By Sohini Bagchi

The relationship between technology vendors and their channel partners is drastically changing in the digital world. Unlike in the past when vendors mostly dominated their partner relationships, channel partners are paying closer attention to their vendor relationships today, making informed decisions about which vendors they want to partner with. It is small wonder then that channel partners are now voting ‘live’ to recognize technology vendors for top performance in the market.

That was definitely one of the key highlights of the GATES India Summit 2018, organized in Kolkata this year.

Read more: GATES India Summit Empowers Channel To Go ‘The Digital Way’

Ryan Mackey, Director for Business, Communications, and Research at GATES APAC told Channel Times, “The ultimate way for vendors to find success with their partners in business and vice versa is to constantly network and communicate so as to understand each other’s challenges, pain points, build relationships and seize the right opportunities. In such a scenario, platforms such as Gates India ICT Reseller Summit have a huge role to play.”

Now in its fourth edition, GATES summit brings together major technology vendors, distributors and resellers to discuss industry trends, forge new business relationships and create sales opportunities.

“Gates summit keeps growing every year, and we try to make it more engaging, educational, inclusive, and most importantly, fun while it provides the perfect environment for companies to not only showcase and expand their product and service portfolios, but build essential business partnerships and relationships,” he said, adding that this year the event witnessed over 180 channel partners and 60 vendors, from different technology categories such as computing, storage, printing, peripherals, software, cloud, security and many more.

Some of the key ICT vendors such as CrowdStrike, Toshiba, and Xerox addressed channel partners and provide their critical perspectives on trends and directions in the marketplace. At a panel discussion that followed, it was debated yet agreed upon that enterprises are under increasing pressure to become digital businesses, and vendors are building out their portfolios to offer the technologies and services these companies need. Similarly, experts stated that channel is having to adapt to a world that is rapidly becoming more digitized and cloud-centric.

Read more: IT Vendors Gear Up For GATES India ICT Channel Summit

According to experts at the event, systems integrators, VARs, distributors and managed service providers that are flexible and willing to evolve their business models to address the changing needs of their customers and adjust to an increasingly fluid vendor landscape will benefit greatly from digital transformation.

GATES also declared the much-awaited ICT Industry Excellence Awards at the event. Vendors are recognized by category for their exceptional channel performance in India over the previous year. Channel executives were asked to select best vendors through live electronic voting.

The winners of the ICT Excellence Awards 2018 featured 13 categories as mentioned below:
1. Computing Vendor of the year - Dell
2. Imaging Vendor of the year - HP
3. Storage Vendor of the year - Toshiba
4. Printing & Print Solutions – Xerox and HP
5. Display Vendor of the year - Dell
6. Security & Surveillance Vendor of the year – CP Plus
7. Networking Vendor of the year – D-Link
8. Power Management Vendor of the year - Schneider electric
9. Software Vendor of the year - Microsoft
10. Cloud Vendor of the year - Google
Special Categories:
1. New to Market Vendor of the year - Cyberpower
2. Marketing Excellence Vendor of the year - HP
3. Overall Outstanding Performance Vendor of the year - Dell

The awards are based solely on performance: smart channel strategy and execution, fostering win-win relationships and engaging with partners,” Mackey said.

The entertainment quotient of the program was high, as the event roped in Beatbreakers, a dance troupe from India’s Got Talent, who performed ‘live’ at the GATES gala dinner.

TAITRA (Taiwan External Trade Development Council), Taiwan’s leading non-profit trade promotion organization, yet again partnered with GATES India Summit to showcase the nation’s top ICT brands at the event. This year, TAITRA has shortlisted 15 Taiwan-made brands through a rigorous selection process in four principal categories, namely, design, quality, R&D and international marketing.

The event was supported by some of India’s leading technology associations, including Computer Association of Eastern India (COMPASS) and North East Computer Traders Association (NECTA).