Just ask Dell what difference a year makes. The PC maker saw a dramatic turnaround in the Midrange (High-End) Server category, winning it just one year after struggling to avoid finishing in the bottom half. The change in course comes in a highly competitive category, with the computer maker edging out other tech titans such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Oracle.
Depending on whom you ask, it might be surprising that Dell won both the Support and Partnership categories given its somewhat checkered channel past. At least, it might surprise everyone except Greg Davis, Dell's channel chief, who a year ago pledged to turn around his company's channel program.
"We've worked very hard to win partner trust and think this Annual Report Card award shows the traction Dell's channel program is making," said Davis.
Steve Brown, vice president of sales and business development at Bluehawk Networks, a Campbell, Calif.-based solution provider, has seen the work that Dell has put into its solution provider support over the past 12 months.
"If you had asked me about Dell's partner support a year ago, boy, they had a long way to go," said Brown, who sits on the Dell Partner Advisory Council. "Today, I can't say that. [Dell] has done an exceptional job supporting us and we've had no issues with the program, how it is set up or operates."
In the Product Innovation category, Dell put up a fight against overall winner IBM. IBM came out ahead in the Quality and Reliability, Richness of Product Features, and Technical Innovation criteria. But Dell took the Marketability, Services Opportunities and Compatibility, and Ease of Integration criteria.
For Davis, these ARC results mark the progress that Dell has made with its channel program in a short time.
"We have been participating in the ARC awards for two years, and have had a channel program for almost three years," said Davis. "We believe that as we continue to build deep relationships with the channel, we will see our position in these categories improve."