Straight-talking between VARs and vendors is not always the easiest thing when business is at stake, people on both sides have invested a lot of time and effort, and punches are often pulled.
This is where an independent brand like CRN comes into its own, and why, two years ago, we launched the CRN Vendor Report to really get under the skin of the issues concerning the channel and encourage frank, honest feedback from the people that matter the most to vendors - their partners.
At the time, this was aimed at the top 50 vendors in the market, and contained open and honest feedback from resellers on seven aspects of their partner strategy, including support, training and accreditation and after sales and technical support.
But after evaluating feedback from both vendors and their channel partners, we have decided that this year, a different approach is needed, and we are expanding and improving CRN's portfolio of benchmarking reports to burrow deeper into the different types of technology areas and obtain even more detailed feedback.
Over the course of the year we will be looking at three main areas: Mobility & Infrastructure, Security, and Cloud Services.
This is the best chance for channel partners to say what they really think with no fear of repercussions, because as before, the feedback is totally anonymous.
By taking part in our survey, VARs can be assured that their comments will be seen by key decision makers at the vendors in question, and they can really help to shape channel strategies of the future.
And for the vendors involved, it is a chance to see where their partners feel they are succeeding, but equally where they are perhaps failing, or areas for improvement, and crucially what they can do to ensure their indirect business keeps growing and running like clockwork.
Because we encourage partners to actually fill in open text boxes, rather than just ticking pre-conceived answers, this is the most hard-hitting feedback any vendor will probably receive and it will provide real action points to help them stay at the top of their game in the channel.
First out the gate
So our first report will look at Mobility & Infrastructure - focusing on six key players in the market - Dell, HP, Acer, Fujitsu, Samsung and Lenovo.
And this is where you, our readers, come into play.
We need as many of you as possible to fill out the survey and let us know how you view both the technology and the partner programmes of these vendors.
Questions include: Do their products fit well with your customers' infrastructure? Do they offer good value for money? Are they supportive to their partners? And many more.
Again we will stress that this survey is anonymous, so your feedback will hit the right target, but you will not be identified.
So there is no risk of souring your relationship with any of these vendors. Please be as honest and critical as you like, but conversely do give praise where it is due.
To take part in the survey, you don't have to supply every single one of each vendor's products, you could supply a mix of several vendors, could just work with one or have dealings with all of them.
All your views are important to us. And you could win Amazon vouchers for taking part as a thank you from us. In addition all participants will receive a free executive summary of the report.
To start the survey, which should only take about 20 minutes, please click here.
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