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Intel Channel Chief Kalvin Touts Digitization And Being A ‘Partner First’ Company

U.S. channel manager Jason Kimrey joins in on a discussion with CRN on a variety of topics from emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and edge computing to the benefits of the Intel Partner Alliance and the chipmaker’s aggressive plans to expand manufacturing capacity.

Intel Global Channel Chief John Kalvin and Jason Kimrey, vice president for U.S. channel and partner programs, see growth opportunities for partners in emerging technologies and tell CRN that Intel’s Vision event this week should help partners usher in a new era of technology possibilities.

Kalvin, a 23-year Intel vet, has been at the helm of the global channel program since 2020. He sees many areas of potential growth for partners as new technologies emerge at a breakneck pace. Late last year Kalvin laid out the company’s plan to ramp up the number of independent software developers joining the new unified partner program, Intel Partner Alliance.

[Related: Intel Beefs Up GPU Capabilities With Siru Innovations Acquisition]

“It seems like every aspect of the way we live has some element of digitization to it,” Kalvin said. “It’s creating an enormous opportunity, certainly for Intel, but more importantly for our partner ecosystem to go capitalize on. It isn’t just technology for technology’s sake. Our purpose is to create world-changing technology to enrich the lives of every person on earth. We saw that coming to life yesterday [at Vision]. I think Intel’s uniquely positioned to capitalize on the opportunity and help our partners capitalize on the opportunity.”

Intel, Kalvin said, has a vested interest in making sure channel partners are successful in adopting new technologies like the cloud – and the Intel Partner Alliance program helps channel leadership approach that goal in a unified way.

“A lot of different things we want to do in the client space are in the cloud. What I’ve asked the team to do is look at it through the lens of how to help our partners be successful - how do we help our partners grow and capitalize on this opportunity. Part of that is how we help them connect together in those groups to build solutions.”

Kalvin said the billions Intel is investing in new foundries in the U.S. and Europe should only strengthen its channel relationship. “We have a huge manufacturing footprint that’s only going to get bigger over the coming years,” Kalvin said. “And this is a very unique differentiator for us as a company. And that is something we want to put to use for our partners. Partners are critical to our success. We’ve always been a partner-first company.”

Kimrey noted that roles within the channel are constantly shifting as technologies change and businesses change to keep up with emerging markets. “The channel is expanding,” Kimrey said. “It used to be the traditional channel made up of distribution and resellers and now it’s software, optimizer tools, operational technology, et cetera. People that didn’t even think about tech as part of their role, now it’s everywhere. One of the things we really tried to do is incorporate an expanded channel into our strategy and build relationships and programs that matter to those new channel types. We want to be that ecosystem enabler. We have one of the most diverse ecosystems out there.”

Of course, emerging tech like AI, multi-cloud environments, Metaverse, and quantum computing were top-of-mind for just about every conversation at Vision 2022. Kalvin and Kimrey say channel partners are not only doing a good job keeping up with new technologies, they are at the forefront of technology advancements.

“There’s an extraordinary amount of innovation in the partner ecosystem,” Kalvin said. “It’s one of the most fun parts of the job. But here in the U.S. and around the world, our partners have tons of capability on building all kinds of innovative devices. And there’s so much innovation happening in the software space. Many, many workloads are moving to the cloud and partners are leaning into how to optimize those workloads for the cloud and developing their business around managed services. I’m super excited about the innovations happening across the ecosystem.”

Kimrey agreed, saying Intel wants to play a supporting role by providing the necessary tools to make partners successful in creating and working with new devices.

“In the AI space, we want to provide examples of what’s possible,” he said. “And we think this is one of the big advantages of Intel Partner Alliance, because there are very few companies like Intel that really exist from edge to cloud and play in all these areas that our partners are trying to grow in, like the cloud, like AI, like edge... and what we’ve tried to do is put some of these capabilities into the platform. For AI, we have an AI builders program. We put the tools and assets there to help you build the best AI solutions on Intel. Every company is becoming a cloud company and a cloud solution provider. We want to help them learn to compete and win in that environment.”

Kalvin added that partners “all need companies to help them figure out how to transform their business to become a services business or a technology business to stay competitive, and our partner ecosystems are showing up and helping them do that.”

Above photo: Intel Global Channel Chief John Kalvin (left) and U.S. Channel Manager Jason Kimrey chat with CRN during the Vision 2022 event held in Dallas, Texas.

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