Intel Expands Channel Relief To Help Partners With Cash Flow

'One thing that we've heard loud and clear is that in some cases we have customers that need more flexibility in terms of their payment terms, so we worked with our distributors on a range of options that they can extend pricing terms to our joint customers,' Intel U.S. channel chief Jason Kimrey tells CRN of expanded measures announced during Intel Partner Connect.

Intel is expanding its channel relief efforts for partners who need help maintaining their cash flow as they continue to weather the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ahead of the virtual Intel Partner Connect, which runs Wednesday and Thursday, Intel confirmed to CRN that the chipmaker is working with finance partner DLL, a firm that is also working with HP Inc. and Lenovo, to expand financing programs through distribution partners with the aim of helping reseller partners with their cash flow.

[Related: Intel CEO Bob Swan To Partners: 'You Can Count On Us']

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"There's a range of ways that distributors can offer flexibility to their customers, and we've worked with them to create some programs that they can provide extended financing to some of their channel customers," said U.S. channel chief Jason Kimrey in an interview with CRN last week.

Kimrey, Intel's general manager of U.S. channel scale and partners, said other measures that weren't initially announced in Intel's channel relief rollout in April include increased flexibility of the company's stock rotation programs, price reductions on certain products and changes to product rebates, all of which are being done through the company's authorized distributors.

"One thing that we've heard loud and clear is that in some cases we have customers that need more flexibility in terms of their payment terms, so we worked with our distributors on a range of options that they can extend pricing terms to our joint customers," he said. "We've looked at our existing programs that we have with them and given them some protection to ensure that even as there's a lot of uncertainty in the market, we provided some level of certainty or guarantees to them."

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel distributor, called the increased flexibility of financing terms "a huge benefit to the channel," which will ultimately help end customers receive the technology necessary to continue operations.

Tibbils said the expanded financing terms Intel has enabled with ASI means that eligible partners won't have to pay finance fees for twice as long as before in payment terms.

"It allows for longer payment terms, so you can get 60-day payment terms, which really helps, because that helps extend terms out," he said, adding that there's no cost to the extended terms. "It really allows us to work closely with our customers to figure out ways to go out and close business and help companies get the technology that they need for their customers."

Kimrey cautioned that "incentives will look different for each partner," so the company encourages "all partners to talk to their authorized distributor for more details."

"We are rolling out these changes based on ongoing feedback and will continue working to support our partners during this uncertain time," he said. "Demand for our top performing client products remains high and we are continuing to invest in capacity to increase output. We will roll out additional support and changes as the situation evolves."

Beyond the various channel relief efforts announced, Kimrey said the company has been giving partners access to industry experts and analysts that Intel has relied on in the past to forecast its own business.

"We've become much more proactive in providing information and specific insights to our customers, so everything from a bi-weekly newsletter on key market trends and updates to a series of webinars from industry analysts as well as leaders inside of Intel to help our partners adjust and make decisions based on what's going on in the market and use that data that we were using ourselves internally," he said.

Kimrey said while the market for Intel's products has "significantly changed" in the face of the pandemic, the rollout of Intel's new partner program, Intel Partner Alliance, along with Intel Partner University and Intel Solutions Marketplace will better equip partners with the information, services and programs they need to evolve their businesses in the changing environment.

"The theme that I walk away with is while the landscape has changed, the opportunities still exist. And in the heart of those opportunities is technology," he said. "Everyone will be living, working in a very different way in the years to come, but it's clear that technology is going to play a key role in every aspect of it. So while the landscape has changed, there are significant opportunities for us collectively as an industry to help this nation and the world continue to advance and be more efficient and productive."

More than ever before because of new opportunities and challenges created by the pandemic, Kimrey said it's critical for partners to collaborate across the channel ecosystem, which will include value-added resellers, operational technology system integrators and cloud service providers under the new Intel Partner Alliance that is set to launch near the end of the year.

"It's going to require different sets of skill sets that may or may have been required in the past so partnerships are more critical now than ever," he said.