Intel announced its plans to modernize its old channel program back in October 2019, and now, with the work of fully integrating their two partner portals completed, it all goes live on Monday.
Today, Intel is announcing that its new Intel Partner Alliance will go live next Monday, January 11, 2021. The complete reconstruction of the company’s partner program reflects the major changes to the Intel ecosystem over the last five years, and unifies the old Intel partner programs like Intel Technology Provider, Intel IOT Solutions Alliance and Intel Cloud Insider, into a single program. The changes also bring Intel’s two partner portals – Intel Partner University and Intel Solutions Marketplace – into a single portal, with a role-based access system which is entirely new.
“The Intel Technology Provider Program we had had for 15 years, and dated from a time when Intel was much more connected to the PC for its core business,” said Lucas Martínez, Intel’s Channel Sales Director and IoT lead for the Americas. “Five years ago, we changed course, and moved to being a platform-centric company and a data-centric company. That’s at full speed right now. The PC business was more than 75% of Intel’s business four years ago. Now, PC is 50%, and data centric is 50%. The PC is still growing, so the shift reflects the massive growth in the data-centric portion.”
The restructuring was designed to solve a couple of related problems.
“With that change, and the realization that the partners we are working with in the market are not the same, we also realized that the Intel Technology Provider Program was better suited for PC partners,” Martínez said “The challenge was to provide value for the whole new ecosystem. Because of this focus on PCs, the different groups at Intel also started doing their own initiatives for the new channels like IoT and distribution. Not all did them with the same system or connected to the Technology Partner Program. So we decided to bring all the different legacy systems created by different owners to one single platform.”
The original plan was to launch the Intel Partner Alliance in the second half of 2020, although that was delayed somewhat.
“The pandemic hit, and that didn’t help things,” Martínez noted. “The integration of the portals also proved to be more complex than expected. We had a conversation internally. Do we accelerate, and get it out earlier, or wait until we are convinced it is completely right. We decided that since 2020 had been such a challenging year for partners, we couldn’t give them another issue to deal with, so we decided to wait until it was completely ready.”
The Intel Partner Alliance features an expanded roster of partner types organized by partner roles. New roles include field programmable gate array design services, cloud service provider, independent software vendor, distributor, manufacturer, solution provider, original equipment manufacturer and service integrator.
“It’s all about the roles,” Martínez said. “Depending on your role, you get a specific personalized experience, and everything in the platform depends on your role. That’s all brand new. The biggest issue with the portal here was bringing together all those different system with all those different logins. A partner could have five different logins before. Now, it’s one. Designing that was a challenge to the system.”
Martínez said that the changes were critical however, in order to properly support the non-PC focused partners.
“If we wanted to engage with a top IoT partner, they will never sell 10,000 PCs, so in the old model, we didn’t have a way to get them into a top tier,” he indicated. “The new integrated platform provides ways for each of the different kinds of partners to be recognized.”
The unified platform now allows training to be unified as well.
“Before, the training was different, depending on the platform, for different groups,” Martínez pointed out. “Now it’s all integrated into Intel Partner University. You have suggestions based on your role for the training that is best for your employees, but you can get any training you want from Intel university, and it’s all free. We need to have partners properly trained on the technologies and how to sell them. The change from PC-centric to data-centric internally meant we changed training around how to sell internally, and that same training, the same as Intel employees get, is now all in Intel Partner University.”
The rewards system has been expanded to simplify and maximize program benefits and rewards across all partner levels and roles.
“The rewards come through points, and before they were tied just to PCs because the Technology Partner Program was for channel integrators of CPUs,” Martínez said. “The rewards have been expanded to reach more channels in the new ecosystem.”
The overall budget for this already began to be significantly increased over the past two years, Martínez noted.
“The overall amount of money placed in the program in the last two years was way more than in the past,” he said. “Instead of having a single budget, each business unit gives money to the program, so the overall amount is not fixed. Last year, there were massive increases of money. We launched new graphic card SKUs and provided an increase in money to promote them. We also provided increased funding to help partners deal with the pandemic, including increased points, and extended warranties.
Both the Intel Solution Marketplace and the Intel Partner University were originally launched separately in late 2019, and the main change to them now is that they are fully integrated.
“We originally launched them separately because they were of so much benefit to the partners, and now they are integrated together,” Martínez said.
Any time legacy programs are harmonized into one, whether it’s internal like the case here or acquisition-related, there’s always some partner concern about old benefits being lost.
“You always have trade-offs, but the overall benefits we now provide are way more than any specific issue where things are changed,” Martínez stressed. “We’ve been very careful about that. There will likely be some issues in some cases, but the new benefits will far exceed the old. I don’t see anything big enough where we expect a problem. We were even careful with the names, trying to make sure that people fell nothing big is changing.”
Martínez said that these changes take place at a time of unparalleled opportunity for Intel partners.
“We are going to have a record year, with $75 billion expected, the highest revenue in our history,” he said. “In addition, while supply has been an issue in the past, we have 30% more supply compared to Q1 of last year. We keep investing to keep more supply in the market.”
Beginning on January 11, partners can log in to the new Intel Portal to activate their accounts and explore the updated interface and new offerings. Existing partners are invited to a webcast to celebrate the launch and to hear from leaders how Intel is supporting them in 2021. Partners can attend the webcast on Jan. 12 from 8 to 9 a.m. PST or from 7 to 8 p.m. PST. Registration for the webcast is on the Intel Partner Alliance website.