Between April and August 2019, nearly 300 VARs, MSPs and other breeds of front-line tech providers rated their vendor partners across four services categories.
CRN Essential subscribers can view the executive summary here. Details of how to obtain the full, paid-for report can be found at the bottom.
We have been given permission to unveil some of the top-line findings, however, and it is fair to say that the 42 vendors profiled received mixed feedback from respondents.
You can read a round-up of some of the best comments here.
Respondents were invited to rate their top five vendors (on a 0 to 10 scale) across four core services categories, namely: Technology Leadership; Channel Strategy and Account Management; Margins, Leads and Incentives; and Training and Accreditation. These categories were then combined to form an overall ‘core services average'.
Room for improvement
At just 6.3, the mean core services average is lower than some might have expected.
The averages were particularly low for Margins, Leads and Incentives (5.8), and Channel Strategy and Account Management (6.0).
Clearly, many respondents felt their vendors should be giving more.
Across the 42 vendors, the core services average ranged from 7.7 to 4.7. The highest score in any category was 8.3 and the lowest 3.4.
Although that's a sizeable range, even the top-performing vendors evidentially have room for significant improvement across all categories.
Respondents were also invited to leave written feedback under each category.
Although we are not in a position to divulge the rankings, here we have picked out four vendors whose performance stood out. Can you guess their identity?
The comeback kid
Back in 2014, this vendor's reputation for competing against partners, low-quality products and shambolic tech support saw it finish a woeful 46th out of 50 vendors in that year's Vendor Report.
This time around, in contrast, the security specialist won plaudits for its technology vision and "warmer and friendlier" attitude towards the channel, outscoring most of its peers in the process.
"I think [they] have a good handle on the direction they need to go in from here," one respondent said.
The friendly giant
This tech giant was a consistently strong performer, ranking sixth overall and finishing in the top ten in six of the seven categories and indices (respondents also rated their vendors on three additional indices - but these scores did not count towards the headline core services score).
Running a direct sales operation often leads to conflict, but most respondents felt the enterprise tech vendor is doing a good job of juggling the two activities.
One respondent branded it "my favourite vendor to work with" while others praised its engaged and friendly account management team.
"They couldn't be a nicer group - attentive, responsive and helpful," said one.
Despite ranking a creditable 12th overall, this software giant registered some mediocre scores and brutally honest written feedback on its channel ethos, account management and margins.
It is perhaps fortunate that the majority of this research was conducted ahead of a debacle that upset large swathes of its channel in July.
The breakaway act
Some respondents expressed genuine excitement as to what lies around the corner for this security brand now it has broken free of its former parent's shackles.
It emerged as a solid all-round performer, ranking 11th overall and placing in the top 15 in all four core services categories.
It "seems to be fighting back," the CTO of a small reseller remarked.
For more information on how to obtain a copy of the full 120-page report, please contact [email protected].
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