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In the Zone

Intel is big in software – even if you didn’t know it!

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by Intel on 10/21/2021
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By Jason Kimrey

“We have to deliver the software capabilities, and then we have to empower it, accelerate it, make it more secure with hardware underneath it. And to me, this is the big bit flip that I need to drive at Intel.” — Pat Gelsinger, CEO, Intel

Articles featuring Intel’s software focus have been making headlines over the last few weeks, including this major CRN story featuring our CEO.

We’re also hosting the latest Intel ON virtual event on October 27-28. It’s an educational tech event focused on software and development.

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising. The roles that software and developers play in helping accelerate transformation are top-of-mind right now.

Intel’s software pedigree

In 2012 Forbes called Intel “The Biggest Software Company You’ve Never Heard Of.”

That statement is still so true. Intel is renowned for its hardware. But many people don’t know how deep our software roots run:

> More than 2 decades ago, Intel committed to open-source software development.

> Intel today employs more than 15,000 software engineers.

> There are a trillion lines of code optimized for Intel’s x86 chips.

> Intel has optimized more than 100 operating systems.

> Intel is the No. 1 contributor to the Linux kernel, a top 3 contributor to Chromium OS, and a top 10 contributor to OpenStack.

> Intel’s Open Source Technology Center is a repository for hundreds of open-source projects.

> The Intel developer ecosystem includes about 20 million developers. Millions of developers use Intel Software development tools and libraries.

Software unlocks innovation

It’s fair to say that software is at the heart of Intel’s solutions. Software helps us unleash hardware, and it also helps us realize the full benefits and performance of new hardware architectures.

At Intel, we see software that’s performant, open and productive. Software supports our drive to innovate across six pillars of technology development as the key to unleashing the power of data.

Also, we’ve built some amazing open-source solutions and toolkits to empower developers and accelerate solution development:

> OneAPI: A new, unified software programming model for CPU, GPU, AI and FPGA accelerators.

> OpenVino: A toolkit to facilitate faster inference of deep learning models to develop high-performance computer vision and deep learning solutions from device to the cloud.

> Lava: Addresses the need for a common framework for the neuromorphic research community. It’s an open-source software framework for developing neuro-inspired applications.

> Intel DevCloud: Our software sandbox for testing the latest tools and hardware.

And there’s more.

We recognize that by jointly designing, building and validating new products with software industry leaders, we can accelerate advancements. We can also ensure that software and hardware work better together.

Man with the plan

Pat Gelsinger rejoined Intel in January, becoming the company’s new CEO, and since then he’s forged a clear path. He has also underscored the need to adopt a software-first strategy, one that makes Intel the silicon platform of choice all the way from the edge to the cloud.

This strategy has an important component for Intel’s channel partners.

“We have to grow the partners. Some of those will be ISVs. Some of those will be SaaS providers as well,” Gelsinger told CRN. “Many of those skills need to become part of our channel partners’ repertoires as well, as they increase their cloud and SaaS capabilities and their software capabilities.”

John Kalvin, Intel’s global channel chief, adds: “[Gelsinger] is driving a broad recognition across Intel: If we win with software, then we’re going to make it easier for our ecosystem of partners to deliver solutions around Intel.”

Stop focusing on products

People buy solutions, not products. People focus on outcomes, not products.

As IT partners, we too need to focus on solutions, not products. And we need to make it easier for our customers to deploy those solutions in their environments.

For Intel, this means ensuring that our solutions, and the workloads that matter, are optimized to run best on our hardware. That needs to be the case whether a solution is on prem, at the edge or in the cloud.

The surge in as-a-service offerings supports the need for complete solutions. In response, our ecosystem partners have increased their focus on software and services.

That could mean expanding in-house software development capabilities to deliver a new “as-a-service” offering. Or it could mean looking to partner with a development team. Either way, Intel knows that open-source solutions, optimized to perform on Intel hardware, can help accelerate solution deployment — and perhaps open new revenue streams.

As Greg Lavender, Intel’s CTO, says: “We have to work with our partners to bring [those capabilities] forward in new ways that could create new business models. And there are possibilities for revenue-sharing.”

As long as our customers look to deploy increasingly complex solutions, then hardware, software and services will need work closely together to enable seamless edge-to-cloud solutions. That will be the key to continued innovation.

Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.

 

 

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In the Zone

Q&A: How TeraCloud fixes PCs faster with Intel vPro and Intel EMA

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by Intel on 09/07/2021
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Would you like to be able resolve PC hardware problems faster, cheaper and easier? TeraCloud Inc. is doing it.

The company, which offers managed IT services, including security and cloud, operates from 4 main offices: Dallas, Houston, Tampa and Tulsa. It’s also a Microsoft Gold partner.

Using Intel technology, TeraCloud has reduced the average time it needs to resolve a hardware problem by 77%. Cut the average time needed to achieve 95% patch saturation by 95%. And completely eliminated its customers’ average PC downtime from 15 minutes a month down to zero.

TeraCloud logo

To learn how TeraCloud made these improvements, we spoke recently with its president, Eric Long. Here are edited highlights from our conversation.

Eric Long, president of TeraCloud

Eric Long, president, TeraCloud

You’ve used the Intel vPro platform for its remote-management capabilities for a number of years. How does Intel Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel EMA) make things even better?

We’d dabbled with the Intel vPro platform before, but that was on an earlier version, before Intel had rolled out the Intel EMA. Now that we have Intel EMA, that’s definitely improved things. It’s much better than our last experience trying to configure and use the Intel vPro platform.

The reality today is that companies no longer have 500 users in a single location. Instead, they have 20 users here, 20 users there, plus employees working from home. For our clients, that’s been the norm for a while, even pre-COVID.

But if I can’t get to something remotely, I can’t activate it. Many of our Lenovo systems already have Intel Core vPro processors in them. In fact, I was surprised to see how many of them we had. Now we’ll start standardizing all our systems.

What are you doing to better reach the growing numbers of out-of-office workers?

If you can’t get to a computer, you can’t see what’s going on. And that’s where Intel EMA and Intel Active Management Technology are going to be incredibly helpful.

That’s the real value, especially with the work-from-anywhere situation that we’ve been facing this past year — and which I don’t really see changing anytime soon. Our Florida and Texas clients are back at work, but probably a third of the employees wanted to stay remote, and our clients allowed them to do that.

We’d already been enabling that for many years, so it wasn’t new to us. What was new, however, was the sheer headcount of people working from home.

One of our clients has a remote employee who lives in a forest in the Florida panhandle. We have major challenges reaching her because of connectivity. She had satellite for a while and finally got some higher bandwidth that seems to be working. But Intel EMA seems to use very low bandwidth. So if she was out of commission, we could at least get on her system and troubleshoot what was going on.

How did you improve hardware downtime by 77 percent?

Not having to roll a truck is a big deal for us. We’re supporting clients in many, many locations. Today, that means I’d have to hire a contractor to put their hands on a machine, or have the end user ship a machine, or have a hot standby ready to ship out to a client.

The Intel vPro platform will eliminate the need for all of that, unless the machine is simply dead. If you’re building an all-in managed services agreement and you’re including onsite time, the ROI would be huge if you didn’t have to dispatch somebody on an emergency. And these days, pretty much everything is an emergency for every client!

How about resolving patching issues and customer reboots?

Sometimes we have to patch systems manually because our RMM [remote monitoring and management] software just can’t grab the patches from the Microsoft site. With the Intel vPro platform, we’d be able to get to a machine, get to the BIOS, and get to the boot source.

When we completely standardize on Intel vPro platform-based PCs, using Intel EMA to turn systems on and off — especially those that are remote — and roll patches out there will be a great help.

You prefer Lenovo PCs. Why’s that?

Lenovo PCs and laptops have quality builds and solid units. Ruggedness and reliability are really important to both us and our clients. Lenovo does them well.

Learn more:
 

> Explore the Intel vPro platform

> Read the Intel EMA product brief

Learn how to provision Intel vPro systems within your current RMM tool

 

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In the Zone

Intel Architecture Day: The momentum is building

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by Intel on 08/24/2021
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By Jason Kimrey

Last week was an exciting one for Intel and our partners. At Intel Architecture Day, we built on our bold vision for a new generation of innovation and technology leadership.

If you didn’t take part in Intel Architecture Day 2021 last week — or missed the announcements — we detailed the biggest architectural shift in a generation for x86 central processing units (CPUs). These advances will pave the way for our next era of leadership products and these products will drive new business opportunities for the entire technology ecosystem.

At the event, Intel chief architect Raja Koduri shared the progress we’re making on our six pillars of technology innovation: software, security, interconnect, memory, XPU architecture, and process and packaging. This included a first in-depth view of Alder Lake, as well as exciting updates on Sapphire Rapids and Intel oneAPI.

So what does all this mean to you?

Path to Innovation

Architecture Day further demonstrates that Intel is making good progress on its innovation journey. We’re executing faster than ever before, which includes a renewed commitment to delivering leadership products across our portfolio for partners to enable their unique business needs.

Our execution engine is firing on all cylinders to deliver the reliable, secure and scalable products our partners need and expect from us. This means that over the next few years, our customers can count on Intel to deliver game-changing technologies and products needed to satisfy the crushing demand for more compute performance.

Looking ahead, these breakthrough announcements will deliver new capabilities in our client and data center products, as well as key initiatives to support interoperability across all platforms.

Client

In the client product category, Intel continues to make game-changing advances to ensure we’re building the best-performing processors on the planet.

With Alder Lake, we announced the first performance hybrid architecture, which integrates a Performance-core and an Efficient-core to provide significant performance across all workload types. This will provide partners with the world’s most scalable system-on-chip (SoC) architecture, Intel Thread Director Technology, and pioneering next generation memory with Gen 5. 

When Alder Lake becomes available by year’s end, it will deliver performance that scales to support all client segments, from ultra-portable laptops to enthusiast and commercial desktops.

We also announced a new discrete graphics microarchitecture, Xe-HPG, for gamers and creators. It’s been designed for scalability and enthusiast-class performance with a software-first approach. Products based on this microarchitecture will come to market in the first quarter of 2022 under the Intel Arc brand and Alchemist family of SoCs.

Data Center

Intel is also driving towards unrivaled performance leadership in the data center. Sapphire Rapids, the next generation of Intel Xeon Scalable processors, represents the industry’s biggest data-center platform advancement in over a decade.

The Sapphire Rapids processor delivers substantial compute performance across dynamic and increasingly demanding data-center usages. And it’s workload-optimized to deliver high performance on elastic compute models like cloud, microservices and artificial intelligence (AI).

We also shared more insight on the Infrastructure Processing Unit (IPU), which is designed to enable cloud and communication service providers to reduce overhead and free up performance for CPUs. This includes multiple new IPU architectures to address the complexity of diverse and dispersed data centers.

Last but not least, we provided additional detail on delivering a world-class graphics processing unit (GPU) for the data center. Code-named Ponte Vecchio, it’s based on the Xe-HPC microarchitecture and will deliver industry-leading FLOPs and compute density to accelerate AI, high performance computing (HPC) and advanced analytics workloads.

Intel disclosed details of the Xe-HPC microarchitecture. Among them: Xe-HPC’s initial silicon performance is providing greater than 45 TFLOPS FP32 throughput, greater than 5 TB/sec. memory fabric bandwidth, and greater than 2 TB/sec. connectivity bandwidth.

Interoperability

To enable our customers to fully unlock the performance capabilities delivered by these world-class products, Intel last week provided additional insight on Intel oneAPI. This is a universal programming language that makes it easier to unleash application performance across multiple CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs and other accelerators.

We shared several incredible demos of how OneAPI enable next-generation performance for partners today. If you need more information on how to access to these products, or are looking to incorporate them into your software planning, please view the Intel oneAPI mini-site.

To sum it up, Intel’s best days are in front of us. We have excellent products coming to market, and as we continue executing against our roadmap, you can expect to see and feel the momentum of Intel’s innovation and product leadership.

You can trust that we are laser-focused on realizing our mission to deliver the next generation of products you rely on. And you can expect us to drive business opportunities within the ecosystem.

At Intel, we also know that we can’t do it alone. We appreciate your confidence and trust in Intel as your innovation partner.

Personally, I am excited about the work happening here at Intel. I hope these new developments are another reason for you and our other global partners to look forward to the many ways you can rely on Intel to enable your business.

Jason Kimrey

Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.

 

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In the Zone

Q&A: How Logically manages PCs remotely with Intel vPro and Intel EMA

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by Intel on 08/12/2021
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Remote management has never been so important. With so many people now working from home, remote management has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have.

This change has brought Intel’s vPro platform with Intel Endpoint Management Assistant (Intel EMA) into focus.

The Intel vPro platform is built for business. It offers high-performing processors, built-in security, and remote manageability of devices that are out-of-band, on-prem or off-prem.

And Intel EMA software lets you remotely and securely manage devices beyond the firewall via the cloud on known Wi-Fi networks.

Faster is better

One company taking advantage of all this Intel tech is Logically Inc., a managed services provider (MSP) based in Portland, Maine. Founded 22 years ago, Logically today operates in 9 states across the U.S.

Using Intel technology, Logically has reduced the average time it needs to resolve a hardware problem by 66%. Cut the average time needed to achieve patch saturation by 95%. And reduced its customers’ average PC downtime from 9 minutes a month to just 2, a 78% reduction.

Logically logo

To learn more, we spoke recently with Logically’s chief security officer and co-founder, Mike Williams. Following are edited highlights from our interview.

Mike WIlliams, CSO and co-founder of Logically Inc.

Mike Williams, CSO and co-founder, Logically

You’ve used Intel vPro technology and its remote-management capabilities for a number of years. How does Intel Endpoint Management Assistant make things even better?

We like the Intel vPro platform, and we’ve used it quite a bit over the years. For us, the standalone cloud version of Intel EMA is going to be really powerful. As an MSP, we’re set up to support 1,500 clients.

By leveraging Intel EMA in the cloud, we can easily manage all 1,500 of those clients and not need an onsite proxy. Any time we can centrally manage in a multitenant environment and access all of our clients, that’s very powerful.

How does Intel technology help you to better reach the growing numbers of out-of-office workers?

Especially now with COVID, we have clients working remote from their offices and we couldn’t connect to them. Having that ability to get to their system would save our clients a lot of frustration and save us time.

Now with the Intel vPro platform and Intel EMA, we can get down to the BIOS level on a workstation, no matter where it’s located. We’re not terribly big into digital signage or IoT appliances, but being able to have that remote control from anywhere could be a definite advantage.

How did Intel technology help you reduce hardware downtime by 66%?

Within managed services we’re always looking for efficiency. Anytime we need to roll a truck, that means we need to pull a tech and we lose productivity. It costs exponentially more to go onsite, and it can make us less responsive to other customers.

With Intel EMA, we can get in there remotely and fix the problem in a much shorter time frame, and that leads to happier customers. If an onsite fix is only 10 minutes, but we spend 90 minutes on travel time, a tech can’t move onto the next 10-minute fix — and then we’ve also lost an opportunity to support more clients.

How about resolving patching and customer power-downs?

Security is a primary focus at Logically. One of the fundamental tasks is keeping systems up to date on patching. These patches need to be applied and completed within defined patch windows. Being able to power a system on and off is very helpful.

You work with Kaseya’s suite of management, security and backup software. What’s the advantage?

The quicker we solve something, the more profitable we are — and Kaseya helps us with that. We’ve been diligent in sticking with Kaseya, and they’ve been diligent sticking with us.

Kaseya understands not only where we are, but also where we’re going. And as we grow, they’ve been great supporting us with additional resources.

Learn more:

> Explore the Intel vPro platform

> Read the Intel EMA product brief

 

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In the Zone

Intel Accelerated event: Why it matters to you

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by Intel on 08/02/2021
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by Gina Merjanian

Earlier this year, Intel unveiled our bold vision for a new era of innovation and technology leadership. A big focus of the event was Intel’s new IDM 2.0 model, which is our strategy for driving manufacturing, innovation, and product leadership. In addition, our CEO, Pat Gelsinger, introduced Intel Foundry Services (IFS), our plan to become a major provider of foundry capacity and serve customers globally.

Last week, we built upon that vision at Intel Accelerated. During the event, Pat and Ann Kelleher, our head of technology development, shared one of the most detailed roadmap updates we have ever provided for process and packaging technologies in the history of the company.

Among the highlights, they unveiled our new node naming, shared our strong process roadmap through 2025, and introduced the world to Intel 7. These announcements are meant to provide you — our trusted customers and partners — with clarity, transparency and insight into our future products and technology.

I would like to take a minute to unpack these three key announcements.

New Node Naming

To provide you with better clarity, Intel will be renaming its process nodes to better align with the technology industry. Previously used node names (e.g., 7nm) no longer represented an actual distance or feature in the silicon, and instead became more of a marketing tool. Intel will rename its process nodes to remove both the distance reference (“nm”) as well as to realign with the industry approach. The new naming will serve as a consistent framework and more accurate view of process nodes for the industry as we enter the Angstrom era of semiconductors.

If you’re wondering why now, allow me to explain. As we transition our corporate business strategy to IDM 2.0, it became increasingly clear that our IFS goals needed a node name change to help customers fairly compare Intel silicon offerings to other foundries. After careful analysis to align with the industry approach, we were ready to introduce you to the new Intel node naming.

Intel processor roadmap

Strong process roadmap through 2025

You expect an annual cadence of products from us, and we are going to deliver. We are moving faster and more efficiently than ever before to deliver high-performing products, leveraging all the goodness we bring to the table — packaging, manufacturing and design. In the boldest way yet, Pat outlined our process technology roadmap out to 2025, where we expect to regain performance leadership based on industry-first technology like PowerVia and our RibbonFET transistor architecture. It was one of the most detailed roadmap updates we have ever provided spanning process and packaging technologies.

This enhanced performance and a renewed focus on innovation is already coming to life with 10nm now in high-volume production and Intel 7 set to deliver 10% to 15% performance per watt gain. As our partners, you can have confidence that we are already looking ahead at what our next milestone needs to be to help you meet yours.

Intel processor technology innovations

Powered by new packaging and manufacturing, we have a whole host of new solutions and products headed to market. This includes Intel 7 featured on Alder Lake and Sapphire Rapids with approximately 10% to15% process performance per watt gain and enhancements to the transistor.

This incredible performance leap is made possible by Intel 7 through amazing innovations. These include using increased strain and more low-resistance materials to move electrons through the channel faster, utilizing novel high-density patterning techniques and streamlined structures to deliver better energy control, and enabling improved power delivery and better routing with higher metal stack.

We will begin shipping products on Intel 7 later this year, with the Alder Lake client family rollout set to start in 2021 and production of Sapphire Rapids for the data center in the first quarter of 2022. We already have many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) partners developing and in the design phase, many of which will be timed with launch. We will enable the entire ecosystem — from distributors to managed service providers (MSPs) as well as enterprises around the U.S. — to achieve even more with these innovations.

Intel 7

To sum it up, we’re accelerating our innovation and reinvigorating our execution engine to deliver the product and technology leadership you need and expect from us. We have put a concerted focus on schedule reliability throughout our development process and are moving to a predictable annual cadence of new process technology capabilities.

Thank you for being on this journey with us as we continue to find new ways to innovate. I hope this clear and consistent node naming system makes it easier for you to understand the technology that powers the products you know and love and that our clear path to process performance means you can continue to rely on us as your trusted innovation partner.

We are innovating and pushing forward not as one Intel, but as one ecosystem of partners and providers. Our quest to deliver the next generation of products you need from us is why we are reinvigorated and making bold declarations like those you heard last week.

Gina Merjanian

Gina Merjanian is general manager of U.S. inside sales at Intel.

 

 

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In the Zone

Top IT market insights for partners

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by Intel on 07/01/2021
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By Jason Kimrey

I had a different introduction to this news update, but updated as I started seeing increasing news about internet outages impacting airlines and banks. This is on the heels of major websites around the world displaying 503 errors when “the internet broke.” This latest news is another reminder of just how important cloud computing has become.

According to IDC’s semi-annual cloud service tracker, the cloud services market grew 24.1% in 2020 and is expected to continue to show strong growth through the coming years. If you didn’t catch IDC’s semi-annual tracker presentation, it’s worth taking in the replay — there’s a lot of good data and commentary about the importance of resiliency, including support for remote work.

The pandemic removed barriers or resistance to remote work, and I don’t think we’re going back to the old ways. Reports out of the White House indicate remote work is being endorsed for U.S. government workers — a move that will undoubtedly have a ripple effect. Forrester is reporting 70% of U.S. companies will pivot to a hybrid work model post-pandemic.

If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at David Allen’s piece on the new way of working and the tools your team needs for success.

But it’s not all good news on the remote-work front. Gartner is reporting workforce health has been adversely impacted. This is something we, as leaders, need to be aware of and address within our teams.

In other news highlights:

Accounting Firms Invest in Tech: PWC plans to invest $12 billion and hire 100,000 new people in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity by 2026.

Bright Outlook for IT Jobs: We’re seeing good news on the job front. U.S. IT jobs at the end of May were higher than before the pandemic hit, and salaries are rising.

PC Shipments Surge: The PC market continues to surge with expected growth of 18% in 2021. Research, though, is pointing to a growth drop in 2022.

Citizen Developers Are Here to Stay: By 2024, 80% of technology products and services will be built by those who are not technology professionals, predicts Gartner.

Expanding Demand for Storage: Solid growth is forecast for both hard-disk and solid-state drive markets to meet demand for storage.

What CIOs are Thinking: Although I try to avoid sharing gated content, this IDC roadmap shares insights from discussions with CIOs — and their priorities, the pressures they face to make up for lost time, and the push to reinvent IT. It’s worth a read.

Technology Challenges to Follow: Amid all the positive news about the economy, there are challenges facing IT. This CompTIA piece does an exceptional job highlighting the challenges we are facing as an industry including cybersecurity, privacy, skills gaps, supporting remote work, the impact of services and solutions and much more.

Top Supply-Chain Themes: With so many interconnected businesses, supply chain remains a top focus. Gartner looks at the top themes for 2021 including hyper-automation, digital twins, edge ecosystems and security.

Software-Defined Infrastructure Growing: The market reached $12.17 billion in 2020, an increase of 5% over the previous year, according to IDC.

AR’s Growing Importance: Nearly three-quarters of consumers expect augmented reality to be even more important in their lives in the next 5 years, according to Deloitte.

Small Wide Data Trend: By 2025, 70% of organizations will shift their focus from big to small and wide data, providing more context for analytics and making AI less data-hungry. It is also a reflection on how quickly data can become obsolete.

Cybersecurity & ransomware headlines

Once again, we’re seeing more and more reports of ransomware attacks and major security breaches.

On the good-news front, the U.S. federal government was able to track and recover a majority of the $4.3 million of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline to Darkside hackers.

New threats, technologies and business models are emerging because of increasing threats. See CRN’s top cybersecurity trends to watch.

CSO is reminding us that data breaches can’t be viewed in isolation. The stolen data doesn’t live in a silo so breach impacts could be more far-reaching.

Merger and IPO action continues

By 2022 mergers and acquisition activity involving technology providers will surpass previous highs, according the Gartner. We’re seeing evidence of these mergers all the time, including:

Private-equity firms Bain Capital and Crosspoint Capital purchased network-detection and response firm ExtraHop for $900 million.

Delioitte has acquired CloudQuest, a cloud security posture management company.

Microsoft is buying IoT’s ReFirm Labs to enhance its firmware analysis and security capabilities from servers to IoT.

IBM is buying Turbonomic’s AI-powered application resource management software for a reported $1.52 million.

CIO’s report of the biggest enterprise technology M&A deals is a great summary.

Softchoice successfully completed its IPO on the Toronto Stock Exchange, with 17.5 million common shares sold for gross proceeds of about $249 million. It’s positioning itself as Microsoft’s largest cloud-deployment partner.

Sales and marketing to tech decision-makers

As a follow-on to my last blog about the changing routes to market, these research findings are showing how marketing and sales strategies are shifting.

Buying scenarios are getting more complex. Forrester reports more than 80% of purchases involve complex buying scenarios, and 75% of B2B marketing efforts now focus on customer retention and enrichment activities.

Gartner suggests digital experiences aren’t having the impact on purchasing decisions we think. Nearly 60% of customers say it doesn’t impact buying, and more than half say they can’t tell the different between brands’ digital experiences. The article also offers key lessons. This research could be seen as running contrary to the AR research released by Deloitte mentioned above.

IDG’s 2021 customer-engagement research finds 90% of IT decision-makers struggle to get enough high-quality information on IT products.

One of the most interesting elements of this study was: When considering a new technology from an emerging vendor, tech decision-makers would like the vendor to provide case studies/proof of concept (cited by 51%), show evidence that the product/service stands out from the competition and provide direct comparisons (48%), and offer reassurance/proof that the new product easily integrates with existing technology (49%).

Companies that focused on customer experience and engaged empathetically with customers during the pandemic built goodwill and outperformed the competition, according to Forrester’s U.S. Customer Experience Index, 2021.

Gartner predicts net promotor scores will be abandoned by 2025 as companies move to customer-experience metrics.

That’s all for this round of market insights. There can be no doubt that change is continuing a rapid pace. I hope this helps to keep you in the loop of changing market conditions and trends.

Jason Kimrey

Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.

 

 

 

The indispensable source for professionals who create, implement and service technology solutions for entrepreneurs to enterprise.

In the Zone

Intel reorgs to strengthen execution, innovation in critical business areas

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by Intel on 06/24/2021
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Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger this week announced the addition of two new technology leaders to its executive leadership team, as well as several changes to Intel business units.

Current Intel executives Sandra Rivera and Raja Koduri will each take on new senior leadership roles, and technology industry veterans Nick McKeown and Greg Lavender will join the company.

“Since re-joining Intel, I have been impressed with the depth of talent and incredible innovation throughout the company, but we must move faster to fulfill our ambitions,” said Gelsinger. “By putting Sandra, Raja, Nick and Greg – with their decades of technology expertise – at the forefront of some of our most essential work, we will sharpen our focus and execution, accelerate innovation, and unleash the deep well of talent across the company.”

As part of these changes, Intel’s Data Platform Group (DPG) will be restructured into two new business units.

Sandra Rivera will take on a new role as executive vice president and general manager of Datacenter and AI. Rivera will lead this organization’s focus on developing leadership data center products for a cloud-based world, including Intel Xeon and field programmable gate array (FPGA) products. She will also drive the company’s overall artificial intelligence (AI) strategy. Rivera has a deep history in data center technology and a track record of integrating Intel’s silicon and software portfolios to drive customer value. Prior to her role serving as Intel’s chief people officer, she led Intel’s Network Platforms Group.

Nick McKeown will join Intel full-time on July 6 as senior vice president and general manager of a new Network and Edge Group. This brings Intel’s Network Platforms Group, Internet of Things Group and Connectivity Group into a single business unit chartered to drive technology and product leadership throughout the network to the intelligent edge. Renown in the networking technology industry and recipient of the 2021 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, McKeown was previously a part-time Intel Senior Fellow who joined the company with its 2019 acquisition of Barefoot Networks, which he co-founded.

Intel will also create two new business units, one focused on software and one on high performance computing (HPC) and graphics.

Greg Lavender has joined Intel as chief technology officer (CTO) and senior vice president and general manager of the new Software and Advanced Technology Group. This group will drive Intel’s unified vision for software, ensuring it remains a powerful competitive differentiator for the company. As CTO, Lavender will also be responsible for driving Intel’s technical innovation and research programs, including Intel Labs. He brings more than 35 years of experience in software and hardware product engineering and advanced research and development to Intel, most recently serving as senior vice president and CTO of VMware. He has also held key leadership roles at Citigroup, Cisco and Sun Microsystems.

Raja Koduri, a well-known innovator in GPU computing technology, will lead the Accelerated Computing Systems and Graphics Group, a newly formed business unit that will increase the company’s focus in the key growth areas of high performance computing and graphics. AXG is chartered with delivering HPC and graphics solutions for integrated and discrete segments across client, enterprise and data center. Koduri previously served as Intel’s general manager of Architecture, Graphics and Software.

Rivera, McKeown, Lavender and Koduri will all report directly to Pat Gelsinger.

Navin Shenoy, who has been serving as executive vice president and general manager of the Data Platforms Group, will assist with the transition and leave Intel on July 6. The company is grateful to Shenoy for his 26 years of service, including his contributions as leader of DPG, as well as his previous leadership of the Client Computing Group and Intel Asia Pacific.

 

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In the Zone

7 new trends for ‘extreme partnerships’ — and how to adapt to them now

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by Intel on 06/10/2021
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By Jason Kimrey

One side effect of accelerating the digital economy is significantly impacting the way companies do business: It’s bringing more people and companies together.

At last month’s Intel Partner Connect virtual event, John Kalvin, my colleague and new Intel global channel chief, talked about “extreme partnerships.” That’s a great description for the connections needed to deliver these complex solutions.

As we navigate new routes to market and a world of extreme partnerships, we must change our traditional views of partnerships, forge new ones, and recognize the changing landscape IT decision-makers now face. It also requires a new approach to selling — and new skills to help navigate and build new routes to market.

Here are 7 trends for extreme partnership:

Trend #1: Complexity is here to stay

I’ve said it before: Today’s solutions are much more complex, with many moving parts. No one company can do it all.

How to adapt: As the pace of transformation continues to accelerate, the only way to keep up is by bringing together best-of-breed companies. Together, they can deliver a complete solution and the best outcomes.

For our customers, it’s all about business outcomes, and that’s how we need to align our partnerships and solutions. This means bringing the right parties to the table.

We also need mechanisms for these diverse partners to connect and scale solutions. It's a key reason why we launched Intel Solutions Marketplace. It’s a platform to bring partners together in a more frictionless environment.

Trend #2: New collaborations are coming

Related to the complexity of the new solutions is the fact there are a lot of new companies coming into our ecosystem … both as new businesses that emerge to respond to market demands, as well as legacy partners who are adding new solutions to their portfolio.

How to adapt: Collaborative approaches to selling require strong communications, an ability to acknowledge you don’t know everything, and a willingness to defer to those with the greatest expertise.

For example, we’re seeing companies that are born in the cloud and have never lived in an on-premises world. By bringing our infrastructure knowledge and understanding of the value of optimized compute together with their cloud-first model, we can deliver the deep knowledge that end-user customers need to navigate the many cloud worlds.

At the same time we’re seeing companies with deep vertical knowledge. For example, industrial manufacturing companies that know manufacturing processes and workloads in an analog way, but need help with the technology capabilities. And no one knows compute better than we do!

Trend #3: Think service

XaaS is continuing to expand into new areas. Businesses are looking for help to rapidly deploy systems and manage capital expenses, all while leveraging the advantages of cloud solutions.

How to adapt: More and more vendors are selling their product as a service rather than a stand-alone system. That means rethinking how we work together, compensate and support each other.

We need to ensure that partner programs support the shift to a services-led model versus a more traditional procurement model. It also requires a change in the way we approach the sale. Services can be less tangible, and this requires a shift in how we position and talk to the advantages, ROI and outcomes.

Trend #4: Sales structures need to change

The breadth of technology becoming mainstream continues to grow, now including AI, HPC and IoT/Edge. But these technologies require specialized expertise and skills. In this environment, your existing team structure might not fit anymore.

How to adapt: Don’t get stuck in a rut. Be willing to create specialized focus areas that can dig deep and offer that expansive knowledge and expertise.

Sticking with your internal structures could be detrimental to delivering these new and advanced solutions. Stay nimble and stand up new teams as needed to support emerging market segments. I know I have.

Trend #5: Effective marketing tactics are shifting

When we moved from in-person to virtual, customer interactions abruptly changed. To adapt, we also needed to pivot our sales motions. Even as we return to the workplace, some of those changes will remain.

How to adapt: Just because we can return to pre-pandemic sales motions doesn’t mean we should. Consultants McKinsey & Co. find that 70% to 80% of B2B decision-makers prefer remote human interactions or digital self-service, and they find remote and online sales just as effective as in-person interactions. I suggest we take a best-of-both=worlds approach as we continue to navigate the post-pandemic world.

So what’s working? Well, virtually all (96%) buyers are looking for content that speaks to their industry. Nearly as many (91%) buyers want easy access to content without long forms, and 92% of buyers say their choice of vendor is influenced by an extensive menu of thought-leadership content.

But remember, customers are doing more research than ever before. The average B2B tech buyer today consults about 7 information sources before making a purchase. That’s up 35% over last year. So we need to provide the information they want in a self-service world.

What are the top sources of information? Top sources remain demos, vendor/product websites, user reviews and vendor reps.

Also, don’t overlook the importance of the customer experience. Over 40% of businesses cite poor customer service as the reason they look to change vendors, which is up from only 10% in 2019. Just because we’re virtual, you can’t drop the ball on service.

Trend #6: Buying decisions get bigger, take more time

Decision-making committees are getting bigger, and they will continue to include both IT professionals and line-of-business reps. Nearly a third (30%) of IT decision-makers expect the average number of IT people involved in decisions to increase; the line-of-business influence is expected to remain steady. Another survey finds that more than half (56%) of B2B tech buyers work outside IT.

How to adapt: Remember, when presenting a solution, you’re selling to both highly technical and non-technical audiences. Recognize that each of these audiences will have different questions and priorities. Ensure that you’re addressing both groups. And be prepared to include education from a trusted advisor, so your customers can make informed decisions.

Trend #7: Sales cycles get longer, too

More than two-thirds (68%) of buyers say the length of their B2B purchase cycle, compared with that of just a year ago, has increased significantly. Clearly, buyers are spending more time researching their purchases.

How to adapt: Your sales models need to respond to this extended review period. Don’t lose sight of leads just because they’re taking longer to close. Continue to be creative to stay top-of-mind during the sales journey — no matter how long it takes.

Navigating the route ahead

Lots of companies, including Intel, are talking about new routes to market and the need to understand who is driving decision-making around technology consumption and purchasing.

The pace of digital transformation means that technology companies and their partners must change the way we produce, sell and support solutions.

While change is a certainty in technology, so is the critical importance of forging partnerships. As we travel these new and winding routes to market, the best and most innovative solutions will be driven by those who embrace extreme partnerships.

Jason Kimrey is general manager of U.S. channel and partner programs at Intel.

 

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In the Zone

Deloitte joins Intel partner program as a Titanium partner

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by Intel on 05/13/2021
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The strategic alliance between Intel and Deloitte will accelerate the digital transformation of both public-sector and enterprise customers with a twofold focus:

> Fast-tracking the journey to cloud and hybrid cloud environments for the most critical workloads

> Shaping the technology inflections driving industry disruption, including AI, 5G and the Intelligent Edge

The alliance leverages Deloitte’s depth and breadth of consulting and advisory services including its cloud, SAP, Oracle, cyber, AI, 5G and IoT practices. The alliance also benefits from Intel’s technology portfolio, including the latest 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors.

Deloitte will leverage Intel technology to position clients to transform, migrate and modernize their critical business processes.

Transforming capabilities

“With the launch of the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, we’re able to offer clients greater capabilities in the world of increasing digital transformation,” says John Ciacchella, lead principal for Intel at Deloitte.

He adds: “We have a strong foundation in place through our previous joint offerings with Intel and with enhanced security, increased memory for data center intensive workloads and optimized for faster deployment, the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable platform will allow enterprise and government clients to take a leap forward in data center agility.”

Greg Ernst, VP and GM of U.S. sales at Intel, says: “With Deloitte’s consulting and advisory practices, clients receive their specialized business and technology transformation expertise for strategy, operating model, cloud migration, process modernization, and managed services, to accelerate insights and improve business results.”

Ernst adds: “As an Intel Titanium partner, Deloitte now has access to training and technical support for Intel’s portfolio of technologies including the latest 3rd Gen Xeon Scalable processor built to serve all workloads from the edge to the network and the cloud.”

Joint offerings

Intel and Deloitte have already launched joint offerings for 2 markets:

> Hybrid cloud: Deloitte and Intel have collaborated on the $1+ billion market opportunity to help federal clients migrate to hybrid-cloud solutions powered by Intel technologies. 

The two companies have built reference architectures and proof-of-concepts that illustrate the benefits of Deloitte’s Integrated Multi-Cloud Management solution, which features Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane persistent memory.

The partnership is built on Deloitte’s deep experience serving government, public sector and public agency clients. It also takes advantage of the Intel processor-powered Deloitte Hybrid Cloud and adjacent AI and IoT solutions.

> SAP S/4HANA: Deloitte is SAP’s leading go-to-market partner. Now Deloitte is teaming with Intel to capture client migrations to SAP S/4HANA. 

The alliance has deployed Deloitte’s industry-leading SAP preconfigured industry solutions (DLeaPs) on Deloitte-hosted cloud solutions, which feature Intel Xeon Scalable processors and Intel Optane persistent memory.

Also, the team has installed Deloitte’s preconfigured S/4HANA solution on Intel processors for premier cloud providers that include Google Cloud, AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Together, Deloitte and Intel have tested industry use cases to create joint value propositions. These quantify the benefits of increasing in-memory database capacity; drastically reducing the cost of ownership, whether on premises or in the cloud; and maximizing the value of SAP S/4HANA.

 

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In the Zone

Learn how to help your edtech customers tap into the massive American Rescue Plan

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by Intel on 05/03/2021
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The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) signed by President Biden on March 11 provides a crucial windfall for state departments of education and school districts, especially those that have been affected by expenses and lost funds due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan provides more than $120 billion in education dollars to relieve those most impacted, including lower socioeconomic and minority populations.

Ready to take part? A new course in Intel Partner University can help. Called The American Rescue Plan Act: What’s in the Legislation for U.S. Education / Expert Overview, this course takes 20 minutes to complete, and it’s worth 5 training credits.

In this Intel Partner University course, you’ll learn about the newly enacted American Rescue Plan Act and how these funds can be used to help both K-12 schools and higher education.

The course is based on interviews with Jon Bernstein, president and founder of Bernstein Strategy Group, a government-relations consulting and lobbying firm. You’ll learn how your clients and prospects can best use these funds to further their education technology needs and goals. 

What you’ll learn

Here’s more detail on what you’ll learn from this Intel Partner University course:

> Learn about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) signed by President Biden in March 2021 to support state departments of education and school districts financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

> Explore how the over $120 billion set aside for education helps to support those most impacted, including lower socioeconomic and minority populations.

> Understand the concept of “learning loss” — and how the ARP’s funds are intended to be used so that you can help your clients and prospects navigate their education technology needs and options. 

Take this Intel Partner University course: The American Rescue Plan Act: What's in the Legislation for U.S. Education.

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