Joining forces

Boasting a new streamlined channel partner programme, AMD is using the recently unveiled Fusion Partner Programme, a single channel programme covering its entire portfolio to lay the foundation for market expansion and channel growth in the Middle East.


The vendor which for a long time has been a shadow of its rival Intel is forging stronger relationships with channel partners in the region all in an effort to expand its footprint and make competition with its rival worthwhile.


And while AMD has over the years come up with great technologies, it has been its own enemy in that it has failed to raise the market awareness that its fiercest rival enjoys in the IT industry.


Having recently posted its first quarterly profits for Q4, industry pundits are optimistic that AMD is emerging out of its own slumber to give Intel a run for its money.


Key to AMD making inroads will be how the vendor reaches out to channel partners in particular the system builder community which controls a larger chunk of the PC market not addressed by OEM brands.


Fusion Partner Programme


Sasa Marinkovic, Senior Product Marketing Manager Products and Platforms at AMD EMEA, says the company has tailored the recently enhanced Fusion Partner Programme to meet specific business models that will aid AMD to deliver incentives, marketing and training programmes and support to resellers. “We believe that by working together with our partners, we will be in a stronger position to drive profits and grow business by utilising each other’s strengths,” he says.


Marinkovic says it was necessary to enhance the channel programme because AMD decided to merge the ATI programme into one AMD offering covering the entire breadth of products in its stable. “We have rebuilt the partner programme from the ground with the sole aim of helping our channel partners to more effectively market and sell AMD platforms,” he says.


He says having a single channel programme is only the starting point for AMD as the company has designed a channel marketing strategy it believes will simplify the way resellers sell and how customers purchase PCs built on an AMD platform.


Marinkovic admits that in the past, most IT PC vendor didn’t do a good job in merchandising their products as emphasis was placed more on specs, processor speeds and benefits rather than customer usage. “This created a lot of confusion from at end-users level when it came to making the right purchasing decisions,” he says.


Marinkovic explains that through the new channel marketing campaigns which are part of the broader offerings under the new partner programme, AMD is moving quickly to make it simpler for customers to make the right PC purchasing decision. “AMD has come up with the concept of ‘Vision’ which concentrates more on PC usage rather than selling PCs based on processor speeds, graphics cards and other features,” he notes.


He points out that under the Vision concept, AMD has divided its offerings into four main categories namely Vision Basic, Vision Premium, Vision Ultimate and Vision Black. “The aim of this strategy is to educate our channel as well as end-users,” he says. “We want to make a customer’s PC purchasing experience an enjoyable one.”


Marinkovic points out that PCs carrying the Vision Basic logo are targeted at casual users, while the Vision Premium offering is targeted at users who generally use a PC multitask.


The Vision Ultimate is tailored at advanced PC users with the Vision Black strictly targeted at game enthusiasts who do mega tasking and cutting edge task on their PCs.


He adds that the campaign has already taken off in the Middle East with all the major IT retailers in the region offering AMD products that display the Vision concept. “Two out of three notebooks currently in the Middle East market built on an AMD platforms now have the Vision logo,” he says. “Feedback from our partners has been positive as they like the idea and especially that it makes it much easier for them to market and sell.”


Dr Gaith Kadir, GM Middle East, Turkey & Africa, says the Vision programme for end-users and Fusion programme for partners have been designed to make the AMD experience worthwhile. “We have joined our forces with partners and are looking to the year ahead with a lot of optimism in the region.


Kadir says 2010 is an important year for AMD in that the company would like to achieve better balance with it channel partners and offer them solutions and platform that will enable them to more effectively compete with their peers who sell competitor products.


Kadir adds that at regional level, AMD is looking forward to strengthening its relationship with Mubadala which has a stake in AMD. “Am delighted to say that by 2010, we will have built our factory in Abu Dhabi,” he says.


He explains that as all these initiatives take off, it is vital that AMD’s channel in the region is up to speed hence the company has been busy sending in-house channel support teams to prepare partners for the onslaught of initiatives that will be rolled out this year in the region.


Partner tiers


The AMD Fusion Partner Programme has been broken down into three main partner tiers namely, Select, Premium and Elite status with each offering partners different benefits. The Elite level is a new creation and is the most prestigious tier which AMD has included to reward partners that meet revenue performance, have the portfolio breadth and are strategically aligned with the vendor. In addition, Elite partners have direct access to AMD product previews and can be called upon to beta a product and give input before it is released into the market.


Premier partners have access to sales and marketing support, the AMD Academy for training some of which can be offered on demand and demand generation activities and campaigns providing resellers with access to campaigns that help them generate leads and build sales pipelines.


The programme has been designed to offer benefits at each membership level to suit the specific business model a partner chooses. “We are aware it takes more than just high performance technology to build a successful channel business. That’s why we are offering tools, resources, and support to help you get our partners on the fast,” he says.


The three main categories of programme benefits include Foundation, Connection and Acceleration. Under Foundation, partners have easy access to training, information and sales enablement resources. In the Connection bracket of benefits, partners enjoy the accumulation of benefits, positively endorsing and supporting the relationship with AMD.


On the Acceleration front, partners enjoy benefits and resources to help them increase sales and strong support for sales and marketing programmes.


Marinkovic adds that the partner programme is a pit stop for centralised information, tools and resources to help resellers move their business to the next level.


As AMD continues to build and cement it channel presence in the Middle east region, it will be interesting to see how the vendor woos partners to its Fusion programme and set everything as it prepares to compete more effectively with it rival Intel. If the vendor pull this strategy right it will not only rekindle the rivalry with Intel but will have achieved something that for a long time has eluded it.


Chip maker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) will this year continue to build a stronger channel as it tries to expand its market presence and compete more effectively with rival Intel in the Middle East region. RWME?s Manda Banda finds out what the vendor has up its sleeves.

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