LAS VEGAS – During this year’s annual Solutions Summit, Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) announced a new Technology Provider channel program, which is an evolution of its system builders/integrator program and its technology provider-branded reseller program.
The program was announced yesterday morning during a keynote speech given by CJ Bruno, the vice-president of sales and marketing group and the general manager for Intel Americas.
At this time, Bruno said the Technology Provider program combines the “best” of the system builders/integrator program and Intel’s technology provider-branded reseller programs into one offering.
The program now supports the sales and marketing efforts of Intel’s channel members which are made up of: system builders and integrators, resellers, e-tailers and purpose-built system builders, which includes embedded devices.
Steve Dallman, vice-president of sales and marketing group and general manager for Intel’s worldwide reseller organization, said the company originally designed its channel membership program about a decade ago. As business models started to evolve and different needs arose, Intel decided to invest more money into evolving its channel program to help keep pace with change.
“We want to expand our audience with this new program,” Dallman said. “We have some 200,000 (partners) in the program now.”
The Technology Provider program is made up of three levels: Registered, Gold and Platinum.
“The three levels allow us to modulate our business together to enhance the program as we move forward to deliver on embedded and compute opportunities,” Bruno said. “Independent of what level of integration our partner delivers, they should be getting credit for it. That’s the whole idea behind the program. If you’re delivering Intel technology, you can be in the program. The new program takes the confusion out because it’s simplified and easier to understand and it also embraces channel members far and wide.”
Bruno said many of today’s Intel Premier-level partners will be moved into the Platinum level of the Technology Provider program. All other partners will be grandfathered into the program for 2011 based on their 2010 status and will be made aware of the “very clear” requirements they need in order to maintain their status for subsequent years.
To become a Registered partner, Dallman said a partner pretty much needs to just tell Intel who they are. These can be solution provider or consultant-type partners. These partners will receive online training on Intel’s products and solutions, in addition to members-only content on the company’s Reseller Center Web site.
In order to advance into Gold status, one of the requirements is around training. Gold partners will receive access to enhanced support, training, sales tools and other rewards.
Lastly, to be eligible to become a Platinum partner, a partner needs to be of a certain size, have some marketing people on staff, have successfully completed and passed training and they must also have industry certifications. In short, the tier requirements are based on a combination of accreditation, training and on the volume of business a partner does. These partners will have access to Intel’s highest level of Standard Benefits, in addition to Enhanced Benefits when they meet minimum purchase criteria.
Some of the benefits of the Technology Provider program include: rebates, advanced support, improved warranty services, online training, technical solutions training, “ask Intel” chat priority, marketing toolkit and more.
Patrick Scateni, vice-president of Enterprise Solution Group at Saint-Laurent, Que.-based Ciara Tech, an Intel Premier level, and now Platinum level partner, that focuses on IT infrastructure, high performance computing, OEM appliances and ultra-mobile devices, said the new Technology Provider program from Intel is a good idea.
“I think it’s very good because the program makes it more clear for partners since everything’s under one umbrella,” Scateni said.
At the event’s keynote, Bruno also announced a new online sales centre from Intel.
“We’re making investments in our online sales capabilities with things like demand creation, online experiences and content and capability,” he said. “We’re offering deeper, richer content and new capabilities to monitor, maintain, and manage interactions so that over time, we can provide leads to you, our partners.”
The online sales centre is still in its infancy stage and will take some time to build up but the goal is to turn it into a more high-touch resource that will benefit both its and its partners’ businesses.
“We don’t have enough bodies around the world to get to enough paying customers,” Bruno said. “The online sales centre helps enhance our online sales capability. By investing in an online approach that’s very content-driven with specific demand generation programs online to reach specific customers, we’re building out our own online sales capability.”
As the company continues to build up its database of information, the plan is to enable its partners with the relevant information and resources they need to harvest the customer opportunities that are found.
“Now you can take our scale and drop it on the door of our partners for harvesting to let them know what a contact may be interested in, etc., so partners can have more opportunities around the world,” Bruno said.
While Ciara Tech’s Scateni says the online sales centre is a “great tool,” he sees some possible challenges arising for Intel.
“I see some challenges that Intel will have to overcome in terms of figuring out how they’ll give leads out to partners and how they’re going to track the leads they give,” he said. “But overall, I think it’s a great tool.”
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