In October and November 2014, Tech Pro Research surveyed 148 IT decision makers to find out about enterprise startups. And while it’s not a particularly sexy subject, it’s definitely a pertinent one.

Giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, Apple and IBM provide the building blocks of technology, but cutting-edge startups are the ones that become overnight sensations by providing the fuel to generate innovation.

In many cases, successful startups have made millionaires out of faithful employees who helped build the business. Startups are often romanticized as potential gold mines, but their path isn’t easy.

Download the full report, Enterprise Startups: Winners, Losers, Potential Shakeups, on Tech Pro Research.

Our research found that Dropbox and Evernote were at the top of the list of enterprise startups currently in use or being evaluated, with Github coming in a distant third and Box ringing in fourth. There is an opportunity for smaller startups to gain momentum, as there were several companies we found that were much more likely to be evaluated than used at present. These companies included MongoDB, Hubspot, Puppet Labs and Huddle. We found that 24 times more respondents were evaluating Cloudera as were actually using it. This represents opportunity for companies to convince those evaluating them to actually use them.

That said, there are factors that determine which startups will rise to the top or sink to the bottom. Our research found that ease of implementation, pricing and ease of integration were key factors for using or evaluating startups. Innovation was also a significant hallmark of successful startups.

Our research also honed in on which areas respondents felt were ripe for startup disruption. The feedback we received can be useful for both startups and big companies with details about the trials and tribulations our survey respondents have had with both.

The Internet of Things is seen as the most appropriate industry for startup disruption because it is an all-encompassing next step with transformative potential.Collaboration and data management are the next areas seen as most likely to experience disruption. Least likely are networking, project management, sales and marketing, configuration management, databases and storage.

Size also matters. Although companies of all shapes and sizes demonstrated an interest in enterprise startups, smaller companies were more attracted to them, making this a fertile potential customer base. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that smaller companies also have smaller budgets so larger enterprises shouldn’t be overlooked by startups looking to score.

It should be no surprise to anyone that Microsoft, Adobe and HP ranked as the most-used enterprise software solution vendors among our survey respondents who had experience with these companies.

Overall, the economic and cultural environment is more conducive than ever for enterprise startups, but our research shows that enterprises are still extremely cautious when it comes to choosing a startup over legacy vendors.