Intel plays cupid to its solution providers

Intel plays cupid to its solution providers

Hoping to play matchmaker for computer product dealers, system integrators, service providers, software developers, and Web designers, Intel has announced its Intel e-Business Network, a Web portal to launch this month that will link over 50,000 independent solution providers together through one Intel certified network.

Through the initiative, Intel hopes to bring its credibility as a "building-block supplier for the new connected world" to companies wanting assurance that the service or products they are looking for are coming from Intel-certified, reliable vendors. One analyst agreed that the plan fulfills a need.

"The Web already provides the connectivity, but the problem is that you can't tell from the Web whether someone is real or bogus, big or small, qualified or not," explained Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at California-based research company Insight 64. "You can make a site look sophisticated, but it doesn't mean you can deliver; so you need somebody with credibility to guide you."

Intel's e-Business Network will include all of Intel's product dealers and system builders, as well as members of its service, software, and Web programs, said Tom Kilroy, general manager of Intel's Reseller Channel Operation and director of worldwide sales. Furthermore, member companies will get Intel certification and training.

"Say a business needs a Web strategy," Kilroy explained. "They'd look through this portal, identify the competency they need, then break down the offerings city by city, all the time knowing each vendor is part of Intel's program."

According to Kilroy, the success of the initiative begins with bringing the participating vendors up to speed with the Intel road map.

"First, we plan to bring all our channel constituents together to better help the customer, and we're doing that through worldwide global training," Kilroy said. "We tell them, ‘Here's what we've done,' [and] why we've done it. Then we have breakouts that are specific to their business and specific to the individual company's direction, if it be software, hardware, or Web."

Intel is also planning a specialised online training centre, according to Kilroy. Participation in training courses is currently being offered through Intel's Authorised Training Centres, but self-paced components of the training can be found on the Web at Intel's Online Learning Centre. Intel also plans its first Intel Channel Conference later this year in more than 250 cities in 70 countries, providing a central forum to train participants, launch products, and promote key Intel initiatives.

"I would imagine, given Intel's approach, that it would be pretty rigorous and have well-defined criteria," Brookwood said of the conference. "Intel is a company that pays attention to detail. If they do things on a worldwide basis, you can almost bet it's going to work the same way in India as it will in Indiana."

Intel has yet to reveal the Web address of the new portal.

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