The XChange XCellence awards were voted on by the more than 250 solution providers who attended the four-day conference. IT integrators judged vendors on the basis of their ability to communicate their value proposition throughout the event during such venues as closed-door boardroom sessions, keynote presentations, Quick Fires and Tech Symposiums. After the votes were cast, the UBM Channel conference executive team tallied the results and the winners were announced during a formal gala that preceded the CRN Annual Report Card. Several hundred industry executives were in attendance.
The awards are highly prized by the event sponsors because they represent immediate feedback and validation on their performance at XChange that can assist them at other partner engagements. For the vendors that were nominated but did not win, the survey results and solution provider feedback offer an opportunity to make course corrections that will help their message resonate better with partners.
At XChange, vendors engage in a wide variety of activities with hosted attendees, who are influential C-level executives playing critical leadership roles in their solution provider organizations. Vendors run the gamut from emerging players such as Symform, which has raised more than $20 million in venture capital, to established market leaders such as Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Samsung, HP and EMC.
The big winner of the event was Lenovo, which won Best of Show. This was a competitive category that included more than 100 XChange vendors showing off their strategy, technology or partner programs. Of the 100 vendors listed, the final nominees included Lenovo as well as Eaton, Intel and Microsoft. Lenovo's win was no doubt led by a spot-on keynote given by Ashley Perry, Lenovo's Brand Ambassador, who carried a small tote on stage during Lenovo's general session keynote and slyly told attendees it contained a notebook, desktop, tablet and display. Perry is no doubt one of the best presenters to appear on stage at XChange. Lenovo also was voted No. 1 for Executive Presentation and Hardware.
Another big winner was cloud storage and backup provider Symform, a relatively new company founded by former Microsoft product directors Praerit Garg and Bassam Tabbara. Symform is challenging traditional storage vendors and backup providers including Mozy and Carbonite. Symform captured three top honors for Cloud Implementation, Breakthrough Tech Vendor and Best Newcomer.
On the strength of Microsoft's keynote by SMB Channel Marketing Director Jeff Turner, the company captured top votes for Best Software Vendor at the show. Microsoft also anchored the Cloud Computing Boot Camp, which brought together nearly 60 solution providers prior to XChange's official start on Sunday, Aug. 19.
One of the event's most entertaining presentations is Quick Fire, where vendor executives must serenade attendees in three minutes or less with pitches that are colored by singing, faux carnival acts, comedy sketches and buzzers for those running over time. It has become a crowd favorite and featured more than 16 "acts" at this past event. Dressed in costume, Ruckus' Janet Hendrickson and David Callisch had the courage to perform an entertaining carnival act that drove their point home and helped them receive top honors as best Quick Fire presenter.
In other categories, hosted software provider ConnectWise captured the XCellence award for Best Services Solution. The company has a strong following among MSPs and VARs with growing managed services practices. Power-management company Eaton claimed the trophy for Best Boardroom while Buffalo Technology, a storage supplier, nabbed Best Demo Room.
Intel, which returned to XChange after a brief hiatus, captured the most solution provider votes for Best Solutions Pavilion Booth.
NetSuite, which has supported the XChange Cloud Computing Boot Camp since its inception, was voted the solution provider favorite for the day-and-a half pre-conference event. Led by Craig West, NetSuite's pioneering vice president of channel sales, the company has used the Boot Camp platform to help solution providers understand the opportunities surrounding Software-as-a-Service. West's presentation was an example of the company's no-holds-barred style set by company CEO Zach Nelson and one appreciated by their solution providers.
Winners and nominees are listed below:
XCellence in Channel Executive Presentation
Nominees: Ingram Micro, Lenovo, Samsung, VMware
XCellence in Quick Fire Vendor Session
Nominees: Axcient, LSI, Ruckus Wireless, Symform
Winner: Ruckus Wireless
XCellence in Hardware
Nominees: HP, Intel, Lenovo, Samsung
XCellence in Software
Nominees: ConnectWise, LabTech, Microsoft, Trend Micro
XCellence in Cloud Implementation
Nominees: Axcient, Microsoft, NetSuite, Symform, Trend Micro
XCellence in Service-Based Solutions
Nominees: ConnectWise, IBM, Reflexion, Xerox
XCellence in Boardroom Execution
Nominees: Condusiv Technologies, Eaton, Iomega, Samsung
XCellence in Cloud Computing Boot Camp Execution
Nominees: eVault, Microsoft, NetSuite, Symform, Trend Micro
Best Demo Room
Nominees: Buffalo Technology, ConnectWise, Epson, Fortinet
Winner: Buffalo Technology
XCellence in Solutions Pavilion Booth Strategy
Nominees: ConnectWise, Eaton, Intel, Samsung
Breakthrough Technology Vendor
Nominees: Intel, Lenovo, Ruckus Wireless, Samsung, Symform
Nominees: Czech ICT, GFI MAX, LogiXML, Ruckus Wireless, Symform
Overall Best of Show
Nominees: Eaton, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft
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