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Intel vPro Is Making Big Bets On Partner, Ecosystem Enablement, Exec Says

The chipmaker's remote IT management platform is making new investments in channel partners to support device-as-a-service models through a new ecosystem enablement team that is incorporating feedback into future product plans, Intel's Stephanie Hallford tells CRN.

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You're talking about ISVs like Datto but also channel partners like Accenture, Atos and Zones. Does that constituency that the ecosystem team works with include OEMs as well?

That's kind of different. OEMs are our sell-to [channel], not necessarily sell with? Well, we do both. We sell-to sell and sell-with. It's a little bit of a different motion. But in the sell-with, there's some similarities, but to some degree, it's trying to be that basic platform and allow them an opportunity to differentiate on top. And in some of those cases, the OEMs have services businesses they're trying to drive that do compete with some of those other partners. So for us, we're saying, okay, we've got a unique foundational place. Let's not compete with where they're driving their own value-add. Let's just kind of be that foundational layer, and then we all win together.

How recently was that ecosystem enablement team put together?

Last year we started building it out. And then they got new leadership at the end of last year, now we are continuing to focus and build out that effort. And not only within my own team, but there's also increases in that team in our sales and on our marketing groups as well. It's sort of across Intel in realization and augmentation. But on my team, particularly, it's relatively new and on the other groups, it's being heightened. A lot of it was more server-driven in the past. And now I think the client side and the endpoint side, at least in the sales and marketing, it's become so important.

With this remote workforce reality we're all in, I think PCs are coming into their own again. I think mobile phones have been so important in the past and still are. But now folks are realizing, oh, wow, my kids are studying at home. Mom and dad are trying to get work done. [People now] realize, wow, I need to be outfitted properly. I think it'll actually change things even further right now with a lot of our partners in the PC space.

One of my takeaways from what you were saying is that it sounds like Intel's increasing engagement, specifically with channel partners, on the ecosystem enablement level, but also in doing more sales and marketing activities together. Do I have that correct?

Oh yeah. Absolutely. It's end-to-end. It's really ensuring that their needs and their strategies are mapped into our product planning. So, for instance, with DaaS, we're talking to one of the partners that's building out a particular capability that they want to put into their DaaS services. We're trying to build that upstream into our product planning, so that we enable that in a future platform, all the way down to how do we co-sell and solve problems together. And that means alignment of dollars and even working with our OEMs to align their dollars with our dollars — with CDW as an example — putting all of that power together, so that we're not all spending separately but at least towards the same end. I think it's an end-to-end effort right now, upstream to downstream.

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