Intel Unites Resellers, System Builders In New Channel Program

Intel on Monday at Intel Solutions Summit in Las Vegas launched a new channel program that brings resellers and system builders together under a single program.

Intel's new Intel Technology Provider Program consists of three levels: Registered, Gold, and Platinum. Intel says the program aims to simplify the company's current partner-oriented efforts by integrating Intel's embedded and compute technologies, as well as its enterprise and consumer technologies, in order to reflect industry trends.

In a press conference at ISS, Steve Dallman, vice president of Intel's Sales and Marketing Group, said he spoke to many partners who claim their relationship with Intel has gotten weaker even as they've been selling more Intel technology. "They asked why we were abandoning them, why we were leaving them behind. We're putting this support in place for them," he said.

The program includes face-to-face training opportunities, a new Platform Workshop in which Intel will roll out its new architectures for partners to work with ahead of time, and the Virtual Intel Channel Conference. Intel will also offer self-paced online training to partners in all three levels.

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With the new program now in place in North America, and coming to Europe in the next month or so, Dallman said it's important for Intel not to bite off more than it can chew and to focus on a successful transition until it receives initial feedback from customers at the end of this year.

"A lot of the things we're talking about aren't immediately available," Dallman said. "But we'll take feedback from our partners and apply it to the program."

Dallman said Intel will avoid channel conflict by maintaining a balance between adding new partners to its program and allowing its partners to maintain their status. "At the end of the day, we know they trust us," he said.

The Platinum level, the highest in the new Intel Technology Provider program, will involve benefits attached to volume, Dallman said. But while scale is important, the program is designed to allow anyone who truly wants to participate to have the opportunity, he added.

"I don't have a problem with someone at the Gold level not feeling special anymore," he said. "For some of the partners who will be on the Platinum level, it's like a long-term marriage. We're making sure the benefits scale with them. Platinum members are getting no less from Intel; in fact they'll be getting more in some cases."

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In a press conference, C.J. Bruno, vice president of Intel's Sales and Marketing Group and general manager of Intel Americas, told reporters at ISS that Intel aims to transcend the disruption which the emergence of mobile devices and new platforms has created in the PC industry as a whole.

"We've merged our compute efforts with our embedded efforts as migration occurs and the line between them blurs, and it's been very well-received so far," Bruno said. "This takes the confusion out. It's a clearer, crisper, and easier to understand program."

Asked about the specific metrics of the program, Bruno said regardless of whether they're traditional system builders or technology consultants, partners can achieve Gold level. Partners who have a history with Intel will have at their disposal an enhanced set of benefits, including training in thirty different cities, with various Intel server and client components brought to them.

The purpose, Bruno said, is to promote the growth of their businesses and Intel's channel sales overall. "We expect folks to aspire to going from registered member to gold and from gold to platinum," Bruno said. "We're giving them better line-of-sight so they'll know how to get there."

Bruno said partners will be moved over to their new levels right away and will get the opportunity to land where they want over the next few years provided that they meet their targets.

Tom Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of Intel's Sales and Marketing Group, said Intel believes PC technology is becoming more personal and content creation and consumption is driving demand. Kilroy PC-like embedded devices have proliferated and that users now require a seamless, always-connected experience. As a result, Kilroy said Intel has become a platform company.

"Consumers want a familiar, consistent experience where devices work together securely," Kilroy said. "In the past we've segmented this; our goal now is to make it pervasive."

Kilroy said Intel will rely heavily on solution providers to drive innovation and reach end-users directly, bringing Intel technology to market quickly. "We need you," Kilroy said to an audience of Intel reseller partners. "We're not confused about the importance of solutions."