Intel has launched a new cross-discipline partner training platform and released details about the company-wide channel program, called the Intel Partner Alliance, that it plans to formally launch next year.
Both moves are early steps on the road toward the sweeping overhaul and unification of multiple partner programs that Intel first outlined in March at its Partner Connect conference.
Called Intel Partner University and available for use immediately, the new training portal provides centralized access to materials from the vendor’s Intel Technology Provider, IoT Solutions Alliance, and Cloud Insider programs.
It also augments those existing resources with new, deeper courses for both sales and technical professionals in 12 competencies spanning from cloud infrastructure to IoT solutions to gaming systems and beyond. Partners who work their way through the curriculum in one of those disciplines and pass a final exam will earn the right to display a certification badge on corporate websites and personal social media pages.
“It allows our partners to have a little bit more visibility, receive a badge, and be able to market that in terms of showcasing their depth of expertise and their connection with Intel,” says Eric Thompson, general manager of global partner enablement at Intel.
The new training site also incorporates a number of usability improvements requested by Intel partners, such as consolidated access to both traditional online classes and webinars in one place. “We were forcing our partners in the past to go to two different portals,” Thompson notes. “We’ve brought that together so that we can provide our partners with one-stop shopping for all their training needs.”
Courseware is optimized for use on mobile devices as well, he continues. “They’re busy, they are on the go, and they want an ability to consume that training content off of their phone versus having to be seated in front of a computer,” Thompson says of partners.
When it formally opens its doors in the second half of 2020, the Intel Partner Alliance will feature three tiers: Member, Gold, and Titanium. Specific requirements at each level remain forthcoming, but Intel plans to publish details online well before those qualifications go into effect.
“We’ll have a matrix that every partner can log into and see how they’re tracking,” Thompson says, adding that most members of legacy Intel partner programs will retain roughly the same status they have today.
“Most partners will come across in essentially the same tier,” he predicts. “There will be some partners that maybe are on the edge of a particular tier in the current program that they’re in, and will be in what would end up being the middle” in the Intel Partner Alliance due to its somewhat steeper requirements.
To keep partners who find themselves further away from top-tier status in the new program satisfied, Intel has beefed up benefits offered at the middle, Gold, level. For example, while only the equivalent of Titanium partners could attend Partner Connect in the past, Gold partners will now be welcome too. Gold partners will also enjoy higher caps on the maximum number of points they can earn.