Going to the polls

Who do you think deserves to win this year’s reader-voted Channel Awards categories?

Tags: AwardsITP Publishing GroupUnited Arab Emirates
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By  Andrew Seymour Published  March 7, 2010

The 2010 Channel Middle East Awards are only a couple of weeks away - which means you need to get on and select your choice of winners for the reader-voted categories while the online polling is still open.

Two categories of the Channel Awards are decided entirely by you, the readers: Best Vendor Channel Programme of the Year and Best Growth Initiative by a Distributor. And you have until the end of this week to make your vote count.  

The link enabling you to cast your vote is at the bottom of this page, but first here's a quick rundown of all the candidates, starting with the Best Vendor Channel Programme of the Year category, which contains seven finalists in total.

First up is Acer, with its four-tiered Partner Programme that rewards resellers for both overall and incremental business through a special accelerator system. The scheme also includes access to various sales, marketing and lead generation tools.

It is joined by Avaya, which boasts the newest partner programme of all the finalists. Resellers had to wait until the second half of last year to get their first glimpse of its Connect Programme, but they seem to be impressed with the new set-up, which integrates revised pricing, training and certifications into a single global framework.

Partner Programmes are an integral tool for all international vendors that want to both inspire and empower their partners, so it is no surprise to see CPU giant Intel's Channel Partner Programme among the contenders as well. Its scheme is the ideal foil for partners desiring access to the latest sales and product information.

Another scheme that has passed the test of time and is well-known to the Middle East channel is HP's Preferred Partner Programme. It provides resellers with myriad benefits from special pricing and account management tools to marketing resources and deal registration schemes.

Elsewhere, Juniper's J-Partner Programme has evolved into a solid and effective initiative that gives consideration beyond just purchase volume. The programme has been updated during the past year and now contains specialised tools that better reflect the core business areas of the networking vendor's various partner-types.

Symantec finds itself on the shortlist for the second year running, courtesy of a four-tiered partner programme that features multiple sales resources and rewards mechanisms for partners that excel in the SMB segment, meet quarterly targets and develop new sales opportunities among other things.

And last but not least, hard drive vendor Western Digital's SelectWD Programme makes the cut. Its scheme has been expanded in the past year to include an online portal that provides members with a comprehensive range of sales, marketing and product information tools in addition to the benefits they already receive.

So that's a snapshot of the vendor finalists (you can read a more detailed summary of their partner programmes on the online voting page by the way). Now for a quick overview of the four finalists contending the Best Growth Initiative by a Distributor category.

Security distributor ComputerLinks designed - and in some cases funded - sales and technical incentive programmes for the brands it represented last year, including Blue Coat, Juniper and RSA. The programmes ranged from compensating reseller sales staff for the volumes they did to rewarding engineers for project implementation skills.

Elsewhere in the enterprise space, Cisco distributor Comstor introduced its Advanced Supply Chain Automation and Delivery (CASCADe) initiative to the region, which brought transparency to inventory availability levels by allowing resellers to block stocks and check stocks online.

FVC, meanwhile, drew on its partnerships with vendors such as Google Enterprise, Riverbed and Barracuda to roll out a points-based incentive campaign focused on the classic three-step sales process, as well as initiate an education campaign to help channel partners highlight the threat landscape.

And finally, storage distributor Tech Access created a services division to provide vendor-grade service on behalf of resellers unable to invest in the necessary technical post-sales delivery and support skills due to financial or expertise constraints.

So there you have it, that's the rundown of all the finalists in this year's reader-voted categories.

Which vendor programme and distribution initiative do you think has benefited the Middle East reseller community most?

Cast your vote now by visiting www.itp.net/events/channelmeawards/voting.php

The Channel Middle East Awards take place at The Address, Dubai Marina on Monday 22nd March. To reserve your place contact preeta.panicker@itp.com

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