2012 Best Companies To Partner With

Best Of The Best

This is the second year in a row that CRN has conducted research around the Best Companies to Partner With. As businesses rapidly move to adopt cloud and solution providers change their own models, this information becomes even more important. VARs have limited dollars, time and resources and need to evaluate their most trusted vendor relationships and place their bets. Here are the top 25 winners.

25. ViewSonic

CEO: James Chu

This longtime channel supporter has been consistently building out its monitor and digital signage line, innovating around touch capabilities. Although ViewSonic decided to exit the tablet market, the company offers a plethora of opportunities around vertical markets for VARs interested in expanding.

24. Kaspersky

CEO: Eugene Kaspersky

Sales have slowed a bit this year but Kaspersky should be able to recover as it leverages the channel and is known for innovative technology. This year the company has been doubling down on its deal registration program to incent partners to bring new deals into the company. Kaspersky recently shook up its channel management ranks with the departure of Nancy Reynolds. But both Chris Doggett and Jean Lazano, who came to Kaspersky from Sophos and Trend Micro, respectively, have strong relationships with the channel.

23. Intuit

CEO: Brad Smith

The QuickBooks king traditionally focused on small and midsize businesses by helping them run their organizations. Intuit continues to be a go-to for VARs and has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of Demandforce, a marketing automation and customer communications SaaS application company.

22. APC

CEO: Laurent Vernerey

Schneider Electric's APC has built its business with the help of the channel. Today its products offer an upsell opportunity for VARs building out data centers. In fact, this year APC launched a channel program to help solution providers do energy assessments, a critical concern for IT customers. For those who don't have expertise, APC will bring in experts to help with power management issues.

21. Juniper

CEO: Kevin Johnson

It's been a tough year for Juniper, but it remains a channel supporter that offers VARs best-of-breed infrastructure technology. And, the company continues to move upstream. To increase the scalability of its networking solutions, Juniper unveiled a partnership with Riverbed to license its application delivery controller. What's more, Juniper retooled its Partner Advantage program in the beginning of the year to help VARs better market themselves.

20. Trend Micro

CEO: Eva Chen

As VARs move to offer more services in the cloud, Trend Micro, too, has invested in cloud security and extended its managed service provider program by strengthening incentives. The security vendor also unveiled an alliance with Microsoft, integrating its security services into Windows Server 2012.

19. McAfee

Co-Presidents: Michael DeCesare and Todd Gebhart

Under the new leadership of Gavin Struthers, this year McAfee delivered some pre- and post-sale incentives for its SecurityAlliance Program, including as much as 25 percent additional margin for deal registration. What's more, it continues to help VARs grow and transform their business. The subsidiary of Intel also unveiled Partner Connected, a new five-step framework to reinforce go-to-market methodologies, and rolled out Managed Service Provider Program in 2012.

18. Citrix

CEO: Mark B. Templeton

Citrix provides ample opportunity for VARs looking toward virtualization and the cloud as it continues with Project Avalon. One caveat, however: While Citrix was named to the Best Company To Partner With list, it did make some changes to its America Advisor Rewards Program, pulling back some enterprise accounts and saying it would take the lead on them.

17. Oracle

CEO: Larry Ellison

The once-direct behemoth is starting to get channel religion under the leadership of Mark Hurd and Judson Althoff. This year Oracle trimmed the number of named accounts reserved for its direct sales force, invested heavily in partner training and recruited Tom LaRocca, one of HP's PartnerOne architects, to help engage Oracle's existing and new VARs. Oracle also put Exadata and Exalogic into the hands of distributors.

16. Samsung

CEO: Kwon Oh Hyun

Samsung is making investments and it shows. The company revealed plans to spend a whopping $41.6 billion to fuel growth and is on a tear with its Galaxy smartphone and tablet line. Working hand-in-hand with the channel, the company focused on growth in verticals and the public sector this year. Furthermore, as part of an extension to Samsung's Partners in Innovation program, the company plans to assign a direct representative to each solution provider account -- a shot of welcomed news to the channel.

15. EMC

CEO: Joe Tucci

Another vendor with a strong direct-sales force culture, EMC has made major investments in wooing the channel and offering VARs products they can sell into small and midsize businesses. This effort is supported by the highest ranks at EMC, forcing everyone to think about the channel play when they go to market. This year EMC has also beefed up recruitment and enablement and signed up Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Arrow for its VSPEX line. EMC also expanded its VNXe line and launched EMC Cooperative Services and Velocity Cloud Practices for the channel.