“Ray Wang’s strengths are too numerous to list,” says Ian Jacobs, senior analyst at Ovum. “Many analysts understand the way technology works, gets deployed, and is perceived; Ray gets all that, too, but he understands the convoluted processes by which enterprises acquire technology.”
That view has its roots on the vendor side. Esteban Kolsky, founder and principal of consultancy ThinkJar, recalls Wang’s PeopleSoft stint in the ’90s. “You could see the drive to find the right information, to know more, to seek—well, an illuminated state,” Kolsky recalls. “He became one of the best analysts I’ve ever met—a Renaissance man—and by far the most influential in the land of enterprise applications.” That influence is only magnified by the profile of Wang’s firm, Altimeter Group, which quickly became a powerhouse of its own—and one of this year’s Rising Stars.
“Not only is Ray a good choice, he’s a great choice,” says Paul Greenberg, president of consultancy The 56 Group. “He has a deep, deep understanding of CRM, the social space, and the nitty-gritty that goes into an enterprise. Not only does he put that all together [to] look at how enterprises and social CRM can work, but people actually listen to him!”
“His middle initial should be ‘O,’ for omnipresent,” says Brent Leary, cofounder of CRM Essentials. “He seems to be able to cover everything—brilliantly.” In fact, “brilliant” is the word John Ragsdale, a vice president at the Technology Services Industry Association, uses to encapsulate Wang. Also? “He works his ass off,” Ragsdale says.