Intel focuses on services to grow its channel

Las Vegas – As part of a global strategy to strengthen and expand its channel community, Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) has announced a new hosted services offering to help its partners take better advantage of the SMB and services market.

Speaking at the vendor’s annual Solutions Summit conference, Steve Dallman, vice-president of sales and marketing group and general manager of worldwide reseller organization at Intel, said 2007 was a good year for the Intel channel. The U.S. market led the way, selling 200,000 quad-core CPUs, and generally speaking he said total growth in revenue in the U.S. surpassed worldwide sales from a CPU and server CPU standpoint. However, Dallman noted that in the U.S. mobile revenue growth was minus 22 per cent, compared to worldwide, where there was an 11 per cent increase.

To help fuel channel growth, Intel has introduced its new Hosting Service program for North American partners. Dallman said it’s a white-label offering in which partners can brand services under their own name to increase their overall revenue streams by using a subscription-based model.

“We’re offering channel services enablement as a scalable IT service for resellers,” Dallman said. “We want to help our resellers make the transition to become managed service providers. This gives partners a big advantage because they now have access to a full spectrum of opportunities to help them sell and build PCs.”

Partners will be able to offer customers services such as online backup and restore services, e-mail archiving, e-mail filtering and remote monitoring services. In addition, Intel will support its partners through a combination of technical, marketing and sales support tools and resources.

Tom Rampone, vice-president and general manager of Intel’s channel platforms group, said the new services offerings give partners a way to better differentiate themselves and their products.

“It’s a dangerous game for resellers to play if they’re selling the same commodities as other companies,” Rampone said. “There are plenty of opportunities for the channel to grow their business in many markets when they take advantage of this program.”

Anthony Antonacci, president of Laval, QC.-based Cartier Informatique, an IT consultancy and Intel Premier partner, said while his business focuses mostly on SMB customers he sees enough opportunities in Montreal without having to utilize Intel’s new hosted service program.

“We were already doing most of those (services being offered),” Antonacci said. “So we don’t really need that kind of service, because we already take care of all of an SMB’s IT needs from A to Z. But for those partners that don’t have that sort of expertise, Intel can help them with that.”

As well as its services offering, Dallman said Intel will also be making significant advances and updates to its online efforts to further help strengthen its brand this year.

“We know we need to train more and we’ve underinvested in what we’ve been doing with our online content,” Dallman said. “We’re redesigning all our Web sites to be more user-friendly. We want to drive customers through advertising and we realized that our partners aren’t quite up to speed on how to use the Web to reach their customers. We want this to change.”

In addition to online marketing, Dallman said partners should also look to emerging growth opportunities, such as with Intel’s Atom processor technology.

“Atom is our latest second generation of a low-cost platform CPU that’s available in as either a dual or single core solution,” Dallman said. “This will be available in Q2 and will most likely open up new markets and new opportunities for our partners.”

To improve its presence in the mobile space, Dallman suggests partners look at small form factor computing to sell and deploy across vertical markets. Up until now, he said, the consumer market has primarily been one of the main drivers fuelling mobile solution sales. Moving forward, partners should also look to markets such as education, digital signage and security.

On the Intel end, Dallman said the company will also focus its efforts this year on improving its logistics and supply line issues. He added Intel is actively recruiting partners in the small system integrator, system builder and managed service provider space.

“We want to help our partners grow their business,” Dallman said. “The channel is very important to Intel. They act as an extended arm to our sales force.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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