Mimecast may have topped CRN's 2017 Vendor Report for overall service quality, but VMware took top honours when it came to its tools and programmes for managed service providers.
The research saw 200 resellers, MSPs, consultancies and other channel firms rank their vendors on four core aspects of service. This fed into an overall service score, with Mimecast, Brocade, Veeam, Forcepoint and Oracle finishing as the top five vendors.
But in a reflection of the growing importance of the MSP channel, respondents were this year also asked to grade each of their vendors on their MSP tools and programmes. Scores here formed no part of the overall service calculation.
Traditional partner programmes remain the bedrock of the channel, but with more and more business being conducted on a recurring basis, any vendor that cannot cater for MSPs risks obscurity.
VMware finished top of the pile for MSP tools with a score of 77 per cent, with the virtualisation goliath drawing praise for its proactive approach.
Second-placed Microsoft also scored 77 per cent. It was found to offer an MSP programme that was "positive, flexible", "well resourced" and "easy to navigate and understand".
SolarWinds rounded out the top three with a score of 76 per cent, nine percentage points higher than the average score of 68 per cent. Its MSP programme was "easy to use" and "quick to set up", according to one operations manager at a VAR.
Not all vendors were showered with praise, however, with the managing director of an MSP saying of one anti-virus vendor: "[They] have sold us thousands of licences for our customers and have told us that they don't really provide the product to MSPs. We're obviously considering a change in anti-virus vendor."
The last-placed vendor scored just 55 per cent.
MSPs were the second-largest single contingent of respondents within the research, which was conducted between August 2016 and April 2017.
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