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Canadian Reseller Choice Awards 2014...and the Winners are...

February is that time of the year when Canadian VARs, MSPs and ITSPs get a chance to tell what they think about the Vendors and Distributors. In this 8th year of the Reseller Choice Awards, 531 vendors and distributors were nominated in 91 categories. As expected, several of the same vendors from previous years held on to the top spots. Some of the big stories came from the movement within the top 5 spots, as vendors moved up while others slipped.


Winners at Reseller Choice Awards 2014

The Cloud category had the most activity with 74 Cloud vendors nominated. We saw several new Cloud vendors for the very first time as more companies enter the market. Even with this many vendors nominated, it was only a fraction of the thousands of Cloud vendors in the market. At this rate, we are expecting this category to grow exponentially for next year. Microsoft, Google and IBM were the big winners in Cloud.

Again this year, Lenovo swept the “Best Computer System” category and took home the big prize for “Best Overall Vendor”. They also overtook Apple for “Best Tablet”. It seems as Apple’s reseller channel becomes smaller, so are their votes from the reseller community. ASUS showed some significant gains in Best Consumer notebook. DELL also increased their votes as the channel deepened its relationship with the company.


Dave Stephens of Lenovo Canada

While HP regained many votes in the “Best Computer Systems” category, it was not enough to take back the top spot from Lenovo this year, but the gap is decreasing. Looks like HP has a bit more work to do on their system’s side. HP cleaned up the printer category by taking all of the top spots. They also won the “Best Managed Print Services” category. Xerox came in second in MPS and was the only challenger to HP in terms of number of votes. 


Heather Kent of Hewlett-Packard Canada

Cisco ruled the “Best Networking” with the exception of D-Link who took the “Best Consumer Router” category. Cisco consistently shows leadership in this category over the past 8 years. That said, other networking vendors like HP and DELL have significantly increased in their number of votes, in some categories. It looks like some vendors may pose a challenge for Cisco in the coming year.


Todd Madgett of Cisco Systems

TechData won for “Best Distributor” of the year as well as every category in the distributor section. Synnex came in second. Ingram Micro was a close third. Over the years, Ingram Micro and Synnex have always rallied for the second spot but never seem to gain enough momentum to overtake TechData. It is interesting to see the votes of the VARs and MSPs every year as some do switch their votes of their favourite distributor. It is clear that each distributor has their group of favourite tier 1 VARs who consistently vote for them year over year, so the biggest deciding factor is the tier 2 to 3 VARs.


Rick Reid of Tech-Data Canada

These top 3 distributors dominate the category by far and actually took away some votes from D&H’s momentum from the previous years. Bluestar retook the top spot for “Best Specialty Distributor” as they nudged out Interwork who overtook them in a surprise win last year. Bluestar actually beat both Synnex and Ingram Micro in several of the categories including Best Availability/Delivery, Best Customer Service and Best Product Support. These two speciality distributors seem to be very well liked by the channel with very high rankings in the support category.


Jacques Lapierre, of Bluestar Canada

Intel Security re-took the top spot for security, as voting in this category heated up with the recent security breaches. It is interesting to see several security vendors are neck-and-neck. Some are within easy reach of the top position. Later this year, we will do a deeper dive into this category to get more research data. It looks like data security will be a hot topic this year, so we want to know what the channel is offering their clients to protect them and why.

Epson is starting to gain some ground, as they took the top spot in “Best Business Projector”, overtaking Infocus. Surprisingly, LogMein won the “Best PSA” category over last year’s winner Connectwise. Autotask slipped to third. It seems like many MSPs have decided to adopt a simpler service ticketing automation system.  With over 25 vendors nominated, the RMM category heated up this year. LabTech took the top spot with a very small margin as Maxfocus and others came on very strong. Had it not been for the fact that LabTech was part of the Connectwise group, the results may have been different.

We saw that a significant amount of votes dropped off for various storage categories.  We suspect that the channel is adopting more Cloud storage solutions so this may be the reason. Datto, a new Cloud entry into Canada took the top spot for Best Disaster and Recovery", just edging out StorageCraft. Dropbox won for “Best Cloud Storage”. Maybe an indication that the channel is using the Cloud to store more data each year. eFolder is also coming on strong to challenge Dropbox in this arena.


Rob Rae of Datto

Although ChannelNEXT received the most votes of any channel event, it did have a significant advantage, as it is part of the e-channelNEWS and EcnTV network (organizers of the Reseller Choice Awards). As such, its votes were shifted into a new category “Best Independent Channel Event”. Tech Data won for “Best Distributor Event” followed by Bluestar with its incredible event in New Orleans last year.

Best New Vendor was F-Secure. This may be a company to watch as it expands in to Canada. 


Vendors attending the Awards Ceremony

A total of 39 vendors won most of the 91 categories that were up for grabs. Some vendors won over 8 categories. Some of the most interesting stories this year has to be the expansion of Cloud as well as the voting activity for the remaining 492 vendors and distributors. With over 14,000 votes this year, there was a lot of movement.

While this award voting contest is primarily for the best vendor or best distributor with the most votes, most of the VARs and MSPs do business with multiple vendors and distributors in most categories. Throughout the year, we will be surveying the channel to get their input as to what their secondary vendors and distributors could have done better to win their votes.

Julian Lee, President of TechnoPlanet and organizer of the Reseller Choice Awards commented, “I would like to again congratulate all the winners and thank all the VARs and MSPs who voted. Every year, we are very excited to bring this “report card” to the vendors and distributors in the hope that they will step up for the next year to service the channel better. It is so exciting to bring together the best of the best to celebrate their win. It is also great to see that this has become a fun networking annual event for the industry.”

For the third year, an extended Channel Manager Summit session was added to the pre-awards event. During this 5-hour extension, Channel experts presented a variety of best practice insights and research data to help vendors improve their plans. It also included a VAR and distributor panel discussion, so the vendors got direct feedback from all the stakeholders in the channel.


Panel Discussion

“We are continuing to make this a more practical experience for the vendors and distributors, so they can get the latest and greatest in channel research, feedback, strategies, programs and tactics. This should help them to better meet the needs of their channel partners. We will be expanding this activity with a full 2-day course in channel management,” adds Lee.

It is clear that every vendor and distributor have their core loyal following of voting VARs and MSPs. Depending on the size of this loyal following, it can be a significant advantage for the respective vendor and distributor. That said, the deciding factor seems to be resting on the new VARs and MSPs that they have recruited, as well as the next tier of VARs. Of course, they must retain their loyal followers each year, but winning the top spot seems to rest significantly on the “swing-vote” VARs.

This award event in February has since become a good time of the year for vendors and distributors to take a step back and ask why the channel voted as they did. If they won, then celebrate with your team for a job well done and well deserved, as we all know it is not easy being #1. The voting makes it clear as to which vendors and distributors go the extra mile in channel support.

It is easy for mature vendors and distributors to become complacent. A few may not understand the full impact of the votes that they received in the Reseller Choice Awards. Every vendor and distributor targeting the Canadian channel should take a little time to digest the results with their channel team and executives. Getting a good ranking in the Reseller Choice Awards is not a “nice to have” rather, it is a “must have”. It is an independent annual report card on your channel business, directly from the VARs, MSPs and ITSPs. The channel took their time to vote so it is wise to digest their feedback, especially with all the big changes currently happening in the channel.

“I always look forward to the Reseller Choice Awards each year as it is a great opportunity to recognize the vendors and distributors for the great job that they are doing in the Canadian channel. Congratulations to all the winners and good luck for next year,” commented Robert Dutt, Editor ChannelBuzz.  


Presentation at Channel Manager Summit

It is clear that the vendors and distributors with the highest rankings are also the most successful and growing the strongest. However, a common characteristic of the winners is their drive to actually do better next year. They are happy to have won, but they also want to stay on top and do better. This may be the secret to being #1.

The next big challenge is for vendors and distributors to leverage the win to amplify their message loud and clear in the channel to attract more loyal followers for next year! With this lead, you are already on the right track so keep up the great work and improve. Congratulations and good luck for the next year!

For runner-ups and others, this is a little wake up call that there is room for you to improve. It is time to review and fine-tune your channel activities. While this may actually help you to improve your rankings and possibly win next year, the real pay off for you will be more success in the channel. When you do well in these awards it is a direct reflection of your channel success. The better you rank, the better that you are doing in the channel. It is probably one of the best ways to benchmark your national channel success annually, so we urge you to take note and reenergize your channel team to do better. You will benefit and so will the channel.

The rules of the awards were simple and every vendor had an equal chance to win. With over 14,000 votes casted and over 500 Vendors nominated, it is the largest such channel survey in Canada.

1.Vendors and distributors with the majority of votes win

2.Voting started on November 1st, 2014 and ended on January 23rd, 2015

3.E-Channelnews, ecnTV and ChannelBUZZ campaigned to over 24,000 channel subscribers across Canada

4.Voting was only open to Canadian Resellers

5.Resellers could vote only once in each of the 91 categories

6.Resellers could nominate any vendor in any category

7.Resellers did not have to vote in each category

8.Resellers had to provide their name and a valid e-mail address to vote

9.Vendors were allowed to invite their partners to vote

10.Vendors could not vote for themselves

Sponsors received no special treatment except for their company logo on the Reseller Choice Awards landing page, event web site and background screen of the actual awards ceremony. We thank the VARs, MSPs and ITSPs who voted, vendors who donated prizes and sponsors who support the Reseller Choice Awards. Vendor support is greatly appreciated to continually build the Canadian Reseller Choice Awards that gives a strong voice to the VARs, MSPs and ITSPs as well as provide important feedback to all vendors and distributors - ultimately building a stronger IT Channel in Canada.  See you again next year and remember voting will start again on November 1st, 2015!

The Thank-You for Voting Prizes went to:

  1. André C. of BZ Inc. (A Marks Warehouse Gift Certificate donated by Hammond Manufacturing)
  2. Jean W. of Jewel Computers (A NVIDIA Shield Gaming Portable donated by Nvidia)
  3. Lisa D. of CompuCom (A $100 Gas Gift Certificate donated by VAROffice Suite)

For more pictures on the summit and ceremony, please go to: http://www.channelnext.ca/postevent.php (Click on 8th Annual 2014 Reseller Choice Awards)

Check to see video coverage of the 2014 Reseller Choice Awards at www.ecntv.ca (click the Awards section).

Here are the winners of 2014…

 

Best Of Category Name

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Best 3D Printer

Hewlett-Packard

MakerBot

Stratasys

Best Anti-Spam

Intel Security

WatchGuard

Malwarebytes

Best Anti-Virus

ESET

Intel Security

Kaspersky Lab/TrendMicro

Best Availability/Delivery

Tech-Data

Bluestar

Synnex

Best Backup and Recovery

Acronis

Veeam

Symantec/FalconStor

Best Black & White Laser Printer

Hewlett-Packard

Lexmark

Brother

Best Broad-Based Distributor

Tech-Data

Synnex

Ingram Micro

Best Business Desktop

Lenovo

Dell

Hewlett-Packard

Best Business Intelligence/Analytics

IBM

Sage Software

Microsoft

Best Business Notebook

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

Dell

Best Business Projector

Epson

InFocus

Viewsonic

Best Business Router

Cisco

WatchGuard

D-Link

Best BYOD Device Management

Cisco

LabTech

Symantec

Best BYOD/Mobility Vendor

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

WatchGuard

Best Distributor Channel Event

Tech-Data

Synnex

ChannelNext

Best Channel Video News Media

CDN

ecntv

 

Best Cloud Application

Microsoft

Google

VMWare

Best Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery

Datto

StorageCraft

FalconStor

Best Cloud Server Platform

Microsoft

Sherweb

Amazon Web Services

Best Cloud Services Vendor

Microsoft

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

Best Cloud Storage/Solution

Dropbox

Datto

Hewlett-Packard

Best Colour Laser Printer

Hewlett-Packard

Xerox

Lexmark

Best Consumer Desktop

Lenovo

Dell

Asus

Best Consumer Notebook

Lenovo

Asus

Dell

Best CPU

Intel

AMD

 

Best CRM

Salesforce.com

Microsoft

Sage Software

Best Customer Service

Tech-Data

Bluestar

Interwork

Best Database

Microsoft

MySQL

Oracle

Best Desktop Storage

Western Digital

Seagate

Lenovo

Best Digital Signage

ELO Touch

Samsung

Viewsonic

Best E-Commerce Solution for VARs

iBiz10

SynnexLeadGen

CNET

Best Endpoint Security

Intel Security

ESET

Kaspersky Lab

Best Enterprise Switch

Cisco

Hewlett-Packard

Dell

Best Enterprise Telephony

Cisco

Avaya

Mitel

Best Financial Software

Sage Software

Intuit

ACOMBA

Best Firewall

WatchGuard

Cisco

Fortinet

Best Graphic Card

nVidia

Asus

AMD/PNY

Best Graphic Design

Adobe

Corel

Apple

Best Hard Drive

Western Digital

Seagate

Lenovo

Best Home Theater Projector

Epson/InFocus

BenQ

Viewsonic

Best Home/Consumer Router

D-Link

Cisco

Asus

Best Infrastructure as a Service

IBM

Hewlett-Packard/Cisco

Dell

Best Ink-Jet Printer

Hewlett-Packard

Epson

Canon/Brother

Best IT Assessment Tool

RISC Networks

RapidFire

FuseExpertise

Best Label Printer

Zebra

Dymo

Brother

Best Memory

Kingston

Crucial

Axiom

Best Messaging/Collaboration

Microsoft

Google

Open Text

Best Mobile Scanner

Fujitsu

Epson

Brother

Best Multi-Function Printer

Hewlett-Packard

Brother

Lexmark

Best Multi-Purpose Display

Viewsonic

Lenovo

Asus

Best NAS

Lenovo

QNAP

Synology

Best Networking Vendor

Cisco

Hewlett-Packard

WatchGuard

Best New Vendor

F-Secure

SolidFire

Digital Guardian/Amer Networks

Best Online Channel News Media

E-Channelnews

CDN/CRN

Channelbuzz

Best Overall Vendor

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

Dell

Best Personal Laser Printer

Hewlett-Packard

Brother

Lexmark

Best Platform as a Service

Microsoft

Red Hat

Dell

Best Portable Printer

Hewlett-Packard

Epson

Zebra

Best Portable Projector

InFocus

Epson

BenQ

Best Portable Storage

Western Digital

Seagate

Lenovo

Best POS Vendor

ELO Touch

Toshiba

Posiflex

Best Print Managed Services

Hewlett-Packard

Xerox

Brother

Best Product Support

Tech-Data

Bluestar

Interwork

Best Productivity Software

Microsoft

Adobe

Google

Best Professional Display

Samsung

Viewsonic

Lenovo

Best Publishing

Adobe

Microsoft

Corel

Best Rack or Server Cabinet

Schneider Electric

Startech.com/Tripp Lite

Hammond

Best Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)

LabTech

LogMeIn

N-Able/Maxfocus

Best SAN

IBM

EMC

Hewlett-Packard

Best Scanner

Fujitsu

Canon/Epson

Hewlett-Packard

Best Security Vendor

Intel Security

WatchGuard

Kaspersky/ESET

Best Server

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

Dell

Best Service Automation (PSA)

LogMeIn

Connectwise

Autotask

Best SMB Network Switch

Cisco

Hewlett-Packard

D-Link

Best SMB Telephony

Cisco

Avaya

Fortinet

Best Software as a Service

Google

Citrix

Symantec

Best Software Vendor

Microsoft

TrendMicro

VMWare

Best Specialty Distributor

Bluestar

Interwork

Arrow

Best SSD

Kingston

Intel

Samsung

Best Storage Vendor

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

EMC Corp.

Best Computer Systems Vendor

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

Dell

Best Tablet

Lenovo

Apple

Samsung

Best Terms/Conditions

Tech-Data

Bluestar

Synnex

Best UPS Battery Backup

Schneider Electric

Eaton

Tripp Lite

Best Utility

Malwarebytes

Microsoft

VMWare

Best Vendor Channel Program

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

Cisco

Best Virtualization Software

VMWare

Microsoft

FalconStor

Best Wide Format Printer

Hewlett-Packard

Epson

Canon

Best Wireless Access Point

Cisco

Meraki

Ubiquiti

Best Wireless Router

Cisco

TP-Link

D-Link

Best Workstation

Lenovo

Hewlett-Packard

Dell

 

 

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