The Best and Worst of the Annual Report Cards3:00 PM EST Fri. Oct. 05, 2007
The 2007 VARBusiness Annual Report Card rated partners' satisfaction with their vendors in one or more of 15 different technology categories to reveal how these vendors are performing in product innovation, support and partnership. In all, 3,844 people completed 5,638 report cards.
If vendors are getting products mostly right, why are partners generally disappointed? Partly to blame are Byzantine partner programs that make partners jump through hoops, devouring time and other precious resources.
In the satisfaction study, many vendors' ratings suffered in the areas of training, partner portals and management of channel conflict.
The level of disaffection apparent in the ARC scores is dangerous in this age of waning loyalty. Still, VARs seem willing to forgive a lot if they feel the product is superior.
Far and away, Intel led the field in this year's ARC survey. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker received the top weighted scores in the 2007 ARC for product innovation, support and partnership.
The average satisfaction score partners gave for product quality and reliability was 74 out of a possible 100. That was the highest average criterion score. But, among the 17 remaining criteria, which measure partner satisfaction against qualities important to the channel, 10 of the average satisfaction scores were 65 or lower.
In the 2007 VARBusiness Annual Report Card survey, Intel scored the highest rating among all vendors in four of the seven criteria used to rate partnership, giving Intel the best weighted average score for partnership among all vendors in the ARC.
Good maintenance support goes beyond product replacement. As customers increasingly demand integrated solutions rather than point purchases, vendors must expand support beyond the individual product. That's another way that Intel sets itself apart.
Despite the general tenor of the channel, partners are also extremely happy with other vendors besides Intel, albeit in more limited ways. While Intel comes out on top in 12 of the 18 ARC criteria, it does share the spotlight. Several companies tied with Intel for top score in communication: Xerox (Workgroup Color Printers), Sophos (Security Software) and Adtran (Network Infrastructure). IBM System i (Mainstream Business Servers) tied Intel in quality and reliability, and in maintenance support.
Intel's Client and Server Processors victory came with the vendor receiving the highest scores in four of the six criteria that make up the product innovation category:
In Support, Intel once again wound up in first place.
Intel took top honors in Partnership, followed by rival AMD.