Microsoft, Cisco, Dell and HPE are leading the way when it comes to response counts for our 2019 CRN Vendor Report as we reach the half-way point of the research phase.
So far, the members of this quartet have each been rated by at least 60 of their partners.
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In return you will receive a free Executive Summary of the report, as well as £3 Amazon vouchers.
The research invites resellers, MSPs and other frontline tech providers to rate up to five of their vendors on four core service categories, and back this up with written feedback.
Vendors are - rightly - obssessed with end-user loyalty, but this report will provide them with full and frank feedback on how they are faring within the community of channel influencers that generate the lion's share of their sales, and where they can improve.
Prevalence doesn't appear to guarantee popularity, if the scores awarded to the foursome so far across the four core service categories are anything to go by (it must be noted that these scores are extremely provisional in nature, with hundreds of you still casting your votes). In some cases, it appears that you only partner with these big names reluctantly, and that there is significant room for improvement.
Mid-way through the research we have amassed thousands of comments, a select few of which we are able to share here.
Newly public Dell garnered some glowing feedback on its technology, but - so far - has a lower average score on Channel Strategy than some of its peers.
One respondent declared it a "clear visionary", while several others characterised its technology as "reliable and "reasonably priced".
However, others grumbled about poor support levels and direct-selling tactics. "Good products, awful service on their side - the support team are slow and their Premier page glitchy," said one.
"They fight against you when you try and get a deal reg… saying they were aware of the opportunity when you know they [weren't]. [They] go behind your back to get customers to go direct," chimed another.
Microsoft has also received a mixed response from the 80-plus partners that have rated it so far.
While one respondent said the software and cloud giant "is back from a technology point of view" and another dubbed it a "visionary", not all were fans of its technology, with one grumbling about "copycat products" and another saying the software giant was "totally arrogant and convinced that they'll be around forever".
"There is apparently marketing monies, but we have not been able to access any", complained another, while another whinged that "leads are old and margins are tight".
All that said, Microsoft hasn't scored badly overall with respondents so far, particularly around Accreditation and Training, where it was variously branded "brilliant", "comprehensive" and "easy to navigate".
HPE has got off to a flying start in the 2019 Vendor Report, generally scoring above its peers across the four categories.
Channel Strategy and Account Management is a particularly strong area among the 60 partners that have rated HPE so far, with one respondent praising their HPE account manager for being "engaging and on our side". "Their channel strategy seems to work and margins are reliable," said another.
Not all partners are equally enamoured with the infrastructure vendor, however, with one rebuking HPE for putting "too much focus on the big boys". "Dell are going to eat their lunch," they added.
Cisco has so far received more responses than any other vendor, but its technology and channel strategy are far from universally lauded by its partners.
Although one partner branded its technology "innovative, yet functional and consistent" and another said it was "among the market leaders", Cisco was marked down on margin opportunity, with one respondent lamenting its "appalling margins" and another labelling its channel "a bun fight for bread crumbs".
"You would be mad to start selling this vendor in 2019," they added.
Clearly, not everyone feels this way, with on respondent lauding its "great partner programme" and another saying it is "really clear and easy to earn" with Cisco.
25 vendors with the highest response rates so far:
Palo Alto Networks
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