by Dylan Martin, CRN

Intel's move to merge its U.S. partner and enterprise sales teams under the leadership of longtime channel chief Jason Kimrey could give the chipmaker a much-needed boost for its commercial business, especially as it seeks to grow in multiple AI segments, partners told CRN.

Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at Fremont, Calif.-based IT distributor ASI, called the move "long overdue" and said the newly established unity between Intel's partner and enterprise sales teams—which went into effect last week—could help the company deliver a more cohesive message around its AI and software strategies to businesses.

"There definitely needs to be a lot of really good communication and coordination between all the levels of customers [including channel partners and end users] in order to convey those messages and values," said the distribution executive, who called Kimrey, most recently Intel's U.S. channel chief, a "great advocate for all of us in the channel."

The chipmaker exclusively revealed to CRN on Monday that it had appointed Kimrey to become vice president of the new North America commercial and partner sales group, which combined his U.S. channel scale and partners team with Intel's teams for large U.S. enterprise customers, U.S. communications service providers and Canadian customers and partners.

Top Partner Calls Kimrey The Right Person To Lead New Group

Bob Olwig, executive vice president of global partner alliances at St. Louis, Miss.-based World Wide Technology, said Kimrey is the right person to lead Intel's new commercial and partner sales group because his "ability to evangelize and articulate Intel's strategy across both end-user commercial customers as well as partners is pretty powerful."

"Jason is also a relationship person. He doesn't hesitate to get on a plane to go meet with partners or with customers," he said.

Like Tibbils, Olwig said he also believes the coupling of Intel's enterprise and partner sales teams could help partners like WWT encourage more businesses to adopt AI solutions.

Ranked No. 9 on CRN's 2023 Solution Provider 500 list, WWT has a long-standing strategic relationship with Intel, which has expanded in recent years to include co-investments in the channel partner's Advanced Technology Center.

Also known as the ATC, the center is now home to a multi-OEM AI testing environment called the AI Proving Ground, which houses systems powered by Intel's Gaudi AI chips and data center GPUs alongside other systems equipped with rival processors.

Olwig said Kimrey "is intimately involved and familiar with our partnership [and] the investments that Intel and World Wide are jointly making in the solutions in the ATC and AI Proving Ground."

As a result, the solution provider executive sees Kimrey as a key person who can continue to create alignment between Intel and WWT to accelerate his company's AI computing business.

"When he's out in front of his sales teams, he's helping articulate what World Wide and Intel's investments are in this AI Proving Ground, how we're helping customers evaluate AI, and frankly, implement it into production, which seems to be a bit elusive for some customers," Olwig said."We're going to be able to help accelerate the deployment of those use cases."

The WWT leader said he also sees the coupling of Intel's partner and enterprise teams benefiting the solution provider more broadly when it comes to their largest business customers.

"We have an initiative to ensure that Intel and World Wide are partnered, as best we can, on our largest enterprise accounts. And Jason's committed to making sure that he's pressing his teams to work with our enterprise teams in that kind of lockstep motion of working together to best serve our joint customers," Olwig said.



Read full article