Intel Security to split Partner Summit from Focus

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 channel partners are heading home now from this week’s Focus 15 event held here, but it won’t be a full year before they next get together.

Richard Steranka, global channel chief at Intel Security, told here that the vendor plans to launch a dedicated partner conference in 2016, with plans for a North American conference in the late spring timeframe.

Steranka said the move is about creating a more intimate and inclusive event for partners. While international attendance at this week’s combined event has been good — Steranka particularly praised the company’s Japanese partners for coming out — he believes the company will be able to get in front of significantly more partners by doing a series of regional partner conferences throughout the year. The goal may also be to engage partners for longer. At Focus, there’s typically a partner day preceding the “main event” of the show, but once the conference proper begins, the partner community blends in with the much larger crowd of customers and other security professionals. Content is still relevant to partners, and partners are well-represented in most sessions, but much of the partner-specific content has been delivered in the pre-show partner conference. And partners are often busy, as many will “bring” customers to the show or at least meet with them during the main part of Focus.

By doing a partner-specific show, the company should be able to hold partners’ eyes, and minds, for longer, by delivering a steady flow of content and sessions that are relevant to their needs and plans — and unabashedly so, since there won’t be many, if any, customers in the room.

Does this mean the end of partner presence at Focus? It seems highly unlikely. Consider the show makeup of an HP(E) Discover, or a Cisco Live, end-user events that are not “partner events” per se but have significant partner involvement. Or it could go even further — VMware holds its annal Partner Exchange event early in the year, and then uses a “partner day” approach ahead of its late-August VMworld mega-event as a way to “check in” with partners half way to the next PEX.

The location, date, or name of the separate partner conference in North America or elsewhere in the world were not announced at Focus.

As for the main event itself, while Focus has been held at the Venetian/Palazzo complex here for at least the last five years, using the Sands Expo hall for general sessions and breakouts, Intel Security representatives here have suggested that while the conference will still be held in Las Vegas next year, it’s moving to a new venue.