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Intel Partner Connect Fall Event Will Prep Channel For Big Changes

The semiconductor giant plans to share final rollout details for the new Intel Partner Alliance at the October event. ‘We‘re very excited about the progress that we’ve made. This is a Herculean effort that really spans the globe with a lot of our partner teams, as well as our headquarters and IT,’ Intel’s Todd Garrigues says.

Intel is holding an Intel Partner Connect event in the fall for the first time, and it will give partners a first look at the final details of big changes coming to the chipmaker’s partner programs.

Those changes, as the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company detailed more than a year ago, are the merging of several partner programs into the new Intel Partner Alliance, which the company has previously said would launch in the fourth quarter of this year.

[Related: Intel Partner Alliance: 6 Program Changes Partners Need To Know ]

This year’s second Intel Partner Connect will happen on Oct. 20, for the Americas, Oct. 21 for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Oct. 22 for Asia. The first Intel Partner Connect of 2020 happened in May, when CEO Bob Swan become Intel’s first chief executive to address partners directly in years.

In an interview with CRN last week, Todd Garrigues, director of partner sales programs at Intel, declined to state the exact launch date of Intel Partner Alliance but said the company plans to share the “final details” of the program’s rollout at Intel Partner Connect next month.

“We’re very excited about the progress that we’ve made. This is a Herculean effort that really spans the globe with a lot of our partner teams, as well as our headquarters and IT,” he said, adding that Intel’s channel organization is in the middle of user interface testing right now.

As previously disclosed, Intel Partner Connect will bring together disparate partner programs like Intel Technology Provider, Intel Cloud Insider and Intel IoT Solutions Alliance under one umbrella, with the goal of simplifying the partner organization and making it easier for different partner types to collaborate and take advantage of expanding training resources.

While previous Intel partner events, including the first two Intel Partner Connects, were previously only open to top-tier Intel partners, the virtual Intel Partner Connect in May expanded its aperture to allow partners of all tier levels and types, according to Garrigues.

For the upcoming Intel Partner Connect in October, Garrigues said, the company will offer courses tailored for specific partner types — a first for an Intel partner event.

“As we invite new partners to the program regardless of their role in the ecosystem, we’ll have personalized role classes for distribution, for [independent software vendors], for solution providers, OEMs and [system integrators], etc., so we’re very excited about this change,” he said.

The fall Intel Partner Connect will also include executive keynotes, panels and breakout sessions, according to Garrigues. In addition, the company will make over 100 subject matter experts at Intel available to partners for chat discussions — something that was introduced at the first virtual Intel Partner Connect to make up for the lack of real face time prevented by the pandemic.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to really engage with Intel and the rest of the ecosystem, to ask questions, and especially when we’re all not doing face-to-face events, that’s a critical gap that we intend to help fill for our partners,” he said.

While Intel Partner Connect has yet to launch, two major pillars of the program, Intel Partner University and Intel Solutions Marketplace, already have.

Garrigues said more than 3,000 U.S. partners and roughly 11,000 worldwide are already using Intel Partner University, having completed more than 120,000 training sessions in the first half of the year. More than 500 of those partners have completed competencies for things like cloud services, high-performance computing, AI and IoT solutions.

“What you’re going to see as we go forward is a unified partner portal and a lot of work around helping our partners get the value that they need regardless of their roles,” Garrigues said.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel distributor, said Intel’s move to unify and consolidate its partner programs into one is a good move for the channel that will help expose partners to other types of partners for potential collaboration purposes.

For instance, Tibbils said, ASI came across an ISV that makes software for edge computing but didn’t have the right partnerships in place to sell it as part of a hardware bundle.

“For them to sell that, they needed to be part of an entire solution, and they don’t have the other pieces of the hardware, and they don’t have easy access into the reseller channel,” he said. ”That’s where a distributor like ASI can come in and help. We have access to the customers. We have access to different levels of hardware products that this company didn’t even have visibility into.”

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