Intel Launches Small Business Advantage Platform For SMB Customers, Resellers

Intel launched Tuesday its new Small Business Advantage (SBA) platform, said by the chip maker to arm SMBs with the data back-up, software monitoring, and power-saving applications they need without compromising productivity.

The platform, which was unveiled at Intel’s Developer Forum this week in Beijing, China, also delivers new opportunities for Intel partners looking to carve a space for themselves within the SMB market, the company said.

Intel SBA runs on the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker’s second-generation i3, i5, and i7 Core processors and is available for both desktop and notebook PCs. It offers six applications out-of-the-box to automatically monitor the overall health and security of the PC. For SMBs – which sometimes lack dedicated IT teams – Intel said this level of automation is especially valuable.

[Related: Intel Market Share Surges To 10-Year High ]

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"When we dig in and take a look at the characteristics of that market, small businesses, for the most part – in fact, our data shows about 90 percent of small businesses – don’t have any kind of IT department and are not managed by any kind of managed service provider," said Dan Russell, director of Intel’s Business Client Solutions Marketing.

What’s more, Russell explained, SMBs tend to view PCs as "mission-critical" devices, hosting all company data ranging from accounting to sales to HR. Because of this, a PC failing can create a halt on almost all employee operations.

Intel SBA ensures SMB PCs stay "healthy" with its PC Health Center app, which automates software updates and maintenance tasks. The app performs the updates after hours, even if the computer is turned off, to avoid disruptions during business hours.

Another Intel SBA app, Software Monitor, ensures security software is up-to-date and alerts SMB users of any potential compromises. The Data Backup and Restore app automatically schedules after-hour data back-ups.

An Energy Saver, Wireless Display, and USB Blocker app are also included on the SBA platform.

Next: SBA Built With Resellers In Mind

According to Intel, the SMB space is the largest and fastest-growing within the company’s overall commercial market. But Intel SBA wasn’t only designed with the SMB end-user in mind – it was designed for Intel resellers, as well.

Teri McFaul, product line manager for Intel’s Business Client Platform Division, told CRN that resellers can customize the Intel SBA interface to better meet the needs of their SMB clients. They can also include their own company logos, introduce new apps, or tweak the six default apps through a customization Wizard included in the platform.

"One of the really cool things is that we have allowed the resellers to be able to customize the user interface," McFaul said. "They can add in their own logos and they can drop in their own apps into our carousel, so it looks like one really nicely integrated, small business solution with differentiations from that reseller."

Resellers can also embed their contact information via the customization Wizard, so clients can easily be in touch.

Russell said that the SMB space is one of the primary markets targeted by Intel resellers. SBA, as an integrated hardware and software solution, helps them expand their presence there.

"What SBA is providing is a real nice opportunity [for resellers] to take it beyond a conversation about how a PC can help [SMB clients], and into how a solution can actually give them something that delivers more."