Building Stronger Partner Muscle

Intel beefs up its consulting practice to work closely with partners and not compete.

Intel is taking a bit of its own medicine. The chip maker, which has repeatedly advised its integrator partners to differentiate themselves, is now taking that advice to heart. In a move to cast a wider net of opportunity, the company is adding 100 new consultants to its in-house consulting group to work more closely with its partners.

The move allows Intel to build better partnerships with other vendors and to influence and help channel players build solutions that are not solely Intel-based.

"From a services perspective, there are a lot of initiatives and technologies that are going to be key to our dif- ferentiation," says Rick Echevarria, Intels director for Solution Centers and Services Worldwide. "We are not here to build a services body shop. You are not going to see us look and feel like any other integrator or consultancy out there."

Moving toward a more influence-based channel model, Intel plans to use events like this weeks Intel Solutions Summit in San Diego to unite its top systems integrators and dealers on the latest Intel Architecture Group solutions, which Intel will position as a base for other companies collaborative product solutions.

"A lot of the programs weve put in place over the last year are to get much more active in influencing channels that arent necessarily selling Intel-branded products, but are working with the broader industry that is representing Intel Architecture solutions," says Tom Kilroy, VP of Intels sales and marketing group and general manager of its Reseller Channel Operation.

The idea is about adding value. "Weve been talking for the last couple of years about if youre a channel partner, youve got to differentiate yourself and offer more value in an e-business economy," says Dan Russell, VP of Intels Architecture Group and assistant general manager of the Architecture Solutions Enabling Group.

Indeed, the Intel Architecture Group invested $100 million in its global testing labs called Solutions Centers, adding seven new labs to the existing nine. "The point here is not to build something massive in terms of a services capability, but to achieve scale," says Echevarria.

Additionally, for its Q1, Intel reported $6.7 billion in revenue—down 16 percent from its 2000 Q1 results and down 23 percent sequentially—blaming trends such as low PC and servers sales for the downfall. It expects Q2 revenue between$6.2 billion and $6.8 billion.

To drive its Pentium IV processor into businesses, opposed to consumer units, Intel will cut prices by nearly 20 percent. "The product remains on track to be our fastest ramping microarchitecture ever," says Paul Otellini, executive VP and general manager of Intel Architecture Group.