XChange Attendees Pick Top Vendors

Robert DeMarzo

Solution providers honored a mix of longstanding industry veterans and emerging vendors at the XChange Solution Provider 2015 Conference during the event’s closing XCellence awards ceremony.

The awards recognize vendors who were the best at articulating their value proposition during four days of engagement with solution providers during keynotes, closed-door boardrooms, demonstrations and expo show floor meetings.

XChange Solution Provider 2015 was held from Feb. 28-March 3 starting with a Security University designed for IT integrators who want to grow their security business and ending with a gala awards ceremony that included the XChange XCellence Awards and the prestigious CRN Channel Champions.

The XChange XCellence awards are highly valued by vendors because they provide immediate feedback on their performance at an event where the goal is to recruit new partners, strengthen relationships with existing ones, and position their organizations as market leaders. Solution providers judge vendors on how well executives and vendor representatives were able to articulate the value and relevancy of their solutions. XChange Advisory Board members cite a vendor’s use of customer and peer case studies, profit and sales potential, channel commitment and creativity as important factors in getting votes.

XChange Solution Provider 2015 attracted several hundred attendees including more than 225 solution providers and 60 IT suppliers and vendors. More than 170 solution providers voted in several categories listed below.

The nominees for XCellence in Security University included Avnet, Fortinet, Ixia and Sophos. The winner was Sophos, no doubt the result of an outstanding and hilarious keynote by Sophos security expert James Lyne who presented an eye-opening view of just how vulnerable businesses and individuals are to cyber- attacks and criminals.

When it comes to presenting on the big stage, the nominees for XCellence in Vendor Keynote were Dell, IBM, Microsoft and Samsung. The results were extremely close, with the win going to Samsung. The company was represented by the dynamic duo of Richard Hutton and Pete Richardson, who donned cowboy hats and Western garb befitting the Dallas-based event. The two delivered a keynote spanning Samsung’s push into printers, digital signage and several new markets.

Solution provider attendees spent a total of 65 hours in closed-door private boardroom meetings with vendors discussing programs, incentives, technologies and more. The nominees for XCellence in Boardroom-Premier were APC by Schneider Electric, Lenovo, Ruckus Wireless and Samsung. APC by Schneider Electric took home first place.

XCellence in Demo Room went to the combined Connectwise, Quosal, LabTech organization, which competed with nominees Fortinet, Samsung and Sophos. Vendors host several demo rooms at XChange where solution providers can test vendors’ products and see their services offerings in action.

Lenovo captured a double-header win for Tech Symposium, a fast-paced keynote, and Solutions Pavilion Strategy Premier-Vendor. Lenovo channel executive Alan Andrade accepted the award. He would return to the stage later in the event for Best of Show Premier-Vendor, a prestigious award given to the event’s largest sponsors for their overall performance.

Datto, an emerging player in the data backup and disaster recovery market, had one of the best performances of the event, capturing four categories along with Best of Show-Event sponsor. The company continued its momentum, having captured several awards at recent XChange conferences. Datto was the top vote- getter for XCellence in Boardroom Execution-Event; Solution Pavilion Strategy-Event; Products; and Services-Based Solutions. An ecstatic Rob Rae, vice president of business development, led his team on stage to accept the awards.

XChange XCellence awards were presented by The Channel Company’s Senior Vice President of Events and Partner Lisa MacKenzie and Robert C. DeMarzo, Senior Vice President of Strategic Content. The ceremony also included recognition for Microsoft’s support of Channel@Work. Later that evening CRN presented its annual Channel Champs Awards to vendors, capping off an evening of high honors for IT vendors focused on the partner community.

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