IT innovation's four horsemen: Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft

A TechPro Research survey shows how large enterprises have little innovation faith in the business tech market. The IT pecking order is shifting, but the game isn't over.

Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft were the top four most innovative companies, according to a survey of technology and business decision makers.

The findings via Tech Pro Research's IT Innovation Report 2015: Top companies, key tech drivers, and biggest roadblocks illustrate how the enterprise vendor pecking order is being revamped by the cloud.

Meanwhile, respondents from larger companies say their established vendors are falling short on innovation. However, Cisco and IBM both had strong innovation showings in our survey.

Tech Pro Research surveyed 363 decision makers from a variety of fields and company sizes. The research formed the heart of ZDNet's innovation special report this month.

Here's a look at how the technology vendors stacked up.

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What's worth noting here is that 52 percent of respondents thought innovation was equally prevalent in the consumer and business markets. Of those respondents, 38 percent said the consumer market led in innovation. Only 10 percent said the business market led.

Those percentages changed dramatically by company size.

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Given that half of respondents from large enterprises think the consumer market drives innovation it's worth asking why. Twenty-five percent of the base of 363 respondents came from companies with 1,000 employees or more with 16 percent with 250 to 999 employees and 22 percent with 50 to 249 employees. The remainder had less than 50 employees.

It's possible that the enterprise incumbents have been too slow to the mark with mobility, cloud computing and other tools that drive innovation. And while these large players are now preaching innovation, cloud, social and mobility there's a perception hurdle rate to clear.

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Another thread: These large enterprises are stuck with their existing tech investments for a while longer. The stakes are simply higher when you replace mission critical systems that have been in place for years.

In either case, large vendors like EMC, SAP and Oracle have a higher hurdle rate when it comes to enabling innovation. What remains to be seen is whether the enterprise mainstays can move up the innovation stack over time. If not, the pecking order in business tech will shift for sure.

Tech Pro Research is the subscription service of ZDNet and TechRepublic. For 7-day free trial, go to Tech Pro.

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