“Channels are going through big opportunities”


Suryanarayanan B, Director Sales, Intel South Asia, reveals the company’s channels road map for 2013 to Darnia Khongir for ChannelTimes

Intel has one of the world’s largest ecosystems of partners, with 45,000 partners across Asia Pacific and around 20000 partners in India as part of the Intel Technology Provider Program. The company has exciting plans for the growth of its partner team.

Read edited excerpts from the interview:

How has the Intel Technology Provider program been received since its inception last year?

Intel announced a new program for channel partners called the Intel Technology Provider Program in 2011. One year on and an additional 7,000 partners have joined the ITP. This new flexible program will allow us to support our customers’ continuously evolving business models and needs. The program carries forward the most successful elements of the Intel Channel Partner Program and offers increased solutions and sales-oriented support for those who resell Intel-based hardware under another brand or sourced from ODMs.

Intel rolled out its channel program in 1995. Some resellers and channel partners are selling their own brands but others are also selling Intel technology. Not just what brands they sell. So we merge all that and call it the Intel technology Provider Program – irrespective of what the person is selling be it Lenovo or Dell – we will work with them.

We educate and train them on products positioning and how to sell each of these products. And we have a specific sales training beyond the product and technology and soft skills. Then the new technologies that are coming up like the storage, solid state drives, servers where people need to reduce the latency and others. So we are looking at how to bring in new products and technologies and bring it all together for our channels next year, and work with them closely so that they take these new products and push to the customers.
We are also looking at how to work with the channel partners to help them and enabling them with new technologies. But how do you keep the momentum on the current technologies? With them as participators, it becomes much easier to drive the demand.

What are the market opportunities for the channel ecosystem for 2013?

We have seen that broadly the channels are going through big opportunities in terms of new segments, which are opening up beyond the traditional ones that they have been operating with, like embedded software services. We are pretty focused on a few of them. On the embedded side, we are trying to build some capabilities all the way up to solutions level in the security, surveillance and storage and some of the new technologies beyond the traditional PCs. That’s where we are going to be more focused on building their capabilities and making them understand what the solutions are and we need to identify them so they can take it to their customers.

What are the problems?

It is about trying to bring the entire solution vertical together to get all the building blocks together and the software solution on top of it. We will work as a catalyst in bringing all these solutions together – the hardware and software platform.
From the emerging technology standpoint there are a few new trends we have seen – one is from the desktop side it is getting reinvigorated. It has become the all-in-one now. Gone are the days of the PC has a box, a monitor and all those things. The all-in-ones are the biggest things happening to desktops’ world. It is just the monitor with everything built-in like the wireless keyboard and mouse.

At what stage to market are the Ultrabook devices at the moment for the channel in India? What is the timeframe?

Intel’s vision is to deliver the most complete and satisfying, no-compromise and more secure computing experience in one, sleek and portable device.
Last year, 2nd generation Intel Core processors started the transition to Ultrabook systems by enabling a new class of thin, light designs with mainstream price points. Few months we announced the 3rd generation Intel Core processors and Ultrabook systems based on this new family of processors will bring improved power efficiency, smart visual performance, increased responsiveness and enhanced security. Complimentary USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt technologies are also part of Intel’s ongoing work to drive the PC platform forward. The next phase will see the introduction of Haswell and this will be the third step toward accelerating the category of Ultrabook devices. With Haswell, Intel will change the mainstream laptop thermal design point by reducing microprocessor power to 10-20 watts – half of today’s design point – helping to provide more than 10 days of connected standby battery life.

What else is Intel doing to ensure channel partners are successful with Ultrabooks?

A big focus is on education – defining what an Ultrabook is, how an Ultrabook provides an optimal solution to consumers and businesses, and how to answer questions from end-customers. Intel is also offering robust training and marketing help. Our goal is enable our partners to sell UB based solutions regardless of whose brand is in the box.

What are you doing to make Ultrabooks mainstream, given the current price points are in the range of $1,000 or so?

Ultrabook is a new line of mainstream mobile computers that combine best in class performance, responsiveness and security in thin, elegant form factors. As the category evolves we expect the volume to go up and volume economics will drive the cost down to meet the needs of what consumer want.

What can you share about Intel’s collaboration on Windows 8 and Ultrabook?

There has been broad collaboration between Intel and Microsoft for the past 30 years. Windows 8 presents new opportunities for both parties across multiple compute devices, such as IA-based tablets, convertible and Ultrabooks. Ultrabooks will present a flagship platform to deliver a premium, full-featured Windows 8 experience that delivers on Microsoft’s promise of re-imagining Windows. For tablets and Convertible, Intel is working on a new 32nm Atom SOC platform, codenamed “Clover Trail” that will align closely with Windows 8.
On the mobility side, laptop – this is the Ultrabook that is going to drive the change. Going forward, there will be a lot more innovation on the Ultrabook. Just from a compacter and battery life to a convertible. It will be touch enabled.

What is Intel’s vision for the channel in 2013?

Our partner’s success is the crucial to Intel’s success and we continue to invest wholeheartedly in supporting the growth and innovations of our partners in this changing marketplace. As the explosion of devices, life online and increasing mobility is forcing change in consumer demands for computing solutions; we recognize that the business models of our channel partners are also evolving. There is an opportunity for the partner ecosystem to deliver seamless and consistent experiences across a continuum of different devices to consumers. Intel aims to support its partners to create, support and sell Intel-based products and solutions beyond the PC to meet the demands of the market; and to develop different business models to suit the evolving market. The Intel Technology Provider Program (ITP) continues to be the cornerstone of Intel’s channel strategy.

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