RealTime IT News

Intel Solutions, Your 'Trusted Advisor'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel is quietly and purposefully looking to change the IT landscape, one Fortune 500 company at a time, with a kinder, gentler approach to IT services.

Known more for its chip making than its systems solutions, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based firm is targeting only the biggest and the brightest industries such as health care, financial services, retail, government and manufacturing with its "Trusted Advisor" program in order to make sure there is still a long-term need for its products.

But don't expect Intel salespeople to come crashing at your door. Instead, company vice president Davies said the company is approaching CIO-level execs and taking on a "trusted advisor" role.

"You don't want a different sales person going in each quarter," Davies told internetnews.com. "You can't go and do a hard sell to get this customer's revenue. You could lose your trusted advisor status for five years. We have to honor that."

Similar to other top-tier companies, Davies said twice a year, executives are whisked away to secluded meeting places where they are wined, dined and counseled on the ways of Intel systems. The company often assembles several industry leaders at the same time from health care, financial services, retail, and manufacturing. The next meeting is scheduled for March in Washington DC.

"In some cases we'll have Philippine Telecom [PLDT] executives sitting next to ones from DoCoMo talking about their long-term visibility," Davies said.

It's not an area of Intel that gets a lot of press. But the company's Solutions group is seen as a growing force within the chip making giant's empire. So much so that Intel held an inaugural Solutions Conference coinciding with its traditional Developer Forum this past week. Davies and Intel vice president Will Swope wooed mostly non-developers with discussions on how new technologies and initiatives can help modernize an enterprise's practices.

"As organizations begin to re-invest in IT, mobility is the next big wave of computing that will bring competitive advantage through new business models and productivity improvements," Swope said during his keynote. "But applications need to be architected to take advantage of an occasionally connected computing environment, instead of being hampered by one."

For example, Davies and Swope highlighted how Intel coached healthcare giant McKesson Information Solutions to combine McKesson software with Intel Centrino mobile technology to improve services.

"We want to change the way people work and get into the program either as a partner or as a customer," Davies said. "The world is much more receptive compared to the last few years. We approach customers and tell them 'if you just mobilize the workforce, you can make more calls per day, but you have to invest a little capital. And more companies understand that. And we tell them they can get their money back in a year and a half."

But critical to the success of delivering on its solutions is the support of the software development community.

Intel said it is helping drive that transition through industry programs, such as the mobilized software initiative to help software developers architect their applications to more easily integrate mobile solutions into an enterprise infrastructure.

The company is also aiding software developers with their hardware charges through a number of software initiatives, such as driving the adoption of the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) as well as through its developer tools like compilers, performance analyzers, libraries and the Intel Platform Innovation Framework for EFI.