CRN Exclusive: Intel VP Tichelman On How Partners Can Make Money Off The Lucrative Data Center And IoT Markets

Intel Highlights Internet Of Things, Data Center Opportunities For ITP Partners

Intel's Technology Provider (ITP) base has had a long history in traditional PC sales, but recently the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has been touting its data center and Internet of Things solutions -- and how these new technologies can help channel partners drive revenue.

Maurits Tichelman, general manager at Intel's Worldwide Reseller Channel Organization, said Intel wants to make it easier for Intel Technology providers to use the company's technology -- whether that's Intel's data center-based Xeon chips or its IoT-focused gateways.

Following are excerpts from a conversation with Intel's Tichelman during Intel's Solution Summit in Orlando this week, on what partners can expect in the coming year from the client computing, data center and IoT segments.

What's your message to ITP partners in 2016 -- both those who sell traditional desktop-based processors and those who specialize in data center or cloud solutions?

We want to make sure customers who are evolving and participating on the edge … that we share with them the knowledge we have inside Intel, and make sure it's easier for them to use our technology.

But also … we see very active resellers in local areas, where it's not only about the PC, who might have been evolving from selling PCs in a different segment. We want to invite these partners to be a part of different conversations where certain verticals are required. We want to make sure we are showing partners what can be done by expanding the horizons, going outside of the PC environment, and looking at these vertical-based solutions.

What are you seeing on the client computing side for channel partners, and how is Intel's ITP base grappling with the slow PC market?

The channel is in good shape with the client segment, despite the limited growth opportunities across the globe.

The exciting news for us is that on the client side, despite the rough and tough environment, the channel is actually doing really well. One of the main reasons behind this is that I continue to see our channel partners' focus evolving with new form factors.

Also, in the enthusiast segment, we've seen stellar growth in Intel's North America channel, and the market continues to have great momentum. The gaming segment is in great shape, but also the more content-rich development areas are tapping into the high-performance capabilities of clients.

What about partners who are focused on technology beyond hardware, and are offering services around cloud computing solutions?

The cloud remains a big topic for us, not only in terms of the buildout we see with the big players, but also a significant amount of Tier 2 cloud service providers, which we have some great opportunities with. We also are fine-tuning some of the solutions we are able to offer. From a perspective besides our Xeon processor, we also have server boards. Specifically for the cloud segment, we're also looking at white-box solutions, which we will provide some more certifications for to allow [managed service providers] to have easy access to Intel-based technology that they can quickly implement in cloud solutions.

Can you describe the managed service provider channel model of partners focused on cloud computing and data center solutions?

We have some focus on the MSP segments -- those customers are invited to channel events going forward.

We'll be working with them to accelerate, to give them the greatest tools, to benefit from the technology we're providing, give them testimonials, white papers, and to make sure they get what they need. It's a key segment for us that we continue to invest in.

What opportunities will you be highlighting for partners who are interested in the Internet Of Things segment?

We have from the [IoT] business unit an ISA program -- the Internet of Things Solutions Alliance. This is a separate ecosystem, and for the first time, we'll be bringing that ecosystem into the event, extending partners at ISS and opportunities for traditional partners to start looking at ISA partners on what solutions and applications they have to offer on the IoT side.

Channel partners have the opportunity to provide solutions. We'll be giving some examples to demonstrate these solutions, and how partners can sell IoT solutions, including the data analytics and big cloud analytics for partners.

What's the biggest challenge that ITP partners are facing in 2016?

The biggest challenge we see from our partners is that they have so many opportunities, but it's difficult for them to find the right solution that works in the way they can manage.

We've also been working hard on how can we categorize those verticals and let channel partners find an easy way for which solution is appropriate for them. You can go in as an ITP and you might be working with smart buildings, and you need to understand what building blocks are available and supported by Intel. Clearly the opportunity with IoT is available to all of us. We need to encourage our partners looking at areas they haven't before and see those opportunities.