Reflections on the Canadian Reseller Choice Awards 2014

Reseller Choice Award class of 2014

Reseller Choice Award class of 2014

Earlier this month, I had the chance to once again attend (and partially emcee) the Canadian Reseller Choice Awards. An annual affair in its eighth year produced by TechnoPlanet Productions, the folks behind the ChannelNext series of events, the Reseller Choice Awards give VARs a chance to vote on their favorite vendor in some 91 categories across a variety of product, program, and technology classifications. This year, the awards saw 531 vendors and distributors nominated and some 14,000 individual votes cast by solution providers from coast to coast.

Here are some thoughts from the awards:

  • There’s no doubt the night belonged to Lenovo this year, sweeping most computer-related categories, adding a win in the tablet category, and once again taking home Best Overall Vendor. It’s an impressive performance, especially given it was a year when Lenovo could be excused if it had taken its eye off the ball when it comes to execution, what with two major acquisitions, a move, and more.
  • Rick Reid had cause to show his smile once again, as for the eight consecutive year, Tech Data Canada basically swept the distribution categories. Reid, always prepared for such an event, quipped that eight was great but that nine would be divine.
  • HP Canada made progress in PC-related categories this year, but showed it’s still a powerhouse when it comes to printing, dominating print-related categories including the important Managed Print field.
  • Cisco Canada continued to dominate many networking categories,
  • The cloud category continues to grow massively, with 74 distinct vendors nominated in a variety of categories. Managed services also saw a massive collection of vendor names presented, some familiar, some not. The category-by-category lists of nominees could in many ways be used as an indicator of the maturity of a category. In some tried-and-true fields, the candidates were almost entirely “the usual suspects,” while in newer fields, an exciting mix of established entities and bold upstarts. And although those new-to-the-table players garnered significant support, Microsoft was a big winner in the cloud category.
  • Bluestar took home Best Specialty Distributor and had an impressive showing in a variety of other distribution-related areas. Although the company’s footprint is not as broad as that of fellow distributors Avnet, Westcon, or Interwork, clearly Jacques Lapierre and his team are showing the power of doing one or two specialized things very well. It goes without saying that an afternoon distribution session with Lapierre and Tech Data Canada’s Reid was a highlight reel.
  • ca had a poor showing in the awards, coming in fourth in the best channel news media category. eChannelNews came in first, while CDN and CRN tied for second, leaving us in fourth. Ooof. I can understand losing to the hosts of the events and the awards, and I have nothing but respect for the crew at CDN, but CRN Canada hasn’t been around for years now. I know because I was its last editor. I’ll definitely have to get out the vote better next year, I dare say.

As usual, I sat down with Julian Lee, president of TechnoPlanet, at the conclusion of the evening to discuss some of what we’d seen and heard on the day. Here’s the video of our conversation.

And finally, congratulations to all 39 winners of the CRCAs this year, as well as all of the runners-up and nominees. A full list of the winners and runners-up, courtest of TechnoPlanet, appears below.

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 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 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 

Robert Dutt

Robert Dutt is the founder and head blogger at He has been covering the Canadian solution provider channel community for a variety of publications and Web sites since 1997.