Intel gets channel on track

CPU manufacturer marks the introduction of recently-updated channel programme with series of conferences and training seminars aimed at Middle East partners.

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By  Administrator Published  June 2, 2007

Chip giant Intel has begun a whirlwind tour of several Gulf countries as it looks to educate resellers on the ins and outs of its new channel scheme.

Intel says that the launch of its ‘Track Two' programme will give resellers greater flexibility in terms of marketing spend by offering less up-front payment and more focused marketing initiatives for partners.

As we went to press, Intel had scheduled channel conferences in Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait and the UAE to give channel partners full details of how the scheme is being implemented in the Middle East. It has also set up training schemes to get resellers across the region up to speed on the programme.

Nassir Nauthoa, reseller channel manager Gulf counties at Intel, told Channel Middle East: "The trainings we're running in the Middle East are aimed at highlighting the changes made to the programme and explaining to partners how they can tap into all the services available to them."

Nauthoa (pictured) added: "It will help them build up their brand awareness and sell and market their products."

According to Steve Dallman, senior director of channels at Intel, the new scheme is structured differently to the previous Intel Inside programme, which he claims restricted resellers on how they could spend their funds.

"What we've done now with Track Two is taken the money and broken it up a little differently," he explained. "In the new programme we've eliminated pre-approval and just given some very simple guidelines. It has higher reimbursement rates, it simplifies the process and it reduces up-front payment."

Dallman predicts that the Track Two programme will provide a more efficient model for resellers, and is expecting its partners to utilise the programme more effectively and extensively than the previous model.

"There were areas where our customers were only spending 40% to 50% of what was available to them. Now, with Track Two, my expectation is that it'll move to 70% to 80% of the funds actually being used," said Dallman.

With a channel scheme that places less emphasis on up-front payment, there is naturally a reduced risk of illegitimate channel behaviour occurring.

Although the vendor claims this was not a stimulant for introducing the changes, Nauthoa insists Intel is a very process-driven company and there are "people in place to ensure the programme is being used for the reasons it is there."

PC assemblers in at least two Middle East countries got a chance to meet some of those people last year as Intel carried out audits inside the region, but the vendor moved to allay fears that illegitimate channel behaviour is prevalent in the Middle East.

"It's a given that in some point in time you could be audited," commented Nauthoa. "For us, it's just a sense check - it's a norm. The purpose is just simply to look into what our channel partners are doing. It was an education process for our partners and ourselves."

Meanwhile, Intel has said there is a vital role for the channel to play in its quest to bring technology to emerging markets. As the vendor deploys equipment to first-time IT users, such as schools in rural Egypt and Jordan, there is an opportunity for resellers to make money from Wi-Max deployment, software integration and training services.

Vasant Menghani, managing director at Intel partner Touchmate, which is targeting first-time PC users in the Middle East as part of Intel's initiative, said: "The hardware sales you make are just not enough. If you want to focus on hardware only, you cannot be a success. And you have to be physically there to offer these services. Although we're in Dubai we have partners in India, Jordan, Syria and we're actively targeting the education sector."

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