and instead partnering for this application line. 2008 will clearly show a more definitive direction for Workday.
Michael Braun Intacct Michael Braun
On-demand accounting software maker Intacct received new breadth from a tenured CEO in 2007. Braun brings 35 years of information technology experience to the Silicon Valley hosted accounting software company which continues to make steady progress and has shown new life under Braun's leadership. Much of Braun's experience has been advanced technology businesses during the early stages of market adoption. Formerly CEO of Neuron Data, Braun transformed the company into Blaze Software which went public in 2000 and then became part of Fair Issac Corporation. In the mid 1990’s, Braun directed Kalida Labs, a multimedia joint venture between IBM and Apple. Most recently he co-founded The Interim CEO Network in Silicon Valley. Braun's IBM career spanned 23 years, customers of all sizes, and products as diverse as software, servers and even typewriters. The Intacct CEO now faces fresh challenges such as recruiting a like minded executive team, advancing the company recognition, growing a partner channel and reaching profitability.
temp Bob Scott
Editor of Accounting Technology magazine and author of the annual VAR 100, publisher Bob Scott brings a dry sense of humor and a sense of 'logical sarcasm' to the enterprise resource planning and accounting software industry. His expertise with accounting software reseller business models and trends extends to the software manufacturers. His coverage of Microsoft and Sage as well as their business partner programs are particularly insightful and his Consulting Insights semi-monthly electronic newsletter is always a welcome inbox receipt.
Michael McCarthy ePartners Leader in the Making | Michael McCarthy
Although not planned, it somehow seems appropriate that the new ePartners CEO would follow Bob Scott, who has been providing (hard to get) coverage on ePartners for years and has consistently been ahead of the company in reviews and predictions. McCarthy replaced former CEO Howard Diamond on December 21st. Diamond was previously the CEO of EYT and credited with much of the EYT/ePartners merger in 2004. McCarthy's mission resembles a turn-around assignment. ePartners is a quality Microsoft reseller which under-estimated the integration pain which follows a flurry of VAR acquisitions. The company's staff stands at 264, down from a high of 400 in 2004. Revenue and credibility losses have also trailed the company in recent years. Now the company is rumored for sale and staff morale is not exactly at an all time high. McCarthy's performance will either end with a deeply discounted company liquidation event or the return of a once admirable VAR to its potential of being one of Microsoft's greatest global VARs.
nopic Next Year's Enterprise Software Leaders?
We really believe 2008 will show significant ERP market advances in terms of industry consolidation, the on-demand platform model and new challengers at both the enterprise and midmarket levels. These advances will of course be born from the vision and business execution of the industry's most notable leaders. If you know a leader that we should put on our radar or have a suggestion for next year's list, please shoot me an email at julian<at>