The Hottest Companies In The Midmarket Right Now

Company: Adtran

Hot Midmarket Product: NetVanta 7100

Midmarket Strategy: Sells to midmarket customers exclusively through channel partners.

Advantage(s): Low product price points.

Challenge(s): Fighting for share against dominant market leader Cisco.

Company: Advanced Micro Devices

Hot Midmarket Product: Business Class Platform

Midmarket Strategy: Pushes advantages of Opteron server chips to the data center.

Advantage(s): 'Native' client and server core micro-architecture delivers energy efficiency, dynamic power management and significant investment protection across CPU product line.

Challenge(s): Disastrous recent financial performance and major product delays hinder AMD's already difficult task of consistently competing with chip goliath Intel.

Company: Apple Computer

Hot Midmarket Product: MacBook Pro

Midmarket Strategy: Typically hush-hush about channel plans but releases more business-friendly products every year.

Advantage(s): The popularity of its iPhone and iPod products is helping it make inroads into the business world.

Challenge(s): Most business software is still designed for Microsoft Windows.

Company: Avaya

Hot Midmarket Product: One-X Mobile

Midmarket Strategy: Positions its midmarket solutions as an extension of its enterprise-class offerings.

Advantage(s): Recent research from FrostSullivan found that Avaya leads the North American voice and unified messaging market in revenue and shipments.

Challenge(s): Accelerating its time-to-market and training the channel to sell packaged solutions.

Company: Cisco Systems

Hot Midmarket Product: Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Business Edition

Midmarket Strategy: Pushes 100 percent of mid-market sales through channel partners.

Advantage(s): Broad portfolio of integrated products encourages many channel partners to recommend end-to-end Cisco solutions.

Challenge(s): Premium pricing strategy leaves Cisco open to attack from lower-cost rivals.

Company: Citrix Systems

Hot Midmarket Product: XenServer

Midmarket Strategy: Creates packaging, pricing and training and makes marketing decisions from a channel-first standpoint.

Advantage(s): Has broad vision of branching out beyond servers and into the desktop virtualization market.

Challenge(s): Overshadowed by rival VMware.

Company: CommVault

Hot Midmarket Product: Simpana suite

Midmarket Strategy: Sells software both as a licensed application and as a technology to let channel partners offer online data protection as a service.

Advantage(s): Consistent channel program and lower product prices.

Challenge(s): Less well-known and much smaller than competitors such as Symantec and EMC.

Company: Compellent Technologies

Hot Midmarket Product: Storage Center array

Midmarket Strategy: 100 percent channel approach to marketing a relatively low-cost storage array with many typical enterprise-class features.

Advantage(s): Full-featured product with a loyal base of solution providers.

Challenge(s): Small size and lack of brand recognition.

Company: CA

Hot Midmarket Product: ARCServe

Midmarket Strategy: Created a new business unit to sell storage and recovery management software for the midmarket exclusively through the channel

Advantage(s): Has been putting more emphasis on the channel lately and backing it up with products packaged specifically for midmarket customers.

Challenge(s): Must dispel its reputation as a supplier of mainframe-focused products sold by an aggressive direct-sales force.

Company: Dell

Hot Midmarket Product: Dell EqualLogic PS5000 Series

Midmarket Strategy: Aims to deliver best price-performance in midmarket with a full portfolio of products.

Advantage(s): Uses its Wal-Mart-like purchasing power to deliver best-value midmarket products.

Challenge(s): Lacks channel and services muscle of No. 1 rival HP. Must prove its new channel initiative is more than just talk.

Company: eCopy

Hot Midmarket Product: Sharescan Suite

Midmarket Strategy: Solution stack is built so companies can choose a starting point that best fits their business and then add more features as needed.

Advantage(s): Provides a standard document- imaging platform supported by every major multifunction peripheral manufacturer.

Challenge(s): Needs to expand its channel ecosystem to tap into fast-growth mid-market applications.

Company: EMC

Hot Midmarket Product: Clarion CX300/CX300i

Midmarket Strategy: Continues to develop its entry-level and midrange Clariion line of storage appliances while building a managed services platform that will be available through its solution providers.

Advantage(s): Strong channel-friendly program for small and midmarket business customers, along with a well-known storage brand in larger midmarket businesses.

Challenge(s): History and long memories of the days when it was known as an aggressive enemy of the channel, plus not as well-known among smaller business customers.

Company: Google

Hot Midmarket Product: Google Search Appliance

Midmarket Strategy: To penetrate midmarket accounts with Google Search Appliance, Google Mini, Salesforce For Google Apps, and Postini hosted e-mail and messaging offerings.

Advantage(s): Reputation for creative and innovative technology for free or at bargain- basement prices.

Challenge(s): Small midmarket footprint and a low channel IQ despite a much- publicized distribution agreement with Ingram Micro.

Company: Hewlett-Packard

Hot Midmarket Product: HP BladeSystem c3000

Midmarket Strategy: Strategy is to cede virtually the entire midmarket to solution providers while its direct- sales force handles its largest named enterprise accounts.

Advantage(s): Breadth of HP's product portfolio is greater than any other IT company.

Challenge(s): Must fight to keep its direct-sales force away from midmarket accounts and focused on its named enterprise customers.

Company: Hitachi Data Systems

Hot Midmarket Product: WMS100

Midmarket Strategy: Sells through the channel and through system vendors.

Advantage(s): Loyal partner base, plus many reseller arrangements with system vendors such as Sun Microsystems and SGI.

Challenge(s): Still a relatively unknown brand in the U.S. combined with what many solution providers say is little or no marketing activities.

Company: IBM

Hot Midmarket Product: IBM System Storage n3600

Midmarket Strategy: Its platform, called Blue Business Platform, includes APIs to enable partners' solutions to work with each other.

Advantage(s): Huge base of technology, services and solution providers, coupled with IBM's own technology, along with experience in packaging solutions for midmarket customers.

Challenge(s): Has gotten rid of its commodity product lines, especially PCs and components, and is moving away from low-end servers, potentially alienating many of its smaller partners.

Company: Intel

Hot Midmarket Product: Intel Modular Server

Midmarket Strategy: Relentless 'tick-tock-driven' product refresh cycle that gives OEM and system builder partners more powerful, dynamic and energy-efficient silicon with metronomic consistency.

Advantage(s): Brand awareness, marketing heft, top-to-bottom server offerings, and fruitful relationship with its system builder channel.

Challenge(s): Main x86 rival AMD's launch of its first commercial desktop and notebook platforms this year, the possibility of prolonged economic downturn affecting product sales.

Company: KACE

Hot Midmarket Product: KBOX 1000

Midmarket Strategy: To provide end-to-end systems management and deployment capabilities via affordable and easy-to-use appliances.

Advantage(s): Focuses on product sets that are intuitive and easy to use, so no additional staff is needed to manage them.

Challenge(s): Faces name-recognition issues when up against competitors such as Microsoft, Altiris and LANDesk.

Company: Kaspersky Lab

Hot Midmarket Product: Open Space Security

Midmarket Strategy: 100-percent channel focused.

Advantage(s): Hosted security services targeted at midmarket customer.

Challenge(s): Antivirus focus only.

Company: Lefthand Networks

Hot Midmarket Product: NSM 2120 Security SaaS with Business Continuity

Midmarket Strategy: Stays close to the channel with solid and focused product line.

Advantage(s): Offers both physical (hardware-based) and virtual versions of its iSCSI storage appliances.

Challenge(s): Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic could put pressure on LeftHand and on all iSCSI-focused vendors.

Company: McAfee

Hot Midmarket Product: Total Encyption for Protection for Data

Midmarket Strategy: Focuses on delivering products that leverage enterprise-class technology but are easy to install, manage and maintain.

Advantage(s): Has product family that delivers a comprehensive compliance infrastructure.

Challenge(s): Educating customers on the company's midmarket strategy.

Company: Microsoft

Hot Midmarket Product: Essentials Business Server

Midmarket Strategy: Strategy is all about taking enterprise-level features and functionality and tuning them for midsize companies, both in terms of product design and pricing.

Advantage(s): Has legions of devoted channel partners who've long sang the praises of Small Business Server, and they're excited about getting their hands on Windows Essentials Business Server (EBS).

Challenge(s): Must educate the market on EBS' value proposition and clarify that it's not just a scaled-down version of Windows Server. This includes pointing out the ability for EBS to manage end-user licensing.

Company: NetGear

Hot Midmarket Product: ProSafe 48-port Gigabit Smart Switch, aka GS748TR

Midmarket Strategy: Recently released several products across its typically SMB-focused portfolio to target businesses of that size.

Advantage(s): Offers ProSafe Lifetime Warranty, which few vendors targeting the midmarket offer.

Challenge(s): Many of Netgear's customers want to go with a one-size-fits- all approach, often resulting in their choosing an enterprise vendor based on brand recognition.

Company: NetSuite

Hot Midmarket Product: NetSuite OneWorld

Midmarket Strategy: Offers integrated business applications for midsize companies and delivers them over the Internet using SAP-like infrastructure.

Advantage(s): More cost-effective alternative to much more expensive products being pushed by competitors.

Challenge(s): Fragmentation of the market, and the reality that it's tougher to sell ERP than CRM could slow the company's progress.

Company: Novell

Hot Midmarket Product: Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise

Midmarket Strategy: Optimized SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for mid-market customers through alliances such as the recent deal with SAP.

Advantage(s): Huge installed base of NetWare customers.

Challenge(s): NetWare sales declining. Customer base being targeted by competitors such as Microsoft and Red Hat.

Company: Oracle

Hot Midmarket Product: Oracle Database 11G Standard Edition

Midmarket Strategy: Under Oracle Accelerate initiative, company provides pre-configured bundles of applications tailored for SMBs in vertical industries.

Advantage(s): Few competitors can match its broad lineup of database, middleware and application software.

Challenge(s): Has to step carefully to support all its acquired products while developing its next-generation Fusion applications.

Company: Progress Software

Hot Midmarket Product: Progress OpenEdge

Midmarket Strategy: Working to expand sales of its application integration and management products to midsize companies.

Advantage(s): Has stable of more than 1,500 ISV partners, covering numerous vertical industries and broad geographic areas.

Challenge(s): Pushing into SOA infrastructure, integration and messaging software market, where technologies are evolving rapidly.

Company: Sage Software

Hot Midmarket Product: MAS 90

Midmarket Strategy: Longtime focus on SMBs, relies heavily on the channel to reach them.

Advantage(s): Broad range of products, many targeted squarely at midmarket customers. Consistently gets high grades from solution providers for its channel programs and support.

Challenge(s): Broad, sometimes overlapping product lines can be confusing. Recent channel management team shakeup.


Hot Midmarket Product: Salesforce Partners (PRM)

Midmarket Strategy: Offers broad range of features and functionality.

Advantage(s): Maintained a leading position by expanding its portfolio beyond CRM and adding channel- friendly initiatives like AppExchange, a directory of add-ons developed by Salesforce partners.

Challenge(s): Bigger competitors such as Microsoft and Oracle are all moving into on-demand CRM space, and their influence could eat away at Salesforce's margins.

Company: Samsung

Hot Midmarket Product: 460 DXN Digital Display

Midmarket Strategy: Shook up channel programs last year to help grow midmarket business

Advantage(s): Has wide range of products and is putting resources behind digital signage and ultramobile PCs in the midmarket

Challenge(s): Beefing up line of printers but will have tough competition from longtime leaders HP and Xerox.

Company: SAP AG

Hot Midmarket Product: Business All-in-One

Midmarket Strategy: Targets mid-market customers through the channel with Business All-in-One application package and Business ByDesign on-demand applications.

Advantage(s): Thanks to industry consolidation, SAP has become one of the dominant players in ERP software.

Challenge(s): Still working on the best ways of selling, running and delivering on-demand applications.

Company: SAS Institute

Hot Midmarket Product: SAS Analytics Pro for Midsize Business

Midmarket Strategy: Launched Alliance reseller program in late 2006 to expand sales to SMBs using pre-configured bundles of its business intelligence software.

Advantage(s): Well known for its sophisticated data management and analysis applications.

Challenge(s): Continues to search for right mix of products and tactics for its nascent channel efforts to reach SMB customers.

Company: ShoreTel

Hot Midmarket Product: ShorePhone IP 565g

Midmarket Strategy: Focuses on building quality VoIP products at value prices, driving 100 percent of its business through channel partners.

Advantage(s): Has loyal channel following because of its high product quality and strong partner margins.

Challenge(s): Competes against Cisco, a market-leading, deep-pocketed rival.

Company: SonicWall

Hot Midmarket Product: NSA 3500, 4500, 5000

Midmarket Strategy: Expanding its footprint to the midsize and enterprise markets.

Advantage(s): Has products designed specifically for companies with shortage of IT personnel.

Challenge(s): With current economy, challenge will be to enable its 10,000 partners to sustain level of profitability.

Company: Sun Microsystems

Hot Midmarket Product: Sun Fire X4500 "Thumper" hybrid sever/storage appliance

Midmarket Strategy: Revamped product line in past couple of years to focus on midmarket, including series of high-performance, low-cost x86-based systems.

Advantage(s): Strong server and operating system offerings and one of the strongest supporters of the open-source community.

Challenge(s): Inconsistent channel programs, failed storage strategy (with some strong exceptions), and a brand name associated with either "enterprise" or "stodgy old computers" or "the dot in dot-com."

Company: Symantec

Hot Midmarket Product: Backup Exec 12

Midmarket Strategy: Offers combination of affordable solutions that help fully protect mixed OS environment.

Advantage(s): Has comprehensive range of products.

Challenge(s): Faces stiff competition from newer vendors entering its space with innovative technologies often at significantly reduced price points.

Company: Trend Micro

Hot Midmarket Product: Neatsuite Advanced

Midmarket Strategy: Strategy incorporates targeting businesses with array of on-premise and hosted security solutions that provide multilayer, multithreat protection.

Advantage(s): Focused offerings both designed and packaged specifically to help midmarket customers resolve complex security issues more easily.

Challenge(s): Getting mind-share of the overworked mid-market IT administrator who has limited, or dwindling, staff, time and resources.

Company: Verizon Wireless

Hot Midmarket Product: Various mobility products

Midmarket Strategy: Focuses on network reliability.

Advantage(s): Quality of its network.

Challenge(s): Operates in aggressive, competitive market.

Company: VMware

Hot Midmarket Product: VMware Server

Midmarket Strategy: Created a variety of Acceleration Kits, packages of software and/or training aimed specifically at midmarket and smaller customers.

Advantage(s): Has broad product line.

Challenge(s): Driving awareness of its offerings.

Company: Webroot Software

Hot Midmarket Product: Webroot Email Security with Business Continuity

Midmarket Strategy: 100 percent channel-only model.

Advantage(s): Service solution eliminates huge infrastructure capital investment midmarket accounts must make to protect their business.

Challenge(s): Battling myth that data in the data center is more secure than data in the cloud.

Company: Xerox

Hot Midmarket Product: Phaser 8860 multifunction printer

Midmarket Strategy: Relying on broad product line and offerings like PagePack managed print service to help grow midmarket business.

Advantage(s): Updated Peak Partner Program last year and has been gaining ground in the channel, winning high marks from VARs for product quality and reliability.

Challenge(s): With long copier heritage, Xerox still isn't the first name that comes to mind when you're looking for a printer.