The Intel Partner Alliance: All for One and One for All
Or rather fewer is more, to be grammatically precise, as in fewer partner programs. For years, the processor giant operated three separate programs for theoretically different sets of partners: Intel Technology Partner, Cloud Insider, and the IoT Solutions Alliance. With lines increasingly blurring across once distinct business models, however, partners often found themselves juggling memberships in two or all three offerings.
“We’d been increasingly hearing from partners that as their business has been evolving, along with how our industry has certainly been evolving, that they were looking to grow their business with Intel across a whole spectrum of our technologies and solutions and products, and that doing so was kind of driving them into having to join these multiple programs,” says Eric Thompson (pictured), general manager of partner enablement at Intel.
Partners with different specializations also craved more and easier opportunities to forge go-to-market relationships, he adds. “They’re collaborating with each other in ways that maybe they never have before.”
To satisfy both requests, Intel made the bold decision to combine three programs with some 50,000 members, plus dozens of smaller partner organizations, into a single offering with one set of tiers, qualifications, and benefits that’s also flexible enough to meet the needs of everyone from system builders and VARs to ISVs and OEMs.
Three years later, in a process that culminated early last month, the Intel Partner Alliance officially opened its doors. The new program contains three levels—Member, Gold, and Titanium—with similar but customized qualifications and benefits across nine partner roles, such as service integrator, cloud service provider, and distributor. Partners can slot themselves into as many of those roles as suits their business.
They can also join communities built around shared topics of interest like cloud computing, IoT, and field programmable gate array technology. On an invitation-only basis, smaller groups of partners with deep expertise will participate in “specialties” in areas like data center solutions and artificial intelligence.
Everyone in the program gets access to a new portal offering dynamically customized content tailored to specific companies and users. “It really helps them individually manage their participation in the program,” Thompson notes.
In addition, all partners can utilize the Intel Partner University, a training and certification tool that consolidates resources previously scattered about multiple places online; and the Intel Partner Marketing Studio, a library of ready-to-use marketing assets and campaigns. They can also collect and redeem points, something only Intel Technology Partners could do before.
Gold partners get additional benefits, such as the ability to earn and display competency badges and attend the annual Intel Partner Connect conference. Titanium partners get everything Gold partners do plus an account manager, eligibility for MDF, and more.
Both Gold and Titanium partners can also create a storefront in the Intel Solutions Marketplace, a site based on the earlier IoT Solutions Marketplace that partners can use to promote hardware, software, and services to end users as well as fellow partners seeking complementary products for jointly marketed solutions.
No One Left Behind
Intel gave partners an initial tier assignment (based on their sales and other activities over the prior 18 months, rather than the usual 12, to prevent anyone from being penalized by the COVID-19 economic slowdown) late last year. They’ll retain that status through December and then move up or down in the program in 2022 based on the prior year’s performance.
Step one for all partners, however, is officially activating their new account by logging into the Partner Alliance portal and completing a simple onboarding process. Intel is working hard to make its busy partners aware of that important requirement.
“Our objective is 100% activation of every partner that we’ve migrated,” Thompson says. “We don’t want to leave anyone behind or lose any partners in this transition.”
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