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Craig Burton


Craig Burton BIO

Craig Burton

Craig Burton is one of the leading visionaries and analysts in the computer industry. He pioneered LAN and network platform and services development in the ‘80s, directory and identity development in the ‘90s, and has influenced many companies’ developments toward interoperability, open systems, APIs, cloud identity, VRM and other emerging and evolving categories in the new millennium.
Craig’s career began in 1981, as one of the founding employees at Novell, where he spent the next eight years guiding that company to a dominant market position, which it held for years after he left. Among many other achievements there, Craig named and positioned Netware, the company’s anchor product, which moved the market from one based on hardware to one based on software and services. He guided development of concepts such as network-based services (starting with file and print), hardware independence, fault tolerance, and the NOS (network operating system). He also helped launch the long-running Brainshare conference and established a new job market through the Netware Certified Engineer program. (Later copied by Microsoft with its MCE program.) These and other strategies not only put Novell in a leadership position, but accelerated movement toward transparent multivendor computing and networking.
In 1989 Craig co-founded The Burton Group (which was acquired by Gartner in 2009). There he led the industry in defining networking in terms of services (rather than “pipes and protocols”), and led a new understanding of interoperability, especially around the concept of metadirectory — one that today informs many other topics, most notably cloud computing and digital identity. At TBG Craig also launched Prognosys (later Catalyst), one of the leading conferences for IT professionals.
In 1997, Craig launched his own consulting practice with Burtonian. In that capacity he has worked with many companies on corporate and product development strategies, and has led conversations forward at countless conferences. In 2011 Craig also joined Kuppinger-Cole as a Distinguished Analyst, where he specializes in digital identity and corporate IT strategy.
Doc Searls, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto (Perseus, 2000, 2010) and author of The Intention Economy (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), calls Craig ‘One of the most original and important figures in the history of computing and communications,” and says “Nobody sees the future better than Craig, or understands better how to actually make the future happen, intentionally, guided by clear strategies and minimal BS.”

June 2021