Intel Channel Chief Tichelman On Why 'The Future Is Now' For Partners

New Products, New Technologies

Maurits Tichelman, vice president and general manager of Intel's worldwide direct and channel sales, says 'the future is now' as he talks to CRN about some of the newest products that Intel partners can look to for driving sales growth, from memory to small-form-factor technology.

What can partners take away from Intel Solutions Summit this year?

We want to talk about how the future is now -- clearly we've been through some significant changes in 2016, transforming with a clear strategy in a cycle of growth, which we briefly explained last year. At the second half of 2016, you could see the excitement in terms of the multiple business units offering products -- and when you start peeling the onion, we see the role of the channel. The more we're looking at areas of growth, the more we're reaching into new customers, you see that the channel is at the center point of the opportunity. We're growing businesses with new customers, and growing with new products into existing customers -- it's a very natural fit where the channel has a natural fit for us.

At ISS, you'll see an immense expansion of products, but you'll also need to realize that it's not just about the components, it's also about the solutions. And when we talk more about solutions, we're aligning and bringing more ecosystem players into our conversation.

Talk about some of these products, particularly the Compute Card, Intel's newest small form factor for channel partners looking to implement embedded solutions.

The Compute Card is a great solution, and we don't know yet where our customers might fit in this product. So we have our own vision of what it can do and which segments it could be successful in, but the greatness of our channel is that our partners will look at the Compute Card and come up with solutions where they think it will be a great fit -- whether that opportunity is in IoT retail or security solutions. That is the beauty of the collaboration we have between Intel, the ecosystem and our partners.

Virtual reality is another technology you will be highlighting at ISS. What can partners be excited about in this area?

If I look at VR and AR [augmented reality], initially it emerged from an extreme gaming solution, but now you see VR being used for training, health care, for fitness, and also for gaming. The segments evolving here are very exciting. We have a demo on health care where a brain surgeon in virtual reality does the surgery by virtually going into the patient's brain to find the optimal way to remove tissue. Then during the surgery he had already practiced [he becomes] more efficient and better understands the obstacles he needs to be aware of. It's a very exciting segment … it's not only about the products we're providing but also the solutions we offer.

What other new products or technologies should partners be on the lookout for?

On the memory technology, one thing I want to call out that's a great channel opportunity is our Optane memory module, which we just introduced. It's basically part of all the latest generation of new motherboards, and it's a great opportunity for our channel partners to significantly increase the performance of the system by having an Optane memory module in the client. This is one of those great channel opportunities because it's an additional change in the configuration you can make at the point of sale. The closer it is to the point of sale, we tend to see our channel partners are benefiting from making that final level of customization.

What role will Intel's channel play in its overall strategy in the coming year?

What you will see from Intel at ISS is we want to offer all the solutions we've been working on, and want to make sure we share them with our partners. As far as I can see, the channel is the cornerstone of Intel expanding its reach and product portfolio into the market. There's a lot of excitement happening. Going out to ISS, it's great to share all the things Intel is doing -- it's a very wide range of products and solutions we're involved with, and we want to bring it all together for our partners so they can pick and choose what can help them to be more successful in growing their business in their area of expertise.