Intel EPSD simplifies options, ups incentives

Intel EPSD boardTwo years ago, Intel Corp. committed to tripling the number of products available to solution providers who build servers for their customers. It turns out, that may have been a little bit too much choice for many of the company’s partners.

Noury Al-Khaledy, general manager of the Enterprise Platforms and Services Divsion (EPSD) at Intel, said feedback from partners was that there were too many SKUs available for EPSD partners to easily choose the right ones. As a result, the company has pared the number of EPSD SKUs by about half, although Al-Khaledy said that has had “less than 10 percent impact on sales.”

To make sure partners are engaged, the company is introducing what it calls “Focus SKUs” – a selection of its top selling products that will be heavily stocked by both Intel and its distributors, and for which Intel will provide incentives.

Al-Khaledy said the company plans about 18 Focus SKUs to start with, with focus on small business, medium business, storage, cloud or datacenter, and high-performance computing. To ensure availability, Intel will commit to having four weeks of inventory for all Focus SKUs at its local hubs, and will provide incentives to its distribution partners to stock those select items.

Partners will also get “an event greater bonus” for selling those SKUs in a promo that launches today, Al-Khaledy said.

While EPSD has always been about providing “building blocks” for system builders and other solution providers to take applications to market on custom servers, the group is clearly looking to get deeper into application stacks. Next quarter, the group will introduce a bundle that includes an Intel version of the popular Hadoop data store for unstructured data, the hardware on which it runs, and even options to include Intel professional services around Hadoop int the deal. Overall, the company expects the bundled approach to be able to shave nearly a third off the cost of a normal Hadoop installation, part of a bid to move the Big Data darling into more small business opportunities.

Al-Khaledy said that along with building those bundles, building EPSD hardware’s presence in the embedded business is a top priority, and an area where the chipmaker is looking for help from solution providers.

“Historically, it’s been opportunistic, but about 25 per cent of our business has been embedded,” Khaledy said. “We’re looking to capture more of that business growing forward.”

EPSD also has plans to introduce a new configurator for partners this month. The group has long offered partners the ability to configure servers using its “building blocks,” but Al-Khaledy said the new configurator will bring the tool up to date and make the process easier for the company’s partners.