This year's VARBusiness Annual Report Card (ARC)Awards were handed out last night in front of a record crowd at the CMP XChange conference in St. Louis. Following a rousing comedic interlude by Colin Quinn, VARBusiness publisher Bob DeMarzo and editor Larry Walsh took the stage to present the coveted ARC awards to vendors in 19 technology categories.
Vendor satisfaction was rated by solution-provider partners across five areas—Product Innovation, Support, Partnership, Loyalty and overall Company of the Year.
But, of course, the highlight of the evening and the epitome of ARC fame is the coveted CMP Channel Group's Channel Executive of the Year Award, presented on behalf of VARBusiness, CRN, the Institute for Partner Education and Development (IPED) and CMP's XChange Group. The award went to Donn Atkins, IBM's general manager of Global Business Partners. Atkins took the reigns at IBM's partner organization back in 2004 and has spent just shy of 30 years at Big Blue.
Atkins oversees 7,000 employees, hundreds of thousands of partners and billions in sales. Over the years, he has extended IBM's partner ecosystem to bring integrators, ISVs and other partners together through a teaming initiative and has championed the midmarket push, investing some $50 million for partner enablement and coverage and recruiting more than 5,000 SMB-focused resellers.
Big Blue joined the likes of Cisco, Novell, Samsung and Intel as this year's big winners. For Advanced Desktops and Workstations, IBM took top honors with Company of the Year and also took Satisfaction category wins for Product Innovation, Support and Partnership, while HP nudged in for a win in the Loyalty category. IBM and HP also battled it out in the Storage Management Software arena, tying for Company of the Year. But on the Data and Information Management Software front, IBM took the whole category and won for Company of the Year.
In the Mobile Computers area, Toshiba and HP dominated, tying for Product Innovation, Support and the overall Company of the year title, while Toshiba was singled out with a win for Partnership and HP for Loyalty.
On the server side, HP took the cake across the board. HP nudged out IBM for the Entry-Level Servers Company of the Year, winning both Product Innovation and Loyalty, but the two tied for Support and Partnership. For Midrange Servers, HP's High-end ProLiant offering swept the entire category and earned Company of the Year.
Cisco was the big winner in both the Data Networking and Voice over IP and Voice Communication categories, sweeping the two categories and taking Company of the Year honors for both.
Novell swept the Server Operating Systems category for the second year running. This time, its open-source based Open Enterprise Server earned top honors as opposed to last year when its proprietary NetWare offering dominated.
In the Security Software category, Trend Micro and Cisco shared the spotlight, with Cisco taking Company of the Year, winning for Support and Partnership. Trend Micro walked away with top scores in Product Innovation and Loyalty.
The Web/SOA Infrastructure and Integration Software category saw some stiff competition with BEA Systems winning for Product Innovation, IBM winning for Support and Loyalty, and Microsoft coming in to take Partnership. Overall, though, IBM was awarded Company of the Year for the category.
Western Digital broke onto the Enterprise Disk Drives scene and swept the category to take home Company of the Year. Network Appliance did the same in the Network Storage category, winning all categories to be awarded Company of the Year.
Ricoh made a strong showing in the Network Color Printer category, taking Company of the Year with wins for Support and Partnership, while tying with HP for Product Innovation and Xerox for Loyalty.
And, of course, no surprise in Display Technology as Samsung once again took the top prize as Company of the Year, dominating every category. Intel also had a repeat performance as Company of the Year in Client and Server Processors.
For Business-Class Wireless LANs, Cisco was awarded Company of the Year and won the Loyalty category while Linksys took Product Innovation and Partnership and HP ProCurve took Support. SonicWall dominated Security Appliances again as Company of the Year, winning Product Innovation, Partnership and Loyalty. Cisco edged in to take the Support category.
Microsoft dominated the Business Software category, taking Product Innovation, Support and Partnership to be awarded Company of the Year. Oracle, though, received top honors in the Loyalty category.