Intel Corp. is overhauling its Intel Inside partner marketing program to allow partners greater discretion in using funds they’ve built up in their MDF accounts for print advertising and other collateral, and, through a partnership with Google, give system builders the ability to place online advertising.
The news was announced at last month’s annual Solutions Summit for systems builders.
Also announced was partnership with Linux operating system distributor Red Hat. Systems assembled from an approved Intel parts list will be automatically certified to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The goal is to get around lengthy delays in getting the OS certified to run on channel-built platforms.
Steve Dallman, general manager of Intel’s worldwide reseller organization, called the change in the Intel Inside program (also called Track 2) an “exciting” development that will help partners broaden their marketing efforts.
Until now, the company restricted in the way marketing funds can be rebated for partner expenses. One Ontario VAR, for example, recalled in an interview the company refusing to help pay for a print ad because the Intel logo was placed on the wrong part of the page.
At a session with reporters, Dallman acknowledged that channel partners have been asking for less restrictive rules for some time.
That will change with the creation of online marketing stores, where channel partners can choose from a number of templates for building ads which not only have approved Intel logos but will also allow partners more freedom in the placement of their messages.
There will be reimbursement for their expenses coming out of their Intel Inside accounts (credit that is built up through the purchase of Intel products), so the partner does not have to put out cash up front.
It will also cover spending on marketing events channel partners host, up to 50 per cent of direct mail campaigns and spending on some marketing research.
Dallman had few details about the arrangement with Google, which will be announced by that company April 29, but it will apparently involve an online store where system builders can place ads for desktops, notebooks and servers built with Intel components.
The Red Hat deal is open only to Intel Premier and Associate partners. “If they order from a menu of options from server configurations that are both standard and solutions-processed components, they’ll be pre-certified to run RHEL,” said Edward Boyajian, Red Hat’s North American vice-president and general manager. “That means that all of the ISV certifications that we would have normal support for they could take to their customers” and show support for that configuration.
“Normally what we would do for any hardware vendor is charge a fee to certify that platform so we can ensure we support it. I think it’s going to fundamentally change the channel’s ability to serve customer demand. There’s still a large percentage of servers that ship as white boxes. Those have typically not been the focus of our core RHEL certification. This allows us to reach more customers through Intel partners and their relationships.”
Dallman said that changes Intel is currently emphasizing include overhauling its supply chain to avoid the problems that began 18 months ago.
“A year ago I was apologizing for chipset and board delivery problems,” he recalleds. Among the changes was the creation of what the company calls Tactical Demand Fullfilment, which he described as “how often do we say ‘Yes’ within 24 hours of a request.”
That covers not only requests for products or order changes from distributors, but almost anything the company is asked for he said. Virtually every Intel staff member’s compensation is partly tied to TDF, he also said.