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Intel’s four key channel opportunities

Using Intel products and tapping into the right solution segments will lead partners to more opportunities, executives say

Despite the weakening economy and many businesses now monitoring their IT infrastructure and IT spending plans, Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) executives say there are still certain solution segments that will see growth both now and moving forward.

David Allen, director of distribution sales for North America at Intel Canada, said the company sees four key solution areas as opportunities for it and its channel partners. These anticipated growth areas include the server, storage, IT security and managed services markets. In addition to those segments, Allen said the company also expects PC sales to continue as well.

“We see significant growth in notebook and mobile sales,” Allen said. “Desktops aren’t going away because there will always be business (customers) that want them. Notebooks will continue to drive growth because they tend to break down faster (than desktops) because they’re being carried around more.”

Especially in the Canadian market, Elaine Mah, Canadian business marketing manager at Intel Canada, said notebook sales have been extremely strong due to Canada’s large SMB market space.

Intel is now shipping its new Nehalem Core i7 processors, which Allen says partners can take immediate advantage of.

“The channel’s the jack rabbit for products like Nehalem,” he said. “Partners can move quickly and can tag (products) to customers where it makes the most business sense. Nehalem’s now shipping in desktop form and is doing well in the gaming segments. Over time, it will also go to mainstream computing too.”

With Nehalem, Allen says users will experience high performance, better energy and virtualization capabilities.

For netbook, notebook and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs), Allen says Intel’s Atom processor is best because of its small size, which the company says makes it “Intel’s smallest chip.”

“Because Atom is so small, it can go into different form factors,” Allen said. “We’re also seeing it being put into non-PC type solutions such as embedded solutions in print or security.”

By giving partners flexibility in how to use the processor, new market and customer opportunities open up for manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Allen adds.

For partners looking to get into the managed services space, Allen said utilizing Intel’s vPro technology helps with that. Some of the features included in vPro include a Remote Alert feature, which allows a PC to “call” for IT assistance on its own, Remote Scheduled Maintenance, which allows IT administrators to control PCs by ensuring they are up-to-date and complaint, Fast Call for Help feature, which provides end-users with immediate assistance with the click of a button, and more.

In an effort to help partners boost their sales, Allen says Intel has made available its Intel Modular Server, which is a channel exclusive product. Intel calls this server a “business in a box,” and its primary focus is on the SMB segment.

With current economic hardships, Allen advises partners to continue to build on the basics of their existing offerings.

“A lot of partners today are still building the basics such as hardware support,” Allen said. “Partners should make the leap towards more relationships and managed services with their customers. Especially going into a difficult economic environment, a solution provider can use their managed service offerings to differentiate themselves to stay competitive.”