2015's Annual Report Card Winners: A Grade Above

Which vendors went to the head of the class in CRN’s Annual Report Card survey this year? Solution providers graded their IT vendors across 22 product categories in the 2015 ARC, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Partners evaluated vendors across 18 criteria in product innovation, support and partnership.

Seven of the 20 categories that carried over from 2014 to 2015 saw new winners, with two vendors appearing in the ARC winner's circle for the very first time. Three other vendors reclaimed at least one product category victory after dropping from the ranks in 2014.

And, for the first time in recent memory, a security vendor brought home the most category crowns.

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[Behind the Scenes: 30th Annual ARC Awards]

Sophos logged victories this year in the Client Security Software, Network Security Appliances and Network Security Software categories.

Partners chalked up the company's recent success to well-timed acquisitions in emerging security fields, stellar deal registration protections and a culture that's open to channel feedback and critique.

Sophos' protection of partner leads is second to none, even when tiny solution providers are going up against giants such as CDW or SHI, Sam Heard, president of Lakeland, Fla.-based Data Integrity Services, told CRN.

Sean Stenovich, partner and owner of Farmers Branch, Texas-based M&S Technologies, No. 335 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, praised Sophos for having an extremely interactive partner advisory board.

Instead of rehashing the same issues at every meeting, company officials quickly take care of the partner concerns -- or are forthright about explaining why it might take a year or two to resolve -- and encourage solution providers to raise new issues.

2015 ARC

Annual Report Card

See how solution providers graded their vendor partners on product innovation, support and partnership in CRN's 2015 Annual Report Card.

IBM, meanwhile, won the top spot in Enterprise Network Storage and took home top honors in the category of Midrange Servers. Oracle won the Data and Information Management category, and VMware scored the top nod in Desktop Virtualization.

Two vendors notched their first-ever ARC appearances: ConnectWise and Comcast, who took home the gold in Managed Services and the new category of Network Connectivity, respectively.

Click here for the full scorecards for each technology category in this year’s ARC.