In a further step toward consolidating its multiple, stand-alone partner programs, Intel has introduced a website designed to help end users find partner solutions while helping the makers of those solutions forge alliances with one another.
The new Intel Solutions Marketplace, which has been quietly operational for weeks but officially opened its doors today, will ultimately offer integrators, solution providers, system builders, ISVs, OEMs, and every other type of partner Intel works with a variety of capabilities not available to most of them previously.
“What we are doing is creating the platform by which our partners can collaborate together, and customers can seek out partners for specific solutions that they may be looking for within our vast ecosystem,” says Eric Thompson, Intel’s general manager for global partner enablement.
Key features of the new platform include the ability to create individualized partner storefronts that display background information and key contacts; provide access to resources like white papers and datasheets; and list available products and solutions. Partners create those storefronts themselves using tools and templates provided by Intel.
“It’s fairly intuitive,” Thompson says. Solutions listed on the site must clear an approval process to ensure they meet clearly defined minimum criteria, he adds.
The new marketplace also lets partners manage and report on the inquiries their solutions receive from end users and fellow partners. “They can manage and pursue leads through here and track the statistics associated with those leads,” Thompson says. Additional reports show partners how much user traffic and interest their solutions are generating.
Enhanced search functionality lets users find solutions by keyword and attribute, among other criteria. A private chat feature that allows partners to message each other through the platform will be added next year.
By design, Thompson notes, the Solutions Marketplace is an informational resource but not a “transactional” one with e-commerce capabilities. “We’re not actually selling or taking orders on our platform,” he says. Visitors ready to place an order must contact the relevant partner or an authorized distributor. Intel plans to help partners collect leads, however, through search engine optimization and a series of demand generation campaigns.
At present, there are approximately 4,500 listings in the marketplace from roughly 650 partners. The new system builds upon and replaces the earlier Intel IoT Solution Directory, and is therefore heavily stocked with Intel IoT Market Ready Solutions and Intel IoT RFP Ready Kits as a result. A wide range of Intel Select Solutions for the data center are currently available too, and more offerings from a broader array of suppliers will be added over time.
Intel is rolling out promotional and onboarding efforts to help get partners running on the new platform. “We’ve got a series of campaigns going on that will go live this week to help our partners get up to speed quickly on the features and functionalities, and a series of different tours that have been enabled through online and video,” Thompson says.
Today’s launch is an interim step in an ongoing strategic process aimed at combining Intel’s Technology Provider, IoT Solutions Alliance, Cloud Insider, and other partner programs into a new offering to be called the Intel Partner Alliance. Set to debut in the second half of 2020, that program will include resources for roles such as reseller, system builder, and developer, as well as communities in areas like cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Those affiliations will ultimately be represented in the Solutions Marketplace’s catalog and search tools as well.