IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Unified Intel Partner Program to Debut in January

During a virtual partner conference today, Eric Thompson (pictured) and others offered details on the new Intel Partner Alliance and extolled the advantages it will offer over previously separate programs for solution providers, OEMs, and ISVs, among others. By Rich Freeman

After three years of effort, the massive unification of Intel’s previously separate partner programs for solution providers, cloud service providers, OEMs, and others is finally in the home stretch.

“It’s right around the corner. We’re in the final steps to deliver this. At the beginning of the year in early January, we look forward to starting a new year together in the new Intel Partner Alliance,” says Eric Thompson, Intel’s general manager of partner enablement, referring to the industry giant’s new channel program.

Thompson spoke this morning at Intel’s Partner Connect virtual event, which presented information about the new program alongside updates on Intel’s supply chain and business performance during a year of pandemic-driven uncertainty.

When it formally launches a few months from now, the Intel Partner Alliance will combine the Intel Technology Provider, IoT Solutions Alliance, and Cloud Insider programs, plus dozens of other partner organizations, into an all-new, all-encompassing entity designed to make working with Intel easier for companies with multiple specializations.

“We certainly recognize that the program landscape that we bring to the market today was fragmented, and that creates inefficiency and confusion for you, our partners,” Thompson said in his keynote. The new program is also designed to help the more than 50,000 members of Intel’s channel collaborate on joint go-to-market ventures, he continued.

“The industry has evolved. It’s changed fundamentally. There’s many new business models that you’ve deployed in order to continue to grow your business and you’re collaborating across the ecosystem more than ever before to put the kind of solutions together that are necessary to reach the demands of your end customers,” Thompson said. “We wanted a program that kind of reflected that.”

The basic structure of the new program, which Intel first disclosed in broad outline a year ago, is built around roles, such as integrator, ISV, distributor, and manufacturer, that are designed to steer partners toward the most relevant resources for their function. 

“We needed to construct a core value proposition that’s really oriented around your core business model, knowing that what, for example, a software vendor, an ISV, will find most helpful in your relationship with Intel will be quite different than what, for example, a local OEM would find most different or most valuable,” Thompson explained.

Across roles, program members are slotted into three tiers—member, gold, and titanium—with varying requirements and benefits. Unifying Intel’s earlier programs into the Partner Alliance, Thompson noted, will give the company a more holistic view of all the ways it engages with members, enabling partners to get more credit toward requirements than before.

Intel will tell partners their initial level in the Partner Alliance before the end of the year, Thompson said.

Benefits in the Partner Alliance will fall into two categories, automated and managed. Automated benefits are awarded to all partners in a given role and tier. Managed benefits are incremental perks available to partners with strategic expertise or especially high-volume sales capacity.

All Partner Alliance members will enjoy higher caps on how many points they can collect, and new ways to earn points. “In addition to the traditional transactional ways, we’re also looking at more activity-based ways,” Thompson said.

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