2012 Best Companies To Partner With1:53 PM EST Tue. Nov. 13, 2012
This is the second year in a row that CRN has conducted research around the Best Companies to Partner With. As businesses rapidly move to adopt cloud and solution providers change their own models, this information becomes even more important. VARs have limited dollars, time and resources and need to evaluate their most trusted vendor relationships and place their bets. Here are the top 25 winners.
CEO: James Chu
This longtime channel supporter has been consistently building out its monitor and digital signage line, innovating around touch capabilities. Although ViewSonic decided to exit the tablet market, the company offers a plethora of opportunities around vertical markets for VARs interested in expanding.
CEO: Eugene Kaspersky
Sales have slowed a bit this year but Kaspersky should be able to recover as it leverages the channel and is known for innovative technology. This year the company has been doubling down on its deal registration program to incent partners to bring new deals into the company. Kaspersky recently shook up its channel management ranks with the departure of Nancy Reynolds. But both Chris Doggett and Jean Lazano, who came to Kaspersky from Sophos and Trend Micro, respectively, have strong relationships with the channel.
CEO: Brad Smith
The QuickBooks king traditionally focused on small and midsize businesses by helping them run their organizations. Intuit continues to be a go-to for VARs and has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of Demandforce, a marketing automation and customer communications SaaS application company.
CEO: Laurent Vernerey
Schneider Electric's APC has built its business with the help of the channel. Today its products offer an upsell opportunity for VARs building out data centers. In fact, this year APC launched a channel program to help solution providers do energy assessments, a critical concern for IT customers. For those who don't have expertise, APC will bring in experts to help with power management issues.
CEO: Kevin Johnson
It's been a tough year for Juniper, but it remains a channel supporter that offers VARs best-of-breed infrastructure technology. And, the company continues to move upstream. To increase the scalability of its networking solutions, Juniper unveiled a partnership with Riverbed to license its application delivery controller. What's more, Juniper retooled its Partner Advantage program in the beginning of the year to help VARs better market themselves.
CEO: Eva Chen
As VARs move to offer more services in the cloud, Trend Micro, too, has invested in cloud security and extended its managed service provider program by strengthening incentives. The security vendor also unveiled an alliance with Microsoft, integrating its security services into Windows Server 2012.
Co-Presidents: Michael DeCesare and Todd Gebhart
Under the new leadership of Gavin Struthers, this year McAfee delivered some pre- and post-sale incentives for its SecurityAlliance Program, including as much as 25 percent additional margin for deal registration. What's more, it continues to help VARs grow and transform their business. The subsidiary of Intel also unveiled Partner Connected, a new five-step framework to reinforce go-to-market methodologies, and rolled out Managed Service Provider Program in 2012.
CEO: Mark B. Templeton
Citrix provides ample opportunity for VARs looking toward virtualization and the cloud as it continues with Project Avalon. One caveat, however: While Citrix was named to the Best Company To Partner With list, it did make some changes to its America Advisor Rewards Program, pulling back some enterprise accounts and saying it would take the lead on them.
CEO: Larry Ellison
The once-direct behemoth is starting to get channel religion under the leadership of Mark Hurd and Judson Althoff. This year Oracle trimmed the number of named accounts reserved for its direct sales force, invested heavily in partner training and recruited Tom LaRocca, one of HP's PartnerOne architects, to help engage Oracle's existing and new VARs. Oracle also put Exadata and Exalogic into the hands of distributors.
CEO: Kwon Oh Hyun
Samsung is making investments and it shows. The company revealed plans to spend a whopping $41.6 billion to fuel growth and is on a tear with its Galaxy smartphone and tablet line. Working hand-in-hand with the channel, the company focused on growth in verticals and the public sector this year. Furthermore, as part of an extension to Samsung's Partners in Innovation program, the company plans to assign a direct representative to each solution provider account -- a shot of welcomed news to the channel.
CEO: Joe Tucci
Another vendor with a strong direct-sales force culture, EMC has made major investments in wooing the channel and offering VARs products they can sell into small and midsize businesses. This effort is supported by the highest ranks at EMC, forcing everyone to think about the channel play when they go to market. This year EMC has also beefed up recruitment and enablement and signed up Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Arrow for its VSPEX line. EMC also expanded its VNXe line and launched EMC Cooperative Services and Velocity Cloud Practices for the channel.
CEO: Jeff Bezos
Lately, Amazon equals outages. But historically, Amazon has really defined cloud offerings with the EC2 platform, so much so that the company reported an astronomical 192 percent growth in the space and dropped cloud storage prices to its customers. Furthermore, Amazon continues to innovate with its Reserved Instances Marketplace, allowing businesses to use its cloud services to resell unused, reserved server capacity.
CEO: Larry Page
The search engine powerhouse is recruiting VARs to its Cloud Platform Partner program, offering partner tools, training and resources to provide services through Google's infrastructure. This move is an attempt to expand its cloud services and build upon the channel program it has for Google Apps, Docs and Chromebooks. The company also recently unveiled Google Drive as well as Compute Engine, a cloud infrastructure service.
CEO: Tim Cook
Ostensibly ignoring most of the channel for many years, Apple has begun to get more engaged with SMB VARs because of the BYOD phenomenon. It owns the tablet market and won in the courtroom when it was awarded $1 billion in damages in its battle with Samsung and its Galaxy line. This year Apple has continued its product onslaught with iOS 6, the iPhone 5, the iPad mini, MacBooks and more.
CEO: Matthew Medeiros
The security stalwart was bought by Dell this year and traditionally has offered security solutions to the midmarket and small-business market. Dell will use its technology to grow its software and security business as the company focuses on threats generated by social media and the mobile craze.
CEO: Yang Yuanqing
Lenovo claimed the No. 1 spot in the PC market, a position held by Hewlett-Packard for quite some time. The reason? Lenovo was one of the first vendors to come to market with innovative tablets and Ultrabooks. And it has its eye on the server space, recently unveiling a partnership with EMC in which the company will have access to EMC's enterprise technology, and Lenovo will be the preferred server platform for EMC's VSPEX architecture.
CEO: Ginni Rometty
IBM owns a big chunk of the enterprise but is relying on the channel to get it more firmly into midmarket accounts. This year the company has invested resources into the midmarket and its channel infrastructure. And the investments are paying off. IBM has been growing channel revenue at twice the rate of overall North American revenue. The company also has been pushing VARs to sell more software and resell IBM's SaaS and cloud offerings.
CEO: Shantanu Narayen
With its foundation in document management and publishing, Adobe has been able to build a strong business and bring in solution providers along the way. The company recently reorganized around content authoring and digital marketing and provides opportunities for VARs in those markets.
CEO: Steve Bennett
Traditionally Symantec has been a leader in security and storage technology with a strong and consistent executive management team. This year, however, there has been a lot of executive turnover with the departure of Enrique Salem and Randy Cochran, and time will tell if Symantec remains consistent and committed to the channel. On the product front, Symantec understands the need to secure mobile and cloud applications and has unveiled a cloud security platform called O3 as well as a mobile management platform.
CEO: Michael Dell
With its roots in hardware, Dell is aiming to become a complete solution vendor and strong channel partner, serving up a portfolio of storage, security and management software -– just recently revealing its intent to acquire Quest. It also has a stronghold in the converged infrastructure market and intends to get into the public cloud space with Nirvanix.
CEO: Meg Whitman
Despite a few tumultuous years, HP still remains a channel advocate and strong partner. This year the largest technology vendor doubled down and recommitted to its PC business, refreshing its printer lineups as well as its other hardware offerings. Still on tap: figure out how to integrate Autonomy and Vertica and establish ways for the channel to engage and sell the technologies.
CEO: Paul Otellini
The tablet market is catching traditional PC makers flat-footed, but Intel has always had a strong and deep channel base. This year it made major inroads in the mobile market and unveiled Clover Trail processors for Windows 8 and Android-based tablets. What's more, Intel is betting on innovative Ultrabook designs for Ivy Bridge and established partnerships with smartphone makers including Lenovo and Motorola Mobility.
CEO: Pat Gelsinger
VMware has a loyal channel base and has done a fair amount of listening and tweaking this year. The company changed its licensing pricing model as pressure from VARs and users continued. As for the executive ranks, Paul Maritz moved over to EMC as chief strategy officer, and Pat Gelsinger was named as CEO. The company has bought a number of companies including Nicira, Cetas and Log Insight to gain a foothold in SDN, big data and automation and management.
CEO: Steve Ballmer
This vendor has a lot riding on its most recent product launch, Windows 8, and is working with the channel on the rollout. It also unveiled a pay-for-performance program for its Dynamics CRM product and a switch to HyperV program, as well as allowed the channel to buy subscription keys to Office 365. The company, however, is also getting into the tablet market with Surface and will not include the channel in its rollout plans.
CEO: John Chambers
Cisco has built its channel hand-in-hand with solution providers. It has been at the forefront developing programs such as Smart Solutions, providing advanced training and channel support for partners that design, sell and implement major solutions and offering an architectural approach to selling. Cisco also welcomed back Wendy Bahr as Americas channel chief.