ARC 2014: Biggest Vendors Gains And Drops
The Ups And Downs Of The ARC
CRN's Annual Report Card has surveyed solution providers for their opinions on their IT vendor partners for 29 years. Their responses offer a snapshot of how well these vendors are working with partners -- or not -- as well as how their products stack up against their competitors.
Here are the biggest overall ARC score increases and decreases in 2014 -- five vendors whose scores rose year over year and five whose scores showed the most improvement.
Note: Product categories and criteria covered by the ARC change year to year with some dropped and new ones added. So year-to-year comparisons aren't always possible.
No. 5 Biggest Drop: Symantec In Backup & Recovery Software
CEO: Michael Brown
Down 6.2 Points (Overall 2014 Score 66.1)
Symantec came in second in this product category in 2013, behind first-place finisher EMC and ahead of IBM. But with its lower score this year, the best Symantec could manage was third place behind its two rivals.
Symantec's scores were generally down one or two points for specific criteria under product innovation, support and partnership. Most prominently, it's average score for product innovation dropped 7.9 points to 73.6, including significant declines in scores for product quality and reliability, and richness of product features/functionality. Symantec did improve its scores for marketing support and training.
No. 4 Biggest Drop: Trend Micro In Network Security Appliances
CEO: Eva Chen
Down 7.1 Points (Overall 2014 Score 76.5)
Trend Micro was second in this product category last year, just 0.8 points behind Fortinet. But with this year's score the company fell to sixth in a field of seven.
Trend Micro's average product innovation score was down 7.1 points, including significant declines in richness of product features (down 9.4 points) and technical innovation (down 9.6 points). Average score for support was down 5.5 points -- including a stunning 12.9-point drop in its grade for quality of field management. And its average partnership score plunged 8.2 points, including declines of 9.6 points for revenue and profit potential and 10.3 points for managing channel conflict.
No. 3 Biggest Drop: Juniper Networks In Enterprise Networking Infrastructure
CEO: Shaygan Kheradpir
Down 8.8 Points (Overall 2014 Score 74.6)
Juniper Networks held onto the No. 2 spot in this product category, behind rival Cisco, despite its lower score.
Juniper's product innovation score average was down 8.5 points, including significant drops in scores for richness of product features/functionality (down 10.6 points) and technical innovation (down 10.4 points). The vendor's average score for support criteria declined 9.2 points, including drops of 11.4 points for quality of field management and 15.1 points for marketing support. And Juniper's 73.6 average score for partnership was down 8.7 points -- one area last year where the company outscored Cisco.
No. 2 Biggest Drop: Juniper Networks In Network Security Appliances
CEO: Shaygan Kheradpir
Down 10.4 Points (Overall 2014 Score 70.8)
Juniper Networks came in dead last in this product category this year behind a field of seven vendors, including high-scorer Sophos.
Juniper's average score for product innovation was down a moderate 6.3 points. But its average score for support was down 9.5 points, including stunning drops of 19.4 points for quality of field management and 12.6 points for training. And the partnership average score was down 12.0 points, including an 11.1-point decline for managing channel conflict and 12.7-point drop for ease of doing business.
No. 1 Biggest Drop: IBM In Converged Infrastructure
CEO: Ginni Rometty
Down 10.5 Points (Overall 2014 Score 58.6)
IBM recorded the biggest drop in this year's Annual Report Card survey, with a 10.5-point decline in overall average score in the converged infrastructure product category. This year, as in 2013, IBM came in fourth behind Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco.
IBM's product innovation score average was down 11.6 points, including huge declines in scores for richness of product features/functionality (down 21 points) and technical innovation (down 16.5 points). Even worse was the 12.2-point plunge in the average support score, fueled by a 19.5-point drop in pre-sales support, 12.4-point fall in post-sales support and 16.7-point fall in marketing support. A 16.8-point decrease in the score for partner communication led the 8.3-point decline in the average partnership score.
No. 5 Biggest Gain: Microsoft In Data & Information Management
CEO: Satya Nadella
Up 10.8 Points (Overall 2014 Score 73.8)
Turning to the IT vendors that improved their scores this year, Microsoft captured the top spot in this product category, outscoring Oracle (last year's high scorer) and IBM.
Microsoft's average score for product innovation (84.6) was up 7.0 points, boosted by gains in scores for product quality and reliability (up 7.0 points) and marketability (up 7.7 points). The 6.1-point gain in support score average (to 67.0) included an 8.8-point increase in the marketability score and an 11.7-point increase in quality of field management. And the software vendor's 69.4 average score for partnership was fueled by gains of 7.4 points in managing channel conflict, 9.8 points in revenue and profit potential and 11.1 points in ease of doing business.
No. 4 Biggest Gain: Microsoft In Business Analytics
CEO: Satya Nadella
Up 11.3 Points (Overall 2014 Score 78.4)
Microsoft also improved its scores in the business analytics product category, helping it surpass IBM, last year's top scorer, and come out on top this year. The software vendor's biggest gains came in the support criteria where it boosted its average score by 15.5 points to 74.2. That included astounding score increases of 12.0 points for training, 15.5 points for post-sales support, 17.6 points for quality of field management and 22.4 points for pre-sales support.
Microsoft also recorded a 10.1-point increase in its partnership average score, including 12.0-point and 18.1-point gains in solution provider program and managing channel conflict criteria, respectively. And the 9.1-point gain in the product innovation average score benefited from gains of 10 points for technical innovation and 14.4 points for services opportunity.
No. 3 Biggest Gain: IBM In Volume Servers
CEO: Ginni Rometty
Up 12.0 Points (Overall 2014 Score 74.0)
In contrast to its poor showing in converged infrastructure, IBM also made the list of biggest gainers -- in this case in the volume server category. But the company still came in third behind Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo -- the latter is the company IBM is selling its x86-based server business to.
IBM improved its product innovation average score by 10.2 points to an impressive 82.8 points. But the real gains came in the support average score (up 13.6 points to 70.3) and partnership average score (up 12.4 points to 69.0). The support score was boosted by higher grades for pre-sales support (up 17.2 points) and post-sales support (up 14.0 points). On the partnership side, solution providers boosted IBM's grades for managing channel conflict by 20.8 points and ease of doing business by 24.1 points.
No. 2 Biggest Gain: Dell In Converged Infrastructure
CEO: Michael Dell
Up 12.3 Points (Overall 2014 Score 85.0)
Dell was the second biggest gainer in this year's Annual Report Card scores, boosting its product innovation average score in this product category by 11.4 points to 93.1, its support average score by 13.4 points to 80.3 and its partnership average score by 12.3 points to 81.4.
Solution providers boosted Dell's grades for richness of product features/functionality (up 14.2 points) and services opportunity (up 16.7 points), while the support score gain was helped by higher scores for pre-sales support (up 17.1 points) and training (up a whopping 20 points). And channel partners gave Dell higher grades for its solution provider program (up 15.2 points) and for managing channel conflict (up 14.2 points).
No. 1 Biggest Gain: D-Link In Network Storage (SMB)
CEO: Roger Kao
Up 13.4 Points (Overall 2014 Score 85.9)
D-Link, fourth in this product category last year, improved its positioning to No. 2 this year (behind EMC) by racking up the biggest overall Annual Report Card score, of any vendor, in any product category. The company recorded an average score of 89.9 for product innovation (up 15.4 points), 84.2 for support (up 15.0 points) and 83.7 for partnership (up 10.7 points).
Solution providers gave D-Link higher scores in every criteria including product marketability (up 18.3 points) and richness of product features/functionality (up 15.7 points); better grades for field management quality (up 15.6 points) and pre-sales support (up 18.5 points); and higher scores for communication (up 13.4 points), managing conflict (up 14.1 points) and ease of doing business (up 17.1 points).