Intel Jumps Into Managed Services MarketBy Sharon Linsenbach | Print
Intel's white-label hosted Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint for partners made up a piece of the chipmaker's SAAS and managed services announcements at its partner summit.
Intel's new white-label managed services offering, which includes hosted Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint, is ready for prime time, according to the company's channel chief, and is available for partners to start offering to their end customers today.
Steve Dallman, the chip giant's vice president of sales and marketing and general manager of its worldwide reseller channel organization, announced the availability along with other milestones during his keynote address at Intel's channel summit in Las Vegas April 8.
Dallman also discussed Intel's 45 nanometer high-k transistor technology and forthcoming mobile-focused motherboards during the keynote.
Intel's new white-label managed services offering is powered by managed services provider NaviSite. The offering allows Intel channel partners to deliver self-branded hosted Exchange and Sharepoint, e-mail spam and virus filtering and archiving, online backup and restore services, and remote monitoring and management, Dallman said.
And that's a message many partners likely were happy to hear. In an informal audience survey, 44 percent of attendees said services was the area they expected to see the most business growth in 2008.
Dallman said partners could expect more technology such as Intel's vPro solution, which leverages Intel hardware for remote management that can be used for managed services and allows partners to remotely monitor, manage, troubleshoot and repair customers' infrastructure. Dallman said vPro was an example of how hardware could drive new-services business for partners, adding, "if you don't understand this product line or how to use it, I strongly urge you to go find out, because this is just the beginning [of these types of technologies]."
But while Dallman promised many new technology advancements from Intel, he said the channel organization would not change much even though it is undergoing a changing of the guard. Dallman acknowledged that four of the company's top channel executives would be leaving -- Mike Steward, North American channel marketing manager for programs and initiatives; Mike Strutzel, North American channel sales manager; Shirley Turner, director of North American channel marketing; and Nick Davison, director, North American sales and distribution.
Global Growth Opportunities
Dallman said that while the line separating mature markets and emerging markets was blurring, opportunities for solution providers were expanding worldwide. He said the same strategy of adding value to the products sold by solution providers as well as adding services would help channel partners be successful no matter where their market resided.
"Today, with the proper language skills, any one of you could set your business down in the middle of Beijing and be completely successful," he said. Dallman added that Intel's worldwide strategy was to strengthen channel relationships and offer consistent support and then allow regional and local solution providers to adapt that strategy to meet the needs of their unique customers.
"The local guy who grows up in that area is much more successful at selling into those local markets. The same sort of thing is happening all over the world," he said.
Dallman did acknowledge some of the supply and logistics difficulties Intel faces. From North America to India, he said, the No. 1 issue solution providers were faced with was an inability to get spare components.
"We're going to keep working on the supply issues. We're putting new infrastructure in place to improve our logistics before the end of the year," he said.
Dallman said that Intel's 45nm transistor technology was another key technology driving growth and encouraging customers to refresh their technology because of its reduced power consumption and improved cooling technology.
He emphasized that the technology wasn't just for high-end processors, but spanned Intel's entire CPU line, including the Atom processor for mobile devices and low-cost PCs. Dallman also referenced Intel's Nehalem, the successor to the Merom and Penryn processors, scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of 2008.
"Nehalem will offer a market-leading position for a long, long time before anyone else has delivered anything on the 45nm platform," said Dallman.
The Atom CPU is socketless and available in dual and single core with power consumption of as low as four watts, Dallman said. The Atom CPU allows opportunities for building fanless, small form factor, low-cost systems that channel partners could use to drive opportunities in vertical markets that still depend on desktops, such as health care, government and education.
"The focus is on vertical computing, fixed-function machines in a small form factor that can make the desktop sexy again," said Dallman. The small form factor opportunities also extend to emerging small businesses, the majority of which still use desktop machines, he said.
"Small and midsized businesses are growing at 6 percent to 8 percent. and they are buying desktops. That's why we haven't seen the downturn we'd expected with the growth of mobile," he added.
And mobile is another area partners can focus on, he said, as the emergence of 45 nm technology would enable further development of Intel's mobile motherboards, based on Centrino 2, formerly code-named Montevino, which should be available in June, and the new Rich Creek 2 form factor spec, which will support a number of interchangeable building blocks for notebooks, scheduled to roll out in 2009.
He said Intel had a number of channel-focused mobile programs and that Intel already had four ODMs lined up to support the Rich Creek 2 spec, but that he could only name one, Gigabit.
Better Warranties Mean More Service Revenues
Dallman also said some key enhancements were made to increase channel partner benefits. He said giving Intel Premier channel partners the opportunity to offer customers a better warranty on products could be used as a marketing tool and could lead to additional services revenue.
Intel was investing millions in revamping its Web sites and was also investing heavily into reaching customers online. The company also was putting "hundreds of millions of dollars to drive eyeballs" to the newly revamped sites.
Part of those improvements include tracking customer buying patterns and also heavily promoting and branding Intel Premier partners to help "put their names in front of customers at the same time they're making their buying decisions," he said, in the hopes of driving more business to partners.
Dallman said he realized Intel had sometimes fallen short when it came to online training and resources and that the company was working hard to fix those shortcomings.
"Persistance wins, and we're not giving up," he said.
Related coverage from the Intel partner summit:
Intel, NaviSite Ink Managed Services Deal
For Intel, Desktops Aren't Dead
Intel Channel Chief: Virtualization a Boon for Intel
Intel Partners Say Small Form Factor a Big Deal
Intel Jumps Into Managed Services Market