Intel Partner University Launches With Personalized Training For AI, IoT

'It really expands upon the training we bring across a breadth of technologies and products,' Intel's Eric Thompson tells CRN of the newly launched Intel Partner University, which includes personalized recommendations at an individual level for more than 400 online courses.


Intel has launched Intel Partner University, the first pillar of the chipmaker's revamped channel program that will provide personalized training for artificial intelligence, IoT and cloud as well as emerging Intel technologies like Optane memory and FPGAs to a broader group of partners.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said Intel Partner University, which became available to partners on Wednesday, consolidates previously disparate training tools into one online portal that recommends courses from a pool of more than 400 to individuals based on their role, focus area and partner type.

"It really expands upon the training we bring across a breadth of technologies and products," Eric Thompson, Intel's general manager of global partner enablement, told CRN in an interview.

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Intel Partner University is part of the new Intel Partner Alliance program, which will launch in the second half of next year and consolidate the company's Intel Technology Provider, Intel Cloud Insider and Intel IoT Solutions Alliance programs into one. The new program, which is designed to increase partner collaboration and serve evolving needs, was announced at Intel Partner Connect conference in March.

In line with Intel Partner Alliance, the new Intel Partner University will serve a more diverse group of partner types than any previous program has before. Partner types include manufacturers, OEMs, resellers, retailers, system integrators, solution providers, FPGA designers and distributors.

"Quite honestly, we had a legacy of programs built in an era when the ecosystem was more siloed," Thompson said. "Increasingly in a solutions-oriented era, many partners are collaborating today, working across historic boundaries. We felt that now was the time to drive a unified program."

Among Intel Partner University's key features is an AI-based recommendation engine, new competencies and badges for Intel products and technology fields and a new streamlined interface that is optimized for mobile devices and makes it easier to access and find content.

Unlike Intel's previous training tools, Intel Partner University can recommend courses on an individual level that considers job role, partner type and technology specialty, the latter two of which represent a new way partners can identify themselves for the broader Intel Partner Alliance program.

Ashu Ghavi, partner training manager at Intel, said starting in the first quarter of 2020, the training portal will also recommend courses based on the content partners browse and the products they buy. In addition, it has a section for popular courses and courses that have been assigned.

To help partners learn about emerging fields like AI and IoT as well as new products such Intel Optane memory and FPGAs, Intel Partner University has new competencies that provide partners with technical curricula containing several courses, according to Ghavi. When individuals complete a curriculum, they will receive a badge they can share on social media and in marketing materials.

Starting out, Intel Partner University will have four competencies but that will expand to 12 over the next few weeks, Ghavi said. The planned competencies include AI foundations, high-performance computing, IoT adaptive sales, Intel Optane technology client, Intel Optane technology data center, IoT solutions, AI hardware, software and solutions, cloud services, Intel vPro technology, gaming systems, FPGA fundamentals and cloud infrastructure.

Beyond the new competencies and badges, Intel Partner University will provide a new home for Intel webinars, giving partners an easy way to keep track of upcoming webinars and find old ones. Ghavi said the new training portal will also instantly recognize when partners participate in webinars.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at ASI, a Fremont, Calif.-based Intel distributor, said Intel's decision to consolidate its training tools into one platform as part of its broader revamp for the upcoming Intel Partner Alliance Program will make it easier for partners to benefit.

"The more they can consolidate this stuff under one umbrella, the easier it's going to be for resellers," he said. When a partner has multiple specialties, he added, "it becomes too cumbersome, especially when you have resellers [who] have to then go into different programs."

Intel Partner University's new competencies and badges will help raise the profile of certain fields, like IoT and AI, while also giving partners an easier way to speak with customers and other parties, like distributors, on a more technical level, according to Tibbils.

"For us sales guys, when you're talking to customers that have that validation and accreditation and the knowledge that goes with it, it makes conversations more meaningful," he said.