Intel Security boosts requirements for top tiers

Richard Steranka, senior vice president of partner operations for Intel Security

Richard Steranka, senior vice president of partner operations for Intel Security

LAS VEGAS — Intel Security is going to make it a little tougher for partners to make the top tiers of its partner program.

At the company’s annual Partner Summit, held with its end user-focused Focus event here, the company announced that effective in January, it will raise the revenue requirements attached to Platinum partner status, and for the first time, introduce a revenue number for Gold partners. With the changes, Intel joins the ranks of vendors expecting more, but also giving more, to top-tier partners. And that’s just fine with global channel chief Richard Steranka.

“They put in more, and they get more out. That’s the way it should work,” Steranka said. “This isn’t just about selfish needs as a vendor, we’re trying to create the best delivery and solutions for a customer. It comes back to customer out comes again.”

The revenue requirements will be required for products in key strategic areas for Intel Security, though the company is not yet announcing which products will have revenue requirements attached to them. Steranka said that initially, the requirement will be one number across all of the required products, but that ultimately, there will be separate numbers for each defined product.

“We want our partners to demonstrate proficiency in given product areas,” Steranka said.

The changes are part of an ongoing evolution of the partner program, first introduced at last year’s Focus, and later refined mid-way through 2015. And they aren’t the last changes to come in. Steranka said final details — which products will be required for top-tier status, and the revenue numbers attached — will be announced on January 1, 2016. Although that is the “go live” date for the new program, partners will get the whole of 2016 to meet the new requirements.

In addition to the revenue requirements change, the company is changing the way it handles partner training requirements. Top tiers will have to have minimum numbers of technical resources with competencies on its core products, but beyond that, will open up all of its training offerings are fair game.

“We’re sayings that we want you to continue to learn, but leaving it up tot he partner to decide where to go,” Steranka said. Competencies on which partners will be tested will be largely technical in nature, since Steranka said he feels it’s the vendor’s role to ensure partners can meet customers’ expectation when it comes to product deployment and solutions design. Besides, sales specializations tend to be somewhat “self-selecting” as those who complete them tend to be the ones who sell.

While the new program will require more of partners, the company is almost promising more to those that invest with it. Global partner programs and marketing chief Lisa Matherly said the company will outline new pricing and discounting structures “that will earn us both more,” and will invest more MDF dollars into Gold and Platinum partners, with the development of new campaigns that focus on “engaging in a digital conversation,” an approach Matherly said results in twice the sales pipeline as other approaches.

Matherly showed off the first of those campaigns, a CISO-focused effort aimed at highlighting the importance of detecting and eliminating targeted attacks faster and more accurately.

The company will also refocus its Intel Security Rewards program, which provides incentives to solution provider ownership and sales reps, making it the exclusive domain of Platinum and Gold partners.