Intel is rebranding its channel partner program and introducing new tools for training and collaboration, reflecting internal changes that began more than a year ago to support the evolving needs of partners.
The chipmaker said at its second annual Intel Partner Connect conference in Denver that the program's new name will be Intel Partner Alliance, replacing what was previously known as the Intel Technology Partner Program.
Intel Partner Alliance will launch as a full program by 2020, but before then, the company plans to launch two key parts of it—Intel Partner University and Intel Solutions Marketplace—both of which will use the company's internal analytics capabilities to assess the individual needs of partners. The two tools are set to launch in the second half of 2019.
Greg Baur, Intel's vice president of global scale and partner programs, told CRN USA that the program's renaming to Intel Partner Alliance reflects the company's change in focus on partners that began last year with the debut of Intel Partner Connect.
In previous years, the company's predecessor partner event, Intel Solutions Summit, primarily focused on a "builder-only audience," according to Baur. But the company recognized that those builder-type partners were transforming more broadly into solution providers and that there was an increasing need to enable collaboration among different partner types, which led to the pivot to Intel Partner Connect.
"There are now OEMs, ODMs, global [systems integrators], national solution providers, distributors, software vendors, cloud service providers—there's a whole laundry list of different types of partners that are coming to this now," Baur said. "Our overall registration is way up in attendance, which we're excited about, and it's really an opportunity to bring these many different partner types that all have a need for Intel ingredients in their solutions."
One of the key components of the new partner program is Intel Partner University, which is an evolution of the company's current training and sales enablement tools that will deliver targeted content to individuals based on their level of training and their company's focus. This is a change from Intel's previous training resources that only personalized content on a company level.
"It's primarily training, but it's timely and relevant content that's personalized to the individual, not just the company, based on their level of training and experience and knowledge," Baur said. "It's the right level of information that they can then utilize in their sale cycle."
Once partners complete trainings, they can receive competencies, which they can display as badges on their LinkedIn profiles, their websites and elsewhere.
"Now there will be recognition for the company and that level of training that they achieve. There will also be some recognition for the individuals as well," Todd Garrigues, Intel's director of sales programs said. "So the best of both worlds, whereas before, depending on the program, it was one or the other—it will be both now."
The other major component of the new channel program is Intel Solutions Marketplace, which is a business-to-business online platform that will help partners collaborate and promote their solutions and products to end users. Like Intel Partner University, the marketplace will use the company's internal analytics capabilities to automate the partner matchmaking process, using various information Intel has on file, including what kind of solutions they sell and which markets they serve.
"We're going to be using our analytics engines to make sure we partner the right folks together based on what their needs and requirements are," Baur said.
Intel Solutions Marketplace will allow partners to track leads, monitor their business data from a personal dashboard and collaborate with other partners to build new solutions.
"I think the idea here is that we really want to be able to automate that matchmaking, because given where Intel is in the computing ecosystem, we do have visibility and partnerships across all different types of companies," Jason Kimrey, Intel's general manager of U.S. channel scale and partners, said. "And that's really the way to help bring some of those partners that may have not otherwise worked together and know each other to go off and solve real problems."
The new tools, along with the rebrand to Intel Partner Alliance, is part of the company's ongoing efforts to consolidate its channel organization, moving it from a "a complex structure of stand-alone partner programs to a single program experience with a common infrastructure." This comes after the company last year brought together groups representing different kinds of partners, like distributors, OEMs and solution providers, under one umbrella, allowing for better communication and collaboration.
"Our training engines from the past have been designed for certain types of partners," Kimrey said. "And the way we see the lines of the channel blurring—hardware, software and services—we really want this to have a more unified way of delivering the right content to the right individual at the company, and we believe it's a great step forward."