Intel Security has narrowed the number of partners in its Platinum tier after announcing an overhaul of its channel programme last year.
At last year's partner conference in Lisbon David Small, vice president of EMEA channel sales, announced a number of changes to the partner programme after finding that partner margins were not as strong as they should have been.
"We made a course correction to ensure that more margin survives," Small said. "We want to make sure that when we engage in opportunities we reward the effort that the partner makes, and if the partner finds the opportunity and brings it to us and we don't know about it, then clearly we want to give them a significant reward."
Intel Security has revamped its tier structure since the event in Lisbon, narrowing the number of top partners it works with to help them take advantage of the skills gap in the security sector.
Intel Security did not divulge how many Platinum partners have fallen away, but its partner locator currently lists 18 in the UK.
Small explained that this move has been partly driven by the skills shortage in the security sector, which has opened up an opportunity for its partners in the managed services space.
"We committed to our partners that we would work on a narrower number [of partners] that we would run directly, and that we would work more – and we're still in this process – as a business adviser to them," he said.
"There is a pretty significant shortage in the security industry which means for our customers that are trying to deal with increasingly challenging circumstances, it's becoming increasingly difficult to get people, and that creates a massive opportunity for our channel.
"Part of our job as the channel organisation supporting them is to help them develop those skills. One of the things that we are working on is providing them the same training and skills development that we provide to our own guys."
Andy Woolford, vice president of sales at Intel Security partner Herjavec, praised the new-found focus, as well as the work the vendor has done with its product portfolio and marketing.
"They've really knuckled down with their platinum partners and focused a lot more time and effort with those guys to deliver huge growth - we had about 33 per cent growth with Intel last year," Andy told CRN.
"With the products that have disappeared - firewalls, gateway products - they seem to have aligned the product portfolio very well and for once they've got a lot of good messaging around the marketing element to that.
"They've spend a lot of time and effort in marketing which is good for us as a partner because we don't have masses of a marketing ability behind us, so using those guys is great."
Channel announcements were fewer this year, with Small saying it's more a case of "evolution not revolution" at the moment.
He did say, however, that Intel Security is in the process of reducing the complexity of its programme.
"A lot of our programme has evolved over the years so there are pieces of it that don't actually make sense any more in the current market situation, so we want to reduce the complexity to make it easier to understand, and I think that we are a long way down that path already."
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