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3. Needs Work: Marketing Support, Training, Ease of Doing Business
According to the numbers, Marketing Support is most in need of improvement. The lowest score in the entire report card--a 35.6--went to Oracle for its performance in this criterion within the Volume Mainstream Business Servers ($24,999 and below) category. The second and third lowest scores, 37.4 (Sun/Oracle, Enterprise Network Storage) and 39.4 (Sun/Oracle, Midrange, High-End Servers), were also due to poor marketing support. The average score for this criterion was 60.2, with 45 percent of all the Marketing Support scores below that mark. The highest score was EMC's 77.8 in the Data Protection Software category.
Vendors also struggled with Ease of Doing Business. The lowest scores were a 40.1 (Sun/Oracle, again in Enterprise Network Storage) followed by a 41.3 (Sun/Oracle, once more in Midrange, High-End Servers). However, the average score for the criterion was significantly higher than for Marketing Support, coming in at 71.6. Fortinet earned the highest score for Ease of Doing Business (Network Security Appliances).
Finally, VARs reported training needs improvement.Lenovo (Notebooks) got the lowest score of 41.5 with second place going to Dell (Notebooks). The average score for the criterion was 62.5; the highest score was EMC's 81.7 (Data Protection Software).
This year, IBM earned a 52.1 in the Partner Portal criteria, still less than the average of 60.2. Still, the top score for the criterion was only 74.8, earned by Fortinet in Network Security Appliances, suggesting more work is needed in this area.
Scott Campbell contributed to this story.