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Holding a position in the top right corner is not just an ambition for vendors keeping a close eye on Gartner's magic quadrants but is also relevant when Canalys comes round to sharing its Channel Champions matrix.
The top right corner is reserved by the analyst house for those that have managed to deliver the best support for resellers and Canalys has been tracking the progress of leading vendors over the course of the year.
The latest release of the EMEA Channel Leadership Matrix, wrapping up the state of play in 2019, places 12 vendors in the champion category, seven of which have maintained that status since 2018: Fortinet, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, NetApp, Palo Alto and Veeam. The others swelling the ranks this time around were APC, Cisco, Kaspersky, Nutanix and Trend Micro.
The other three squares on the grid are made up with categories including contenders, growers and stragglers. In the last category there is clearly more work to be done by Symantec, McAfee and Citrix, with them suffering from low ratings and negative momentum with partners.
HPE, AWS, Dell EMC and Juniper Networks were seen as contenders and Canalys noted that they had made significant channel investments but needed to work harder getting partner sentiment to improve. The growers: Apple, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft and VMware, had all improved over the course of 2019.
Canalys stated that the champions covered a wide range of technologies but they did have some common characteristics that had helped them maintain the top position: "They all show improvements in channel processes to drive simplicity and ease of doing business; they prioitise investments in partner profitability and business models; and demonstrate a commitment to maintaining or griowing the share of revenue generate through partners".
"All of the Champions generate the majority of revenue through partners, but crucially are supported by a channel-led (rather than a channel neutral) sales approach. This tends to be reflected in the importance given to channel management functions at a corporate level, and internal sales cultures that recognise the value of partners to the vendor's success," the firm added.
Over the course of this year there has been a move by the majority of large vendors to increase the incentives and rewards for their top tier partners and use distribution to support those that are looking to move up the tiers. There have also been plenty of enhancements, refreshes and fresh partner programme launches to try and provide the right infrastructure to support the indirect model.