Intel Security Repositioning Channel Strategy And Incentives Around Solutions, Services

At its partner conference last year, Intel Security rolled out a new strategy. Now, it's time to bring its channel partners along for the ride, worldwide channel chief Richard Steranka told CRN.

The new strategy centers on providing solutions and security outcomes for the full threat-defense life cycle -- from protection to detection and correction. To do that, it put its focus on building threat intelligence, analytics, third-party integration and a centralized management system around securing the endpoint and the cloud, as well as letting go of multiple product lines that no longer fit the new strategy.

At the Intel Security Americas Partner Summit 2016, held this week in Boca Raton, Fla., the security vendor is rolling out incentives and programs to bring partners onboard with its new vision, Steranka said in an interview with CRN about the event.

[Related: Q&A: Intel Security Head Updates On New Strategy And How It Fits Into Intel Reorganization]

Sponsored post

"We made these changes on the product front and it's really incumbent on us to drive the channel in this direction," Steranka said.

The new channel strategy will push Intel Security into new territory with its partners, Steranka said. The solutions-selling approach is "complete greenfield" for Intel Security, as "relatively few partners" sell in that manner today, he said.

One partner executive, who did not want to be named, said the changes Intel Security is making to its programs and emphasis on technology help provide clarity and transparency around the vision revealed last fall at its Focus event.

"The changes to the core technology bring the new strategy some substance," said the partner executive.

Those changes include updates to the rebate programs, Steranka said, which partners can expect to take effect in the latter half of the year. While new terms are still being ironed out, Steranka said the new rebate structure will shift incentives from traditional products to selling a full solution set.

Steranka said Intel Security is also working through its performance programs, with some operational changes expected to the company's incentives for net new business. These changes will be based on the company's changing its internal sales force automation platform to in July. The changes will affect how opportunities are entered into the system and some factors could influence the pricing partners get, he said.

"Just as we've been making [the] progression from products to solutions, our performance programs will be on the same track," Steranka said.

Beyond monetary incentives, Intel Security is also building sales competencies tied to the new solutions to drive additional margin opportunities and help partners differentiate themselves from their peers. Steranka said the company plans to also add professional services competencies around implementation and integration to allow partners to take calls from the customer on behalf of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Security.

Steranka said Intel Security will also be investing in resources around managed security services, including toolkits, capabilities and helping partners build out managed security services practices. He said it is important for partners to have the flexibility to provide solutions, professional services and managed services depending on the customer's needs.

"That, to me, is our differentiator," Steranka said. "Partners with more competencies and [that are] more profitable. Partners who are more profitable end up being more successful for you."

At its Partner Summit, Intel Security also briefed partners on new initiatives around sales and marketing, as well as providing details on some of the new technology innovations to come from the security vendor by the end of the year.