This year's list of the Best and Worst has been compiled by you, the Australian reseller community. Many of you filled in our survey form on the Australian Reseller News Web page and many more faxed back the form. All this feedback has allowed us to get a glimpse of how you saw the channel this year, including some things that annoyed you.
Some of the responses were fairly predictable but others came as quite a surprise. If nothing else, we've learned more about the sort of news you want to see covered.
There were some definite patterns in the results. For instance, something as big as Tech Pacific or Windows 95 attracts a lot of comment, both good and bad. We also learned that while you can get overloaded with some stories, there are others you can never get enough of.
To arrive at our results, we have only included the number of responses for each question. If only 70 per cent of the respondents answered a question, the percentages add up to 100 per cent of that 70 per cent. And there was a high degree of variation between questions. While in some categories more than a third of respondents said the same thing, in other categories the most popular answer was shared by only 9 per cent of you.
For those distributors and vendors who have scored well, congratulations. For those who haven't, well, the ball's in your court for 1997.
While we've tabulated the basic answers, many of you (especially those using the Web-based form) elaborated on some answers, in many cases, venting your spleen. Here is a selection of those comments:
Symantec sold Delrina products for Windows NT, then refused to get them working. Symantec should have left the Delrina developers and distributors in place if Symantec was not prepared to support Delrina products on NT."
"The worst marketing campaign was for Lotus Notes. So much money spent without saying why we should bother."
"Tech Pacific was great to deal with over the past few years, but their decision to dump all their small dealers and go for the big fish stinks. I read about it in ARN and then got the letter from TechPac."
On the subject of best co-op plans and best thing to happen for the industry, many readers said "When you find one, let us know".
By far the most common complaint about distributors was their telephone response (or lack of). Comments like "Never return calls". "Leave me sitting on the phone, paying for the call, for half an hour at a time". "I can never get through to the sales reps, and when I do, each one tells me a different price for the same item."
"Tech Pacific only cares about large resellers."
"The worst distributor is one who can't deliver the goods the next day, or at least tell you it won't happen."
"To sum up my least favourite vendor - they have no product, limited marketing and low reliability."
"I gave up with this distributor after one inquiry and two orders which were all stuffed up!"
"One of the best things to happen to our industry is the vast amount of reseller information available on the Web."
"Every vendor in the whole industry has gone backwards except Microsoft."
"Distributors who 'release' products they don't have and take orders they can't fill."
"Microsoft's voicemail is the worst thing in this entire industry."
"Some good products are ruined because no-one at the vendor speaks English."
"If I could get through to order product from TechPac, I'd use them."
Dicker Data 11%
BBF (Components and Peripherals) 6%
Distributor giving the best service
Dicker Data 9%
Digital Solutions 7%
BBF (Components and Peripherals) 7%
Best coop program
Most improved vendor
BBF (Components and Peripherals) 7%
Vendor giving best technical support
Com Tech 9%
Distributor or vendor doing the worst job TechPac 32%Microsoft 13%Q*Soft 10%Edge 6%Most popular hardware HP (overall) 18%IBM PCs 11%Compaq 10%HP printers 8%Pentium processor 8%Oki printers 7%Compucon 7%Most popular software Win 95 30%Microsoft Office 24%Microsoft (other) 24%Best new productWin NT 9%Banksia modems 8%Microsoft FrontPage 6%Zip drive 6%Travan tape 6%Win 95 6%Lotus Notes 4 6%Most over-hyped productWin 95 36%Win NT 13%NC 9%Microsoft Explorer 7%Most significant news storyMerisel closing 12%NC 11%Internet financial transactions 9%Java 7%Sales tax 7%Windows CE 6%Most over-hyped news storyInternet 38%Windows 95 12%Hot Dog 10%Best thing that has happened to the Australian computer reseller channel Sales tax crackdown 15%Ram prices dropping 12%New distributors starting 11%IPC and Osborne going out of business 10%Worst thing that has happened to the Australian computer reseller channel Merisel closing 37%Distributors selling direct 15%Harvey Norman and similar stores 9%Margins dropping 8%Best ad campaign in ARN Dicker Data 21%IBM 13%Tecksel 9%Kingston 9%Banksia 8%Best marketing campaign (all media) IBM 18%Win 95 17%Microsoft 9%Intel 7%Worst marketing campaign (all media) Win 95 14%Digital 10%Lotus 9%Best promotional gimmick Win 95 12%Office 95 11%What will be the hot new product or technology for 1997?
Office 97 16%
Win NT 13%
Cable modems 10%
Pentium Pro 9%
And the winner is . . .
Sir Dennis Patch dropped into the Arn office last Tuesday, and was gracious enough to draw the winning respondent to our survey.
John Newman of Computer Rebuilds in Richmond, Victoria, is now the proud owner of an AST Advantage Minitower 824 PC. Apart from 133MHz/ 16Mb /1.6Gb specs, it also has a 3-disc, 6x CD changer, 28.8k modem, HiFi speakers and full software suite.
Computer Rebuilds works with existing PC installations, and brings them up to whatever spec the customer wants, including full warranty. It caters primarily for business users of PCs, but has recently done some school work. Congratulations to John Newman.
The percentage shown next to each entry is based on the percentage of respondents to that question