The Best And Brightest: 2015 CRN Channel Champions Awards

Welcome To Channel Champs

More than 225 solution providers from across the country gathered in Dallas for the XChange Solution Provider 2015 event, hosted by CRN publisher The Channel Company, to celebrate 18 companies in the 25th annual Channel Champs awards.

The Channel Champs winners were based on a survey of more than 5,000 solution providers, evaluating 117 vendors across 28 technical categories. Read on to find out which vendors were voted the best-of-the-best by solution providers in 2015.

Celebrating A Silver Anniversary

The Channel Champs awards have been a constant in the rapidly changing IT industry, dating all the way back to 1991. The Channel Company, however, is far newer, having become a private, independent operation just 18 months ago.

The Channel Company CEO Robert Faletra (pictured) kicked off the ceremony by thanking the audience for their attendance and support.


Making a clean sweep of the Desktop and Server Virtualization category for the second consecutive year is VMware. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor hasn't taken its eye off its core business even as it expands into new areas of business, such as hybrid cloud computing and software-defined storage.

Frank Rauch (center), vice president of the Americas partner organization for VMware, accepted the award from The Channel Company CEO Robert Faletra (l) and CRN Editor, News Steve Burke.


Xerox has worked closely with its channel partners in recent years to help them expand into managed print services and develop recurring revenue streams.

For its efforts, the Norwalk, Conn.-based vendor won awards for Partner Support Satisfaction, Technical Satisfaction and, for the second consecutive year, was the Overall category winner in Workgroup Color Printers.

Charlene Fischer, Xerox vice president of US field sales, and Tom Gall, Xerox's director of channel marketing, accepted the award from Robert Faletra.


Even as businesses increasingly turn to cloud service providers to meet their IT needs, power management tools remain vital for keeping data centers of all stripes up and running.

Sweeping the Power Protection and Management Category -- and knocking Eaton off the Overall category winner throne -- is APC by Schneider Electric.

Accepting the award from Robert Faletra for APC were, from right, Leslie Vitrano, director of channel marketing and communications; Shannon Sbar, vice president of channels for North America; Himanshu Patel, senior strategic manager of channel marketing; and, second from left, Gordon Lord, director of channel strategy and IT distribution.


Juniper Networks beat out Cisco to take the Financial Satisfaction award for Enterprise Network Infrastructure. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor has stepped up its partner marketing efforts over the last year, offering more market development funds, back-end rebates, discounts and other incentives.

Jeff Siegel, Juniper's director of partner sales, accepted the award from CRN Executive Editor Jennifer Follett.


ConnectWise did well in its first-ever Channel Champs competition, sweeping the new category of Managed Services, IT Professional Services Automation.

The Tampa, Fla.-based vendor has been active in recent months, acquiring stand-alone remote control solution Screen Connect, and backup and disaster recovery solution StorageCraft, as well as opening offices in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Accepting the award from Jennifer Follett for ConnectWise were chief operating officer David Bellini and Erinn DeJose, a partner liaison for the LabTech, ConnectWise and Quosal communities.


Roughly 18 months after going private, Dell knocked out Hewlett-Packard to take the Support Satisfaction award for Tablet Computers.

Frank Vitagliano (second from left), vice president of Dell's global channel, and Mary Catherine Wilson, director of Dell's channel marketing for North America, accepted the award from Jennifer Follett and Steve Burke.


Two years after launching a new partner program, AT&T swept the Network Connectivity Services category. The Dallas-based vendor has boosted partner program funding by $300 million over the past year to help market its cloud, networking and mobility services through the channel.

Brooks McCorcle, president of AT&T partner solutions, accepted the award from Jennifer Follett.


Oracle dethroned Microsoft to take Overall honors for best CRM software in the Channel Champs awards.

The Redwood City, Calif.-based vendor's strong set of hardware and software offerings also earned it recognition for Partner Support and Financial Satisfaction for CRM software, as well as Technical Satisfaction for Business Analytics.

Accepting the awards from Jennifer Follett for Oracle were John Shell, senior director of systems partner enablement, and Kimberly Lasseter, director of the Oracle PartnerNetwork program.


Barracuda displaced HP to sweep the Cloud Backup and Recovery category, one of the fastest and most competitive segments of the IT market. The Campbell, Calif.-based vendor just released a cloud-based e-signature offering that is priced at just $1 per user per month.

Brian Babineau, Barracuda's vice president for product and channel marketing, accepted the award from CRN Associate Editor Sarah Kuranda.


Intel yet again swept the Processors award category thanks to a marvelous showing at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, where the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company deployed its microprocessor technology to power everything from autonomous drones to self-aware computers to voice- and gesture-control systems.

Accepting the award for Intel was Todd Garrigues, director of North American reseller channel programs, from CRN Video Editor Meghan Ottolini.


As Symantec prepares to divide itself into two publicly held companies, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company demonstrated its prowess in both storage management and security technology.

Symantec racked up a sweep in Client Security Software -- repeating as overall champs in that category -- and tied with EMC for Support Satisfaction in Backup and Recovery/Data Protection Software.

Accepting the awards from Sarah Kuranda for Symantec were, from left, Tricia Atchison, senior director of routes-to-market and channel marketing; Cristen Allard, senior channel marketing specialist; and Katheryne Pelak, senior product marketing specialist.


IBM showed its prowess in both hardware and software, once again sweeping all categories in Data and Information Management. The Armonk, N.Y.-based company also edged out EMC to win Financial Satisfaction in Backup and Recovery Software/Data Protection Software.

Judy Smolski, vice president of cloud service providers for IBM North America, accepted the awards from Meghan Ottolini.


Long known for its dominance in the notebook market, Lenovo elbowed its way into the server space by acquiring IBM's x86 server business.

The Beijing-based company once again swept the Notebook Computers category, beat out HP to win the top score for Financial Satisfaction in the Volume Servers category, and tied with Samsung for Financial Satisfaction in the Tablet Computers category.

Lenovo's Alan Andrade, director of North American commercial and channel strategy, accepted the award from Sarah Kuranda.


EMC continued its dominance in data storage and management in this year's Channel Champ awards.

The Hopkinton, Mass.-based vendor swept the Enterprise Network Storage category -- repeating as overall winner. In the Backup and Recovery Software/Data Protection Software category, EMC was once again the overall winner, took the top score for Technical Satisfaction, and tied with Symantec for Support Satisfaction honors.

Scott Millard, vice president of Americas Channel Sales, accepted the award from Meghan Ottolini.


Samsung, the world's largest information technology company, continued to show its hardware dominance.

The Seoul-based vendor swept the Digital Signage and Flat Panel Displays categories, repeating as the Overall winner in both. And in Tablet Computers, Samsung, too, repeated as Overall winner, notched a victory in Technical Satisfaction, and tied with Lenovo for top honors in Financial Satisfaction.

Richard Hutton, director of channel marketing, accepted the awards from Robert Faletra.


Microsoft continues to be the world's largest software company, but has been expanding its offerings around mobile devices and cloud services ever since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in early 2014.

The Redmond, Wash.-based vendor swept the new category of Remote Management and Monitoring Managed Services, and dethroned Kaspersky Lab to sweep the Network Security Software category.

Microsoft repeated as Overall winner in Business Analytics, along with taking Support and Financial Satisfaction honors. Plus Microsoft repeated as the Technical Satisfaction winner in CRM Software.

Eric Martorano, general manager of US Channel Sales, accepted the awards from Robert Faletra and Steve Burke.


HP enjoyed its swan song as a single company before splitting into two Fortune 50 companies focused on enterprise computing, and personal systems and printing.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company swept Midrange Servers, which was won by IBM last year; Multifunction Printers, previously won by Xerox last year; and SMB Network Storage, previously won by EMC.

HP dethroned Dell to win Financial Satisfaction in SMB Network Hardware and Xerox to win Technical Satisfaction in Workgroup Color Printing. And the company repeated in its Technical Satisfaction, Support Satisfaction and Overall Score wins in the Volume Servers category.

Rich Papaioannou, HP's manager of Channel Marketing in North America, and Colleen Degenaar, a commercial marketing and digital media specialist, accepted the awards from Robert Faletra.


Cisco has expanded beyond networking hardware into areas such as converged infrastructure and software-defined networking.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company scored another sweep in Converged Infrastructure, swept the new category of Collaboration and dethroned HP to sweep Network Security Appliances.

Cisco also was a repeat winner in Technical Satisfaction, Support Satisfaction and Overall score in the categories of Enterprise Network Infrastructure and SMB Networking Hardware.

Raja Sundaram, vice president of Worldwide Channels and Alliances for Cisco, accepted the awards from Robert Faletra.

The Thrill Of Victory

Leaders from 18 different vendors pose with their well-earned Channel Champs hardware.

The big winners of the night were Cisco, which earned five awards; HP, which earned four awards; Microsoft and Samsung, which each earned three awards; and EMC, which earned two awards.