6 Keys To Unlocking The Benefits Of Intel's New Vertical Specialty Designations

A Vertical Market Partner Bonanza

Intel this week launched new vertical market partner designations for education, Internet of Things (IoT) retail and data center.

The channel initiative marks the first time in the 35-year history of the Intel Technology Provider program that the chip giant has established vertical market partner designations.

CRN spoke with Intel Vice President Maurits Tichelman, who oversees channel sales and marketing, about how partners can take advantage of the new designations and incentives that come with the vertical branding.

Tichelman said he sees "huge" growth potential for solution providers delving deeper into vertical markets. "If you stick with Intel, there is always money to be made," he said.

Here are six key points for partners looking to drive additional sales and profits with the new vertical market partner designations.

6. Who Is Eligible?

Intel is starting its vertical market offensive with new partner designations for education and Internet of Things- Retail.

For education, Gold and Platinum-level partners will be eligible if they have more than 3,000 Intel architecture platform sales per year and 25 education training credits with at least three reseller employees completing a minimum of three Intel-qualified education training classes each.

For the Internet of Things retail vertical, Gold and Platinum level partners will be eligible if they have at least two IoT retail solutions and at least one blueprint or case study published on Solution Finder, Intel's portal to provide marketplace experience where partners can share products, and 25 retail training credits.

Intel's Tichelman hopes that the new Intel benefits will provide the tools and resources partners need to more effectively reach vertical markets that are ripe for growth. "This taps into what partners need (to grow their business)," he said.

5. What Are The Benefits For An Education Vertical Specialty Designation?

The most prized benefit of the new specialty designation may well be the ability to leverage an Intel Education Technical Specialist for deals that total more than 3,000 Intel units. Also on deals of 3,000 units or more, partners have access to educator professional development resources.

Beyond those resources, partners said the Intel "Education Specialist" designation cannot be underestimated. They said that will help build confidence among school districts and higher-education institutions looking for trusted advisers to help them navigate the treacherous technology landscape.

4. What Are The Benefits of The Internet of Things Retail Specialization?

The new Internet of Things retail designation provides partners with pre-sales technical support focused on developing Internet of Things retail solutions, including analytics, point of sale, digital signage and content management.

The "Internet of Things Retail Solutions Specialist" branding designation, meanwhile, recognizes partner achievement in one of the most highly specialized and lucrative emerging markets. Partners said the new designation is key to building trust with customers and driving new business opportunities.

Partners will also have access to analyst studies on the emerging market -- key to staying up to date with the latest retail trends. Finally, Intel said it will generate publicity campaigns to further promote Internet of Things retail specialist partners' published solutions on the Intel Solution Finder.

3. What Is The Market Opportunity For Education And Internet Of Things Retail?

In terms of market opportunities for the verticals, Intel expects the education total available market vertical to increase 10 percent to 15 percent. The Internet of Things market, meanwhile, is widely considered one of the hottest emerging markets.

Research firm IDC predicts the installed base of IoT units to grow at a 17.5 percent compound annual growth rate.

Intel's Tichelman, for his part, said he sees "immense" opportunity in IoT retail market.

In the most recent quarter, Intel's Internet of Things revenue was up 11 percent to $533 million compared to the same period one year ago.

2. What Are The Benefits/Opportunity For The Data Center Group Vertical Market Specialization?

The Data Center Group vertical market benefits will be released in the second half of the year.

The Data Center Group is one of the fastest- growing units within Intel. "Our data center business continues to grow in the double digits … I'm very pleased with the evolution and development of channel partners in terms of selling data center solutions," said Tichelman.

In 2014, the Data Center Group business was up 18 percent to $14.4 billion, compared with 2013.

What's more, in the most recent quarter, Data Center Group sales were up 19 percent to $3.7 billion, compared with the same period one year ago.

1. Will There Be Additional Vertical Market Specializations In The Future?

Tichelman said he is convinced that as partners move aggressively into new vertical markets, they will recommend other verticals that Intel should pursue with them. "I'm absolutely convinced that those with more expertise in these areas will want to go further and recommend other verticals that they will want us to pursue and that they will want our help with," he said.

Intel is investing in additional technical resources in health care, and Internet of Things transportation and mobile, but has no plans yet for specialty designations in those vertical markets.