ARC 2011: Biggest Vendor Gains And Drops

The Ups And Downs Of The ARC

The Annual Report Card has, for 26 years, asked vendors' solution providers for the lowdown on their partners. Sometimes, the vendors listen to what those have to VARs say and address the shortcomings their programs may have. Others aren't so attentive.

Following are five vendors that fell from their solution providers' good graces and 20 companies that did their homework and saw improvements in their scores.

No. 5 Biggest Drop: IBM, Volume Servers

Down: 6.6 points (Overall Score: 68.1)

IBM lost 17 criteria to first-place HP and one criteria to Dell. The biggest disparity was in Revenue and Profit Potential, where IBM was 16.9 points off the mark. Ease of Doing Business and Marketing Support need substantial improvement as well, according to VAR respondents.

No. 4 Biggest Drop: Oki Data, Workgroup Color Printers

Down: 6.8 points (Overall Score: 65.6)

Again placing third in the Workgroup Color Printer category as it did last year, Oki Data did not win a single criterion. Its largest loss was in Quality of Field Management, but it fared nearly as poorly in Richness of Product Features/Functionality and Solution Provider Program, when compared with first-place vendor Xerox.

No. 3 Biggest Drop: Microsoft, Data & Information Management

Down: 6.9 points (Overall Score: 63.8)

Microsoft lost all 18 criteria to first-place IBM, and each of its 2011 scores was lower than those from 2010. The biggest decrease was in Revenue and Profit Potential, where the software giant fell 14.6 points. Ease of Doing Business and Managing Channel Conflict were areas of particular disappointment also, according to VAR respondents.

No. 2 Biggest Drop: VMWare, Server Virtualization Software

Down: 7.4 (Overall Score: 72.2)

VMware was the only participant in this product category and did not do well compared with last year. It fell the most in Revenue and Profit Potential, with a 19.3-point drop. The vendor scored nearly as poorly in Ease of Doing Business and Marketing Support.

No. 1 Biggest Drop: Trend Micro, Network Security Software

Down: 8.5 (Overall Score: 66.5)

Trend Micro's sole rival in the Network Security Software category this year was the victorious Kaspersky Lab. Last year, Trend Micro came in first, facing off against Novell and Websense. Trend Micro saw its score decline most in the Post-Sales Support criterion, but it fell significantly in a number of criteria, especially Compatibility & Ease of Integration and Quality and Reliability. The vendor didn't post gains in any criterion.

No. 20 Biggest Gain: Intel, Processors

Gain: 4.8 points (Overall Score: 84.5)

The chip maker did better in every subcategory -- Product Innovation, Support and Partnership -- than it did in 2010. Most notable were its gains in two Product Innovation criteria, Product Compatibility & Ease of Integration, where it rose more than 10 points, and Richness of Product Features, in which Intel scored 9.8 points higher than last year. Its 8.3-point increase in the Partner Portal criteria was also instrumental. Flat scores in other criteria and even some small declines in Training and Revenue and Profit Potential prevented Intel from ranking higher on this list.

No. 19 Biggest Gain: Dell, Midrange (High-End) Servers ($25,000 and Above)

Gain: 5.2 (Overall Score: 75.2)

The PC manufacturer had tremendous improvement in Product Quality and Reliability, scoring 12.5 points higher in 2011 compared with 2010. VARs also gave the vendor better marks in Ease of Doing Business (an 11.9-point gain), ROI (10.9) and Quality of Field Management (10.3). Still, Dell, which won the Midrange category overall, could improve in Services Opportunity and Training, areas it has lost ground in since last year.

No. 18 Biggest Gain: Oracle, Middleware

Gain: 5.9 (Overall Score: 76.3)

Oracle jumped from third place in the Middleware category last year to first place in 2011. (Microsoft, the 2010 category champ, was not included in this year's survey as it did not achieve the required number of responses.)

The vendor saw enormous increases in several criteria, particularly in Ease of Doing Business, where its score leaped 17.8 points from 2010. Other areas of huge improvement were Marketing Support (up 12.1 points), Solution Provider Program (up 11.1 points) and Post and Pre-Sales Support (up 10.9 and 10.3 points, respectively).

No. 17 Biggest Gain: NetApp, Enterprise Network Storage

Gain: 6.1 (Overall Score: 81.3)

Although NetApp lost first place in the Enterprise Network Storage category to EMC as it did in 2010, the vendor saw increases in its scores in every one of the 18 criteria. Its largest improvements were in Ease of Doing Business (up 11.7) and Quality of Field Management (up 9.8). Interestingly, while its Pre-Sales Support score was 8 points greater than in 2010, its Post-Sales score rose only 1.7 points.

No. 16 Biggest Gain: HP, Volume Servers (Less Than $25,000)

Gain: 6.3 (Overall Score: 76.4)

HP finished second in this category last year, behind IBM, despite winning the Product Innovation subcategory. This year, HP took top honors and won all three subcategories, while IBM fell to third place, behind Dell. HP's biggest gain was in Marketing Support, where its score rose 12.5 points. Other large increases were in Quality of Field Management (up 11.7), ROI (up 11.1), Pre-Sales (up 10.7) and Managing Channel Conflict (up 10.6). HP lost ground, however, in Product Compatibility & Ease of Integration (down 3.0) and Post-Sales Support (down 2.6 points).

No. 15 Biggest Gain: Kaspersky Lab, Client Security Software

Gain: 6.6 (Overall Score: 89.1)

Kaspersky Lab finished second in this product category to Sophos, but posted substantial gains from 2010 -- despite its excellent scores last year that won it the category in 2010. Kaspersky's jump of 12.4 points in Marketing Support was its largest increase, followed by a 10.6-point jump in ROI, a 10.3-point bump in Partner Portal and an 8.8-point leap in Pre-Sales Support.

No. 14 Biggest Gain: IBM, Midrange (High-End) Servers ($25,000 and Above)

Gain: 6.9 (Overall Score: 72.3)

Although IBM came in second in this product category to Dell, it won two of the subcategories: Product Innovation and Support. IBM made its biggest gain, 17.1 points, in the Managing Channel Conflict criteria. Other large increases were in Quality of Field Management (up 12.9 points), Solution Provider Program (9.7 points) and Training (9.3 points).

No. 13 Biggest Gain: Adtran, SMB Networking Hardware

Gain: 7.3 (Overall Score: 83.3)

Adtran is the first of several vendors from the SMB Networking Hardware category to post large score increases in the 2011 ARC. The manufacturer showed great improvement in a number of criteria, particularly in Post-Sales Support, where it was up 12.7 points, and Pre-Sales Support, in which its performance earned it an 11.9-point increase. Adtran saw substantial gains in Richness of Product Features/Functionality (up 11.7), Product Quality and Reliability (up 11.3) and Ease of Doing Business (up 10.7).

No. 12 Biggest Gain: Sophos, Client Security Software

Gain: 8.4 (Overall Score: 89.8)

Sophos is the new champ in Client Security Software, wresting the crown from Kaspersky Lab. Sophos improved in every criteria in 2011. Its biggest gains were achieved in the criteria of Partner Portal (up 13.5 points), Managing Channel Conflict (up 12.5 points) and Ease of Doing Business (up 11.3 points).

No. 11 Biggest Gain: Lenovo, Notebooks/Mobile Computers

Gain: 8.5 (Overall Score: 68.5)

This is another product category that saw great improvements in 2011. Lenovo, which finished in second place, saw a vast uptick in its Post-Sales scores, moving up 15 points. Other big movers for Lenovo were Richness of Product Features/Functionality (up 13.8 points) and Quality of Field Management (up 12.2 points).

No. 10 Biggest Gain: Samsung, Flat Panel Displays

Gain: 8.7 (Overall Score: 73.0)

Samsung moved from third place to first in this ARC product category. It improved in each of the 18 criteria, particularly in Product Quality and Reliability, where its rating improved 15.5 points. The vendor also saw a significant leap in Produc) Compatibility & Ease of Integration (up 14.2 points) and in ROI (up 13.2 points).

No. 9 Biggest Gain: D-Link, SMB Network Storage

Gain: 9.0 (Overall Score: 76.6)

D-Link placed third in this category, falling from second place in 2010, but its 2011 scores were much higher than the previous year's. VARs saw the most improvement in Product Compatibility & Ease of Integration (up 17.3 points), followed by Managing Channel Conflict (up 15.9 points), and Richness of Product Features/Functionality (up 15.2 points).

No. 8 Biggest Gain: Dell, Enterprise Network Storage

Gain: 9.1 (Overall Score: 9.7)

This year, Dell placed third in a field of six contenders, an improvement from last year, when it came in sixth out of seven. Product Technical Innovation saw particular improvement, with a gain of 17.7 points. Dell also seemed to focus on Richness of Product Features/Functionality (up 15.7 points) and Product Compatibility & Ease of Integration (up 14.7 points).

No. 7 Biggest Gain: Juniper, Network Security Appliances

Gain: 9.3 (Overall Score: 82.1)

Juniper placed third out of a field of five competitors, the same as it had in 2010. The vendor showed greatest improvement in Services Opportunities, where its score was 16.5 points higher than in 2011. Juniper also made great strides in Services Opportunity (up 16.5), Quality of Field Management (up 14.6) and Managing Channel Conflict (up 13.0).

No. 6 Biggest Gain: HP, Notebooks/Mobile Computers

Gain: 9.6 (Overall Score: 67.2)

Showing improvement in every criterion, HP rose from second to first place in the Notebook category, ousting Panasonic from the top spot. Its largest gain was in Ease of Doing Business, where its score rose 16 points. Other noteworthy areas of improvement were Richness of Product Features/Functionality (up 14.6), Product Quality and Reliability (up 14.4) and Product Technical Innovation (up 13.3).

No. 5 Biggest Gain: Dell, Notebooks/Mobile Computers

Gain: 9.7 (Overall Score: 79.1)

Despite coming in third place, Dell's scores significantly improved in 2011. Scores in Product Quality and Reliability rose 27.7 points, while Product Technical Innovation jumped 17.3 points. Product Compatibility & Ease of Integration climbed 17. 1 points, and Richness of Product Features/Functionality gained 16 points.

No. 4 Biggest Gain: HP, SMB Network Storage

Gain: 10.8 (Overall Score: 79.1)

Newcomer EMC took the top slot from HP, which moved down one notch to second place. VARs indicated that despite this, HP delivered on Quality of Field Management, where its score grew 17.4 points, and on Manages Channel Conflict (up 15.3). In addition, HP showed substantial increases in Pre-Sales support (up 14.7 points). Services Opportunity and Solution Provider Program also sustained excellent growth, with scores growing 14.5 points and 13.6 points, respectively.

No. 3 Biggest Gain: D-Link, SMB Networking Hardware

Gain: 11.2 (Overall Score: 75.8)

D-Link showed improvement across the board. The vendor posted a huge increase of 22.2 points in Product Quality and Reliability. Solution providers also raised its scores substantially for Ease of Doing Business (up 17.7 points) and Product Compatibility & Ease of Integration (up 17.0 points). Other areas of major improvement included ROI (up 15.7), Marketability and Product Technical Innovation (both up 14.2 points).

No. 2 Biggest Gain: Ruckus Wireless, SMB Networking Hardware

Gain: 14.0 (Overall Score: 85.5)

Ruckus moved from third to first in the SMB Networking Hardware category. Its smallest improvement was 7.6 points in Marketing Support; its largest was in Revenue and Profit Potential (up 18.9 points). VARs saw vast improvement additionally in the areas of Pre-Sales Support (up 17.9 points), Ease of Doing Business (up 17.6 points) and Solution Provider Program (up 17.5 points).

No. 1 Biggest Gain: HP, SMB Networking Hardware

Gain: 14.3 (Overall Score 80.7)

HP wins the most improved award, although it came in third in its product category. Overall, SMB Networking Hardware saw four of its five vendors substantially improve their scores; the sole exception was last-place Cisco. HP gained an impressive 22.8 points in Pre-Sales Support. Other criteria that saw major improvement were Services Opportunity (up 20.8 points), Post-Sales Support (19.5 points) and Training (up 18.2 points).