Research for the 2008 VARBusiness Partner Programs Guide and VARBusiness Five-Star Program was conducted by Everything Channel's Institute for Partner Education and Development. IPED analyzed applications from 125 vendors (three with two channel programs for a total of 128 programs), rating vendors' responses to nearly 60 in-depth questions about their partner programs in the six elements of sales support, marketing support, partner profitability, channel operations, communications and partner recruitment.
To ensure fair comparisons, companies were placed in one of eight categories based on two criteria: The size of the company or operating division and the complexity of the majority of its product line. That way, vendors were measured against like-sized companies with products of similar complexity.
IPED weighted the responses to each question about such program elements as sales support and partner recruitment so that the total weight given to a vendor's answers in any of the six elements can potentially be scored as high as 100. The weighting scheme varies depending on the company size and product type and is based on IPED proprietary analysis methodology and intellectual property. In each company category, the businesses with the highest weighted scores in any given program element were awarded a "Silver Star" designation for that element.
Each program element is also weighted (also depending on company type) so that the score for all six program elements added together is potentially 100. In each of the eight company categories, the companies with the highest overall weighted scores received the VARBusiness Five-Star Program "Gold" designation for its entire partner program.
All weightings and category evaluations in VARBusiness' Partner Programs Guide and Five-Star Program research are the property of IPED, a division of Everything Channel, whose parent company is United Business Media.