Limited Time Offer
Up to $20K in incentives for AWS partners. Request Details
Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 177

June 23, 2023

#177 Paul Dumke: Building a Resilient Semiconductor Ecosystem: Intel’s Strategies for Collaboration

In this Ecosystem Aces Podcast episode, Chip Rodgers, CPO WorkSpan is joined by Paul Dumke, Sr. Director, Ecosystem Strategy and Operations, Intel.

In this Ecosystem Aces Podcast episode, Chip Rodgers, Chief Partner Officer, WorkSpan is joined by Paul Dumke, Sr. Director, Ecosystem Strategy and Operations, Intel.

Paul is an experienced sales and ecosystem strategy leader with over 25 years of experience at Intel Corporation.Throughout his career, he has held key roles in sales, strategy, and leadership. Paul's achievements include co-developing the marketing plan for the world's first multi-level cell flash memory, securing strategic deals with major companies, and driving substantial sales growth. 

As the current Sr. Director of Ecosystem Strategy and Operations, Paul continues to excel in leading strategic initiatives and fostering valuable partnerships. Paul's exceptional leadership and revenue growth make him a respected and influential professional in the industry.

He is also a member of Intel’s Disability Leadership Council. The council is committed to accelerating disability inclusion and access for all.

Topics covered include:

  • Why is ecosystem coordination vital in Intel's shared roadmap collaboration - 8:47
  • How does Intel collaborate with partners to operationalize go-to-market strategies - 18:07
  • How to motivate partners to be more partner friendly - 23:53
  • Paul’s advice for working effectively with Partners - 26:29

Chip Rodgers  00:08

Hey, welcome back. Welcome to another episode of the Ecosystem Aces. I'm Chip Rodgers CMO at WorkSpan and excited today to be talking to Paul Dumke. Paul is a veteran at Intel, 25 years at Intel.

You've had a lot of different roles over that time. I suppose that's true with any large company, I was at SAP for a long time and had a number of different roles that I played as well.

And you're going back to the days of working with Acer and Asus, and some of the laptop and desktop providers, but now you're running ecosystems as senior director, ecosystem strategy and operations at Intel. I really want to hear more about what that's all about. And looking forward to our conversation. So Paul, welcome.

Paul Dumke  01:19

Thanks for inviting me. I'm happy to be here and happy to share.

Chip Rodgers  01:23

Tell us a little bit about what you and your team are up to? What does Ecosystem strategy and operations mean?

Paul Dumke  01:35

Our team is kind of newly formed. And it's really just born out of what happened during the chip shortages a couple years ago. And kind of this acknowledgment that we had a little bit of a gap, and we didn't realize it, until we're in the throes of everything. And that came from just making sure that we had a good partnership with our component vendors who are on our platforms. 

So from that kind of bore other things that we saw that we could be, we could be doing better as a company. And that kind of got to me, my team and what we do, and that's really to enable our ecosystem supply chain to support our growth strategy. So kind of think about where as you have the company's supply chain ecosystem, we think they're kind of doing internally focusing on their supply chain, what I'm looking at is the external side of it. 

So the ecosystem supply chain, or the supply chain of our customers and our partners, and what are some of the challenges that they're facing that we, as a company, were able to address what we did internally, how we can take those resources, those strategies, those relationships, and bring them to bear with our customers and partners. Because as we know, during the shortages we all faced, and Intel was not the only one in this, those customers and partners issues affected our business and our ability to ship and sell our products. So seeing that now and understanding what we can do is what we've been working on developing a lot of strategies and tools to trust.

Chip Rodgers  03:06

That was a really big challenge at the time. So it's interesting that Intel is taking on this initiative to try and solve it next time. Hopefully, there isn't another time. But that's been tough. And I suppose, we're all still working our way out of it. But it impacted what we heard about, the car market, and other other sort of downstream effects. 

What have you had, I'm sure Intel went through like a root cause analysis like how, what is it that happened? How will your team try and mitigate those challenges next time?

Paul Dumke  03:57

It starts with the acknowledgement that we're an ingredient company. So we are really dependent upon our partners to bring our products to market. And we've known this for a very, very long time. And the idea of partnership is not new at Intel, we've been doing this for a very long time. We have a lot of work we've done to develop programs on this, the Intel partner alliance is as the current name of it, it's a huge program, very well established that supports partners in various different forms. 

So it's not like we didn't know how to do this. Like in a big company. You still have scarce resources, so you deploy those resources. And sometimes when there's an issue and you re evaluate and go, Well, where do I have to shift things to so we kind of saw that issue and we said, well, we can leverage some of our culture of partnership using our resources over here. And in doing that, what we saw was, well, we have the component partners, the ones that are on our platforms that we we've had a very deep Each engineer relationship with for many, many decades, what we acknowledged was our founding acknowledges we didn't have the depth of a business partnership with them to really say, well, they're producing components like we are. They have some of the same constraints that we have. But they rely on us. 

So we need to not just enable them from a technology perspective, which we've done for decades, but also from a business perspective. So they're dependent upon us, we're dependent upon them. And understanding that transcends your business relationship to on well, planning wise, what's the product transitions, or even Market Outlook, ., because of our size, we have the ability to bring a lot of different parts of the market categories. And so we have a pretty good sense of what's going on. And so that can be value, we add to those partners to say, Hey, this is what we're seeing. 

So there can be third party reports and what not, we can take some of our knowledge, and bring that to them and help them plan better as a trusted adviser, and as a business partner on the platform with us. So it's kind of peeling back the onion going that high level, that business relationship, and then going, what are some specific areas in that, that we can really support them, using our cultural partnership, using our existing resources? Or, starting new things and doing new things based on the kind of what they hear we hear as they're painful?

Chip Rodgers  06:29

That's really interesting. You're actually helping your ecosystem partners and component providers. Give them more visibility, more of forward looking into what Intel is seeing and where the roadmap is, the roadmap you have, and helping them do their better planning as well.

Paul Dumke  06:58

Exactly. We have in our partner Alliance program, there's a partner journey that all the different category types go through. This would be system integrators, even software developers. So it's mapping Now, what does that journey look like for this type of partner, and again, we know who they are, work with them. 

But it's making sure that that journey has all the aspects of it. It's great to have this podcast, because it's drawing attention to the fact that businesses are ecosystems where they think of it from a biological sense, their symbiotic relationships. So sometimes you don't know how dependent you are on someone, until there's an issue that really, that affected us.

And again, it was not because it was ignored, it just wasn't focused on. So when you have these issues come up, you recognize there is that relationship that's necessary. In our culture of Intel, being engineers, it's our problem solution. So we have this problem, what's the solution? So it's going through that culture of partnership? And really, what does that journey look like? 

Well, we have a lot of pieces today, but what pieces were missing that caused this to happen? And then how do you prevent that in the future, to your point on shortages, there could be again demand is going to come back, it's going to continue to grow. Who knows what's gonna happen on supply? Who knows what's going to happen with global situations, external shocks. So the more you can map that out and identify those ills, parts of your journey, not just engineering, technical wise, but the business side of it, and then apply some solutions to that. That's kind of what we're on track to do.

Why is ecosystem coordination vital in Intel's shared roadmap collaboration

Chip Rodgers  08:47

That's amazing. And really interesting, getting into the mechanics of working with partners in that way. Paul, maybe you could talk a little bit about what does that process look like, as you're working with partners, putting your roadmap together, you have, in a way a shared roadmap of product capabilities and features that are that are going to be coming where you want to roll something out to and and we could talk about both sides of the component pieces that might go into the overall, hardware solution, but then also the ISVs as well that are building on top of that capabilities that they need in order to build new software to really roll something out.

Maybe you could talk a little bit about those two aspects of things. It gets very complicated very quickly. Because, as you said, it's an ecosystem. It's not just one company, so you have to coordinate on all sides.

Paul Dumke  10:04

It starts with, it's kind of you said that we're downstream upstream. And  what's unique for us and other companies is probably to where you are your link in the chain. So you have to look upstream and downstream from you and go, Well, what are my key dependencies? So the process is to have that acknowledgement, that awareness to be able to look up and down from where you're at in your point.

And identify those key dependencies, interdependencies and say, which are the ones we're gonna focus on, day to day use scarce resources, and the more you have that awareness, and I've seen it, it just unleashes all this somewhat. It's almost like a never ending kind of chain of, well, there's this, at some point it's hard to affect change, the further you are away from your epicenter. 

What does success look like here? Think of it in terms of product, what's your minimum viable product, so what's going to be the point with which I feel if I've done that 80-20 rule, that's probably a good starting point, then we can go from what I've seen is more you jump in here, and you shine a light, and in  all these corners, there's all these spaces, but I just can't go everywhere. So it's being aware of what we are going to do? What are we not going to do? In our process in this journey, and talk about you're gonna find all these things. It's then saying, well, systematically, what are we going to tackle today versus tomorrow versus years down the road? 

And really, it comes down to that relationship with the partners, and understanding what they need. And also as a company, what can we realistically do? And how do we get aligned on that? it’s giving yourself that constraint of, I only can do so much, but then making sure what you do is really going to be of value and provide an outcome that's mutually beneficial.

Chip Rodgers  12:04

So how do you do this? That's a lot of coordination. How do you have regular checkpoints and cadence calls with partners? How are those done on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis? How do you break that down?

Paul Dumke  12:32

I'd say like any good partnership, we have that heartbeat of engagement. So do you have individuals who are managing those relationships? So again, whether it's partnership, or sales, or any of that, it's just still do you have.  Do you have that frequent connection point? Do you have that both tactical and also strategic kind of relationship with them? 

So you're having that heartbeat of checking in following through on things, but then you also have the right kind of strategic checkpoints with the right individuals and stakeholders. So based on that kind of your bounding box, so to speak, that may be different based on which partner type, because again, you can't do everything.

So you may vary that based on who you're engaged with. So we definitely tried to make sure there is, that discipline of the heartbeat of tactical engagement, that frequent thing, but also having the right strategic engagement at the right points. And it comes down to the upstream downstream, because it depends on your product lifecycle.In our business, we have many years out of our planning. So it's making sure that those strategic points are being done at the optimal time to make the right decisions, and not too late. 

Because then you get in the space of saying, Hey, thanks for showing up. But you're a little bit late to affect change here. So it goes back to what's needed. What did they do? What did the partner need? And if you're listening, and you understand the schedule, and what their deliverables are in their timeline, you can sync them with yours. And then say, well, we need to make sure that we have this discussion, to lie this piece of information, make this decision by this point. So it's really starting with this gigantic thing, trying to keep it simple. At the core of it sounds complex, but if you can keep it simple, keep it confined. To that, I think it's very manageable.

Chip Rodgers  14:28

Well one of the challenges that you have is just because of the nature of creating chips. It's basically like from the time that you say okay, well let's go build something that looks like this. It's a couple of years before you can have it designed great. The fab machine made it build all the infrastructure. 

To be able to produce and besten all those things, it's two years. How do you think that your forecasting is a lot different than software? Let's put it in the next sprint, and then it's out.  So how do you think about those challenges with that kind of constraint of having to look so far out in the future?

Paul Dumke  15:28

I think that's where we have a benefit of being who we are and the size we are, because we have a really good history of trying to forecast that, it's well documented some of the challenges we've had, but the core of what we do is still very much a muscle memory we have, which is you have to predict that, as you said, many years in advance, and make that commitment. And we've done that very publicly with different projects around the world. So those are all committed plans. And so when you do that, you're doing that based on some information you have some assumptions then it kind of goes back to the same before. 

Well, as a good partner, if I'm going to be a trusted adviser to my ecosystem, then what information do I have? Can I then take and bring to them? So if I have some information on market sizing, or if I see trends, or technologies or whatnot, taking that information, and then say, well, how do we partner appropriately with that information to support the ecosystem so that they can show up, when we would ideally need them to, and give them what they want, that they could be successful to?

That's kind of what we saw during some of the shortages: we didn't have enough of that kind of communication and some of the planning aspects of it, to give them not new information, but enough information to make those decisions that are supporting what we need them to for our platforms. So it's kind of just thinking out over time and saying, Well, if it's a demand signal, like I said, or a category thing or a trend, some of the things that we see, because of all the places we are, we can kind of bring that in as a trusted adviser being an opportunity word, and just saying, Hey, here's what we're seeing, this is not at all an endorsement, that's going to happen.

It is purely, what we see, this is what it could be, this is what we're thinking. And in many conversations, we'll ask the question, What do you think? Because some of the partners to now are servicing more industries, given the emergence of semiconductors that are based on digitization and electrification of systems, so they're in more places, there are places that maybe we don't have a stronger presence, so there is benefit in coming in with our information, but then asking that question, because then we can get more information to and say, well, that's got him thought about that, maybe we can revise something. So it's this iterative process, as well as grabbing nuggets that you have in your long range planning.

How does Intel collaborate with partners to operationalize go-to-market strategies

Chip Rodgers  18:07

Who could have predicted, by the way, it was a major shock that we all went through for the last three years, that had ripple effects, all over. So, that kind of thing is pretty hard to predict, in 2019, that way the world would shut down, six months from then. So, as you're going through this process, then working with partners, I love that, you're not only talking about where what you're seeing coming, but then you're also getting feedback from the partners, because they might be in certain markets that you're, or see some things that and putting that all into the into the mix. 

You make decisions, you start to make investments, your partners are making investments, you're putting these solutions together. How to talk a little bit about the go to market then and how does that work between Intel and some of your partners? How much are our partners involved in that? And how does that operationalize some of that work?

Paul Dumke  19:26

I'd say for the partners we have it starts with our platform and in understanding what is this platform where's its position for it kind of wraps on what we're just talking about. We serve so many parts of the market, so many categories and so many platforms, starting with what's the positioning of this platform, typical segment target position and marketing. So the partners obviously and two, they have different solutions, different products for different segments of the market. So it starts with going back to that. We just talked about how, what, and the size of this market was timing that you see, because that will affect some of their go to market with us and saying, 

Well, this is the right solution for that common application. So it goes back to the engineering relationship, making sure that we're aligned on  that value offering of the platform so that we're engaging the right partners, and they know how to bring their right solutions to our platform. So when we turn around then, and enable them on it and offer it to our customers, our OEMs, who then make the system market, then it syncs up really well, so that they're not sitting there guessing going like,, why did you choose that? Or why is this enabled? Or I wasn't sure that was the right solution for this market. 

So that's an iterative process to where we're engaging the OEM customers and trying to make sure that we're, we're in sync more with some of how they're thinking should be going to work now, are we offering the right value, so it is working kind of the upstream side of it, and the downstream side is synced up and just say, Hey, are we really putting the most valuable platform together and enabling it, not just for the partners to develop on, but then for our customers to ultimately build a system around it and bring it bring it to market?

Chip Rodgers  21:18

And how much of you're going through those design elements and requirements, certainly you're thinking about the end customer and those use cases and those things. I imagine you're also thinking about deployment and how some of the capabilities that you're building, in effect, could affect partners to make it partner friendly as well. Could you maybe talk a little bit about that aspect as well?

Paul Dumke  21:53

It's all a work in progress. What I would say is you have to have certain constraints, obviously, you can do and then you get into confidentiality concerns as well. They kind of have said that it goes back to what we were saying before, where it's what are those most critical things that any partner needs to be successful in developing on your ecosystem or your platform?

You're not gonna build and get everything, because there would be reasons for it. But can you get the basics done, can you get the core things satisfied, to make sure that, that they're educated, that they're appropriately enabled. And again, it's can you strike that balance of mutual value proposition. So I'd say it's more of an art than it is a science, I have to be quite honest, trying to balance those elements. 

So the recipe will vary based on what you said about the go to market. So depending upon how you're going to market or what you're going to market with,some of that, what you will unlock, and what you offer may vary slightly, because you're trying to deliver a certain value proposition. So this may require more of a feature a, but this other thing may be a core requirement, or feature B, and how you engage the partner ecosystem in A or B may be different. So maybe not going to offer the same things, or you're going to unlock the same things or if it's inside the company that is breaking down certain walls and going well, that's really important to go after that feature B to bring it to market. So we have to change how we're doing some things. You can't do that for everything. But if you find something where that's valuable, then you can go champion that and go for it.

How to motivate partners to be more partner friendly

Chip Rodgers  23:53

How you motivate partners to  go in the direction that you'd like them to go in and encourage them to put incentives in place to whether it's to take on the new technology or whatever it might be. Talk a little bit about that. Again, of course, there's always the value for end customers and what's valuable for end customers is going to be interesting for the partners as well. But are there some times where you're putting incentives in place to encourage the right behavior that you're looking for?

Paul Dumke  24:40

Yes on a high level there's two things, one is ease of doing business. So if you use the metaphor, we're moving the sand in the gears, because it can be hard to sometimes work with a large company. So it's like well, how are we being agile and being easy to do business with because the harder you are it can be costly. 

So how do we make ourselves easier to do business with? And then the second thing is the promise of the payoff. So I'm a partner, I'm going to invest my time, my resources in an ecosystem and a platform, ideally want it to not be super expensive, easy to do business with, but also if I do make the commitment, how I'm going to get paid. So making sure that we're in this goes back to the business enablement side of it is sharing more of those plans and making sure they're clear on what we are trying to do? 

What is the position, as you're talking about the go to market, what is this platform going to do? So there's expectations we can make no assurances, but at least we can do is be clear on our strategy, or be clear on our intentions, or be clear on what we're trying, high level what we're trying to do here, and how we think there can be value for the partner to be in involved in that. 

Because ultimately, it's got to be financially beneficial. Otherwise, we're not going to have a lot of partnership, if people keep jumping in and losing money doing it. So it's got to be something where we're also interested, and maybe we don't get it, but we listened. So it's those two things that make it easier to do business with, which is a kind of partner journey and making sure we're knocking down those things that they need. And then making sure at the end of the day, that we know there's mutual value, i.e. that they're going to receive financial benefit for developing our platforms, and partner in the go to market motion.

Paul’s advice for working effectively with Partners

Chip Rodgers  26:29

That's terrific. Those are really good. Too good elements of that, just making it easy. And trying to solve problems for the partners, and then also, of course, making it financially valuable for everybody. Paul, this has been fantastic. Maybe I'd love to hear you've been working with partners for many years, learned a lot of things along the way, any word of advice or suggestions for our audience, who are also working with partners, things that you've picked up along the way maybe one or two pieces of advice that you'd give or have offered to your team as well as you're coaching them. Some really interesting things that you'd want to share.

Paul Dumke  27:22

Sure. So I'd say three things, I think the first one, it comes down to a relationship. At the end of the day, it's the relationship that's going to allow you to do any of the stuff we were talking about. So if you are aware of your building a relationship with whomever it is, and there's mutual respect, there's the humility you conduct yourself with no matter who you are, that just goes a long way. Because ultimately, it's through people that we get things done, we take these tools, but it's through people so and I think that's number one is relationship, it's actually a genuine relationship, that you're genuinely interested to say , I see the value in working together, I genuinely want to work with you. 

I generally want a lot of you to have superficial relationships, and that that can be good. But then long term can't really sustain such genuine relationships, I think. The second one is really having that culture of listening. And can you really listen for the opportunity, because, a partner or a customer, they will tell you the opportunity? Well, maybe not explicitly, but they will tell you what it is for you to be careful enough to navigate and extract that so you can find what's really bothering them. What is the opportunity, and so kind of back to this solution, problem mentality of well, you have to be willing to listen for problems, but be willing to come up with a solution. So it's that second thing of listening for that and then taking the action.

I think the third thing is being the agent of change, because none of this is like, to do the same thing over and over again, especially in this new world that we're in right now. Constant set of change. So if you are not a change agent, change, all the change buzzwords, you apply them here, if you don't have that change of mindset and have a mindset of you have to redo everything. But can you make some small changes based on what you heard based on the relationship you formed? That puts you in the best position, I think to form a lasting partnership?

Chip Rodgers  29:34

I love that. That's really well said and very concise. I love it, a genuine relationship where you really care about the partner, hearing and listening and actively listening and trying to hear what their challenges are and then being ready for innovation and change and just really great advice, Paul, and thank you for sharing those. Well, again, Paul, this has been fantastic. I really appreciate you sharing your time and your thoughts and expertise and it's just been fantastic. Really appreciate your time today.

Paul Dumke  30:20

Thanks for having me on Chip. Appreciate it.

Chip Rodgers  30:23

Thank you all for joining us for another episode of ecosystem aces and for Paul Dumke. I'm Chip Rodgers. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you next time. Thanks everyone.

Links & Resources