Tuesday 27 February 2007

System Builder Tip: Register as an Intel Partner, Buy from the Big 3 or 4 = Associate Member with benefits

We are a part of the Intel Channel Partner Program at the Associate Member Level.

From what I understand, our 2007 stickers will be out to us sometime in March.

Why the plug for Intel and their Channel Program? Because the support we receive from the Channel is second to none. Intel's channel support is the one big reason we don't do AMD in our servers.

Another big reason is, we have one point of contact for close to all points of failure on a server product short of storage and memory. We don't need to deal with different manufacturers and their individual RMA processes, or different suppliers and theirs. That kind of mixed up RMA process is a serious waste of time which means lost profit.

We receive excellent 24x7 toll free support for all aspects of our Intel servers. There are many times where calling into the support help line, a fresh set of eyes, ears, and mind has brought about a resolution to a problem that we were having. Or, the technician we were speaking to confirmed what we had already concluded about the errant part or parts.

Intel Warranty Service for Associate Members and above can Advance Swap a bad server board, backplane, or other server component with the replacement part usually arriving the next morning.

This is especially important I find for us smaller companies. We can keep stock on warranty replacement parts for the server products we sell, but in limited quantities. The advanced swap setup allows us to do that.

And, there is one aspect of this support that I find crucial to our being prepared to sell the right product to our client. When we go through a significant technology change, we can call in and work through the new system configuration needs with the Intel support technician.

Over the years, I have been burned a few times putting together a system quote where one part was not compatible, or refused to work with, another part in the system. This is not so common today, but I find that it is very helpful to have the option to call and confirm.

We did it with our first S5000PSL based server last fall, and again with our first S3000AH based server just before Christmas. Investing the 15 or 30 minutes on the phone with Intel can save a whole bunch of headaches in the future!

System Builder Dollar Saver Tip: The Big 3 or 4 distributors tend to charge a hefty "admin" fee to recieve your application to purchase from them. Do the following to save yourself that money:

  • Register with the Intel Channel Partner Program and become a registered level member.
  • Attend one of Intel's Channel conferences in a city near you.
  • The Big 3 or 4 Distributors are bound to have tables there, and they usually have a wiaver for their fees if you sign up there.
  • Make sure that once you are registered with them, that you speak with the appropriate department to verify that they know you are Intel Registered.
  • Purchase the appropriate amount of Intel Server Product to elevate your membership level to Associate.

The amount to purchase to raise your membership level works out to be one dual Xeon 5000 series server, or a couple of Xeon 3000 series servers depending on configurations.

It is well worth your time IMNSHO! :D

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists

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