Constellation Research's 2017 Enterprise Awards

Here are our picks for the year's top enterprise vendors, technologies, and trends.

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The team at Constellation Research hopes you all had a great holiday season. In the interest of recognizing the past year's memorable tech industry's events, trends and companies, we present the winners of the second annual Enterprise Awards.

As with the first awards, the winners and runners-up were chosen via internal voting and debate among the analyst team. Agree with the results? Disagree? Send us your feedback at chris@constellationr.com and we'll do a follow-up post.

Best Enterprise Software Startup

Winner: Zoom

Why did it win?: Zoom has been around since 2011 but saw a dramatic uptick in business, doubling its user base to more than 700,000 companies and about 7,000 educational institutions. Moreover, Zoom customers are using the product more frequently: Annualized meeting minutes hosted by Zoom's cloud platform went from 6.9 billion to greater than 20 billion. In a highly competitive market segment, Zoom is gaining serious traction, which tells us it is doing something right.

Also this year, Zoom held its first user conference, moved into a key vertical with a new telemedicine offering, built integrations with the likes of Slack and Microsoft Teams, and rolled out features for augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Go here to view Constellation VP and principal analyst Alan Lepofsky's interview with Zoom CEO Eric Yuan.

Runner-Up Winners: Optoro, ProoV, Docker

Why did they win?: Optoro's cloud platform helps retailers salvage the most money they can from returned or unsold items; it's managing to attract Home Depot and other big names in the crowded but increasingly complex world of reverse logistics. ProoV's offering helps CIOs and CTOs run proof-of-concept exercises on new technologies quickly and securely. Docker shot to more than a $2 billion valuation this year while remaining the top name in containers, which are the choice of architecture for next-generation applications.

Best Enterprise Software Vendor

Winner: Oracle

Why did it win?: Oracle's leadership is nothing if not persistent, especially when it comes to pushing toward the cloud in SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. In its most recent quarter, cloud revenue jumped 44 percent year-over-year to $1.5 billion. Certainly, some of the growth has come from Oracle's relentless series of acquisitions, but not all. It is also gaining serious traction in the SaaS back office, with ERP and HCM revenue rising 65 percent year over year.

On the marketing front, Oracle has become a serious player with the buildout of its Data Cloud, which delivers access to a vast and rich trove of user information. Up next: Delivering on the promise that customers will start migrating their Oracle database workloads to the cloud en masse with the imminent arrival of Oracle's "self-driving" database.

Runner-up winner: Salesforce

Why did it win?: Salesforce spent 2017 in execution mode, stitching together the many acquisitions it made in 2016. Despite being a fairly mature company, Salesforce is continuing to log growth rates well above 25 percent. This year also saw Salesforce coalesce a strategy around AI and unveil a new version of its gamified Trailhead training system, which looks like it will generate increased stickiness among customers as Salesforce heads toward $20 billion in revenue.

Best Enterprise Services Vendor

Winner: Persistent Systems

Why did it win?: Persistent embodies the idea of a co-innovation partner, rapidly shedding its mere product development services vendor skin. One case in point: Its work with the Biocomplexity Institute at Virginia Tech on an analytics platform for battling infectious disease. Persistent has also shown a knack for hatching innovative partnerships, such as its deal with USAA, a group of US financial services companies, around secure authentication.

Runner-up winner: Infosys

Why did it win?: Infosys had a rocky 2017 on the public relations front due to intense infighting between founder N R Narayana Murthy and the then corporate board. CEO Vishal Sikka abruptly resigned in August, citing a toxic atmosphere. But Infosys managed to find a seasoned and able replacement for Sikka in just a few months, hiring former Capgemini executive Salil Parekh, while retaining its customer base. Parekh's legacy at Infosys has yet to be written but will be interesting to watch.

Best Tech Acquisition

Winner: Intel buys Mobileye for $15.3 billion

Why did it win?: The chipmaker put down a massive bet on Mobileye's autonomous driving technology, paying 60 times its earnings for the Israeli company. In doing so, Intel made a big competitive stride against rivals Qualcomm and NVIDIA in autonomous vehicles, which Goldman Sachs has said could generate nearly $100 billion by 2025. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich made the reason for the acquisition plain -- cars are becoming the new server, he said following the deal's announcement.

Runner-up winners: Broadcomm-Qualcomm, Amazon-Whole Foods

Why did they win?: Broadcomm's $130 billion offer for Qualcomm isn't complete yet and may never be if it can't pass regulatory hurdles, but goes on the list for its sheer scope. Amazon shook up the retail world by buying Whole Foods -- as if it wasn't already on notice -- and opened up a range of tantalizing possibilities for its supply chain and customer base.

Best Enterprise Partnership

The Partnership on AI: Late last year, Amazon, Facebook, IBM, DeepMind and Microsoft formed the Partnership on AI, a nonprofit consortium that promotes education and interoperability concerning artificial intelligence. Its goals include development of AI best practices, educating the public about AI and how it can benefit society, and to give AI researchers a means for collaboration. The group picked up serious momentum this year, with Apple joining as a founding member in January. Later, the partnership added six board members from six nonprofits, while big names such as eBay, Intel, SAP, Salesforce and Sony joined as for-profit partners.

Why did it win?: AI was one of the year's hottest tech topics and has the potential to reorder modern society. As such, it's important to have well-funded and well-balanced efforts such as the partnership. Constellation looks forward to its work in 2018.

Runner-up winner: Cloud Native Computing Foundation

Why did it win?: The CNCF is another sterling example of the industry finding a way to rapidly come together cooperatively for mutual benefit for both customers and vendors. Since its formation two years ago, there are now 160 CNCF members representing a who's who of enterprise vendors, and the group, which is overseen by the Linux Foundation, has 14 thriving open-source projects under its purview.

Best Enterprise CEO

Winner: Steve Lucas, Marketo

Why did he win?: Sometimes when a company is scooped up by private equity, as Marketo was in late 2016, they largely drop off the radar. Not Marketo, and credit for that must go to Lucas, who in his first year as CEO oversaw a rewrite of Marketo's software, executed key acquisitions and struck a deal with Google to move onto its cloud platform. Lucas has also made a series of personnel changes in the C-suite that have poised Marketo for a strong 2018, and has emerged as an articulate and engaging thought leader on marketing technology.

Runner-up: Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services

Why did he win?: Jassy is now presiding over an $18 billion business in AWS, one that shipped more than 1,000 new features and services this year (and it seemed like a good half of them came in one big batch at the recent re:Invent conference). Despite its size, AWS is still growing at a torrid pace, with revenue up 40 percent. And AWS's sheer scale serves to tie an anchor to its lead thanks to economies of scale. It doesn't hurt that Jassy can cite a quickly expanding crowd of big-name reference customers, such as GE, who are moving wholesale to AWS.

Best New Category

Digital enterprise platforms: Constellation saw the emergence of digital enterprise platforms as a hot new category in 2017. They are embodied by companies such as Segment.io, C3 and Uptake. While differing in some specifics, all are trying to solve the same problem, that of streaming and orchestrating data with AI powering the whole works. The macro enterprise IT trend is how to move from systems of transactions to systems of engagement, with mass personalization at scale. These are the companies powering that vision.

Runner-up winner: Who would have thought mapping software would get hot again? But it has, thanks to new use cases and the emergence of companies such as Maplarge and Mapbox. Mapping software is being used for augmented and virtual reality, content and commerce.

Biggest Tech Flops of 2017

Unfortunately, the year saw its share of controversies and disasters in tech. Here are our picks of some of the most notorious.

Winner: Equifax data breach

Why did it win?: While there were a number of high-profile data breaches this year, what happened at consumer credit reporting agency Equifax stands out--and not in a good way. The personal information of nearly 150 million U.S. citizens was exposed in the breach, with the data including not only names and addresses but Social Security numbers. A post-mortem assessment found serious security lapses at Equifax, which are even more unconscionable given the nature of its business.

Runner-up winner: Juicero

Why did it win?: Investors thought a $699 wifi-enabled juice press that used proprietary packs of fruit and vegetables, sold by subscription, was a pretty good idea, to the tune of $120 million in funding. Alas, Juicero's fortunes quickly soured after Bloomberg published a story describing how the company's juice packs could simply be squeezed by hand with similar results. Juicero stopped selling the machines and is now shopping its intellectual property. It is unclear who will be interested in it.