ARC: Best Vendors, Worst Vendors For ROI

Some vendors are better than others at providing solution providers healthy returns on their investments. Our Annual Report Card researchers asked VARs how they felt about their vendors' programs. Here's a look at the top 5 -- and the bottom 5.

Kaspersky Lab, as fifth-best ROI vendor, boasts a 100 percent commitment to the channel. It has a highly collaborative sales and marketing approach, and its Green Team Partner Program offers benefits and support to help assist and differentiate Kaspersky value-added partners and maximize their profitability in selling Kaspersky's products.

NetApp continues to advance Ethernet storage technology. The vendor offers standards-based products that support converged Ethernet (FCoE, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS) data access and help customers streamline their data centers and maximize ROI.

In March, the vendor released the FortiOS 4.0 operating system, a major firmware upgrade that integrates hundreds of new features to significantly improve the value and functionality of its FortiGate multithreat security appliances. According to the company, the additional three security features and one additional network service are aimed at increasing the value and ROI of Fortinet's consolidated security devices.

EMC in May launched Storage Configuration Advisor, an addition to its data center management software suite. The application can provide agentless policy-based monitoring of a storage infrastructure. The automated management software is aimed at helping storage teams minimize their operational costs by addressing the most frequent cause of service-affecting events: improper storage area network (SAN) configurations.

As top ROI vendor, EMC offers partners Webinars about the benefits of EMC's storage array replication software -- EMC Symmetrix SRDF and EMC MirrorView/S, and Sybase MirrorActivator. Mirror Activator combines the benefits of database replication with EMC's storage array replication software. EMC has made available: "Storage Management Strategies and Software for Maximizing Business Impact and ROI."

And now, the 5 Vendors with the Worst ROI.

Viewsonic's VARs gave the display vendor low scores in return on investment, which was likely reflective of the low scores the vendor received in other criteria, including technical innovation and compatibility and ease of integration. In addition, its poor showing in Services Opportunity seems to indicate that ViewSonic's policies are not mindful of VARs' ROI concerns. In each of those three criteria, ViewSonic's scores were well below its sole competitor, Samsung.

VARs were critical of Dell's ROI in the ARC. Dell fared poorly in criteria that influences a VAR's perception of ROI: quality, richness of product features, technical innovation and support, just to name a few. In each of those particular criteria, Dell's scores were far below the category average.

IBM's ROI score was nearly 9 points lower than Dell's. The vendor's scores in each of the 18 criteria were lower than the category average. When VARs feel shortchanged in every aspect of dealing with a particular vendor, they will not see a positive return on their investment.

Resellers really socked it to Oracle in ROI, giving it a score almost 7 points lower than Sun. Oracle was hurt by its poor performance in marketability and services opportunity: If it's hard to market a product, it's hard to get a decent ROI.

CA earned the dubious distinction of having the lowest score in ROI in the entire Annual Report Card survey. Among the most egregious trouble spots was its performance in Client Security Software, in which its score was roughly 20 points lower than the category average.