Intel has rolled out the Solutions Marketplace in a bid to facilitate collaboration among its global partner ecosystem.
The Intel Solutions Marketplace, launched Wednesday, provides a platform for Intel partners to create virtual storefronts where they can market their businesses and products. According to Intel, partners can use the Solutions Marketplace to browse other partners' offerings and engage one another for collaborative purposes. The Solutions Marketplace is the latest move by the company in laying the groundwork for the Intel Partner Alliance program, a revamped partner program slated to launch in the second half of 2020.
"We have this ecosystem across our partner program that spans almost the entirety of our industry, and, oftentimes, the level of collaboration needed between two points in that ecosystem -- or three points or even four points in that ecosystem -- is growing as the complexity of end customer demands … grows, as well. The Intel Solutions Marketplace would be the way that that industry comes together to facilitate that," said Eric Thompson, Intel general manager of global partner enablement.
Intel built the Solutions Marketplace on its Solutions Directory, a previously established feature of the company's IoT Solutions Alliance program. The Solutions Directory lets partners post and promote their IoT-related products and solutions, Thompson said.
Given its origins, the Solutions Marketplace is heavily focused on IoT, but Thompson said offerings will expand into other technology areas. He noted that the marketplace also carries Intel Select Solutions -- data center-oriented products for running enterprise software applications such as SAP HANA.
At launch, the Solutions Marketplace has approximately 4,600 unique offerings from about 1,000 Intel partners, Thompson said.
Making partner-to-partner collaborations easier
Other vendors, such as IBM, have recently made efforts to facilitate the partner matchmaking process within their complex channel ecosystems. There are a number of factors driving the need for partner-to-partner collaborations.
Thompson said the Intel partner ecosystem ranges from ODMs, OEMs and ISVs to systems and solutions integrators, services providers and cloud service providers. Customer demand for advanced IT solutions increasingly requires channel firms to combine their skill sets and expertise in joint engagements.
When Intel designed the Solutions Marketplace, the company sought partner feedback on the challenges typically involved in collaborations, Thompson said. Intel partners cited issues such as finding the right companies to connect with and identifying the right people in those companies to contact. "Our intent was to build features into the marketplace to help solve some of those challenges with collaboration," he noted.
Each virtual storefront lets an Intel partner display a listing of its offerings as well as a detailed profile of its business and targeted industries, focus areas and geographic markets. Partners can be contacted by potential collaborators directly through the storefronts. Additionally, a dashboard gives partners insight into user visits to their storefronts, lead management functions and reporting on lead statistics, Thompson said.
With the Solutions Marketplace launched, Thompson noted that Intel will also continue to host face-to-face partner matchmaking events where partners can learn about one another's companies and forge alliances.
Intel's vision for the Solutions Marketplace is to also extend beyond partner-to-partner collaboration. The company aims to drive end customers to the Solutions Marketplace -- for example, by shepherding customers to the platform from the Intel.com website, Thompson said. "We see this as a good opportunity for us to help connect end customers … to partners across that variety of solution spaces," he said.
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