Intel Unveils Specialty Benefit Program For Cloud-Focused Technology Providers

Intel Thursday unveiled a specialty benefit program for Technology Providers deploying cloud solutions in the data center, offering marketing materials, branding opportunities, and training incentives to help partners differentiate themselves and close complex deals.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company debuted the program, which will go live in the second quarter, Thursday at the Intel Solutions Summit in Orlando.

’Our cloud specialty benefits are targeted at partners deploying cloud solutions … the program is targeted to help data center and cloud [partners] differentiate themselves in the competitive marketplace,’ said Intel North America Channel Director Todd Garrigues. ’The primary goal here is to help [partners] who have reached a certain level of status and who are actively deploying cloud technologies.’

[Related: Intel: Channel Innovation Critical In Driving Small-Form-Factor PC Sales]

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The cloud specialty program will give partners a variety of benefits, including access to pre-sales technical support, a ’Cloud Data Center Specialist’ designation, customer matchmaking opportunities, cloud resources, and cloud co-marketing opportunities.

To enroll for specialty benefits, Intel Technology Providers must be Platinum-level partners and have a minimum of one custom-built cloud solution within a white paper or case study framework, as well as a Cloud Core Curriculum and 10 elective cloud training credits. Eligible partners must also have a minimum of $500,000 of their data center portfolio coming through Intel Authorized Distributors.

Intel’s North American Technology Providers make up a strong cloud-focused base -- according to Intel’s research from the second half of 2015, more than 60 percent of partners offer cloud services. Intel itself has been placing big bets on cloud services and data center. During its fourth-quarter 2015 earnings report, the company said data center revenue rose 5 percent from the year before.

Donna Shepard, senior vice president at Dallas-based M&A Technology, a 21-year Intel Premier provider, praised the specialty benefit program, stressing that data center and cloud services are essential for the channel.

’There is certainly a strong base in North America of partners who offer cloud services,’ she said. ’We love the channel badges program. When customers see that Intel specialist badge, it brings credibility for partners … customers see Intel has given its stamp of approval in that program. I believe [the specialty benefit program] gives incentive to partners to get to the Platinum status."

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel also launched its HPC data center specialty designation in the third quarter of 2015 for its North American partner base. Partners will be able to tap into the expertise of Intel HPC specialists, receive the HPC data center specialty designation, and gain access to Intel HPC resources and case studies, as well as co-marketing opportunities.

In addition to specialty benefits for partners with a cloud focus, Intel doubled its efforts in modern, software-defined clouds by expanding its Cloud Builders program to include software-defined infrastructure use cases. A Storage Builders program, which Intel says accelerates the industry’s use of cloud-ready, next-generation storage solutions by matchmaking in the cloud ecosystem, will also promote ecosystem optimization efforts that allow partners to take full advantage of Infrastructure as a Service orchestration and automation.

Last May, the company also rolled out specialty benefits for the Internet of Things retail and education verticals.