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ATI Takes Wraps Off Channel Programs

Looking to raise the profile of graphics capabilities as a differentiating component for custom-system builders, ATI Technologies recently launched two channel programs, the first focusing on general system builders and the second on integrators selling Fire GL graphics cards. The vendor also hired a new director of North American channel sales, Larry McIntosh.

McIntosh told CRN that ATI will increase its direct communication with white-box server and workstation builders and treat them like its large OEM customers.

The first new program will support integrators using graphics cards from ATI's manufacturing partners and is divided into two tiers, based on sales volume.


ATI's programs focus on general system builders and integrators selling Fire GL graphics cards.

Partners in the Gold tier, who must sell 2,000 units per month, can receive market development funds, one-to-one sales support and customized marketing programs. To support Gold-level partners, the company has increased the size of its field-sales force to five people over the past three months. ATI said that it has signed up about 75 Gold partners since Oct. 1.

Meanwhile, Silver-level partners get access to a dedicated 75-person technical support center and can receive online resources, marketing materials and discounts on evaluation units.

Integrators have praised ATI's new channel focus.

"They're real supportive and channel-friendly, and they seem to be promoting that more," said Matthew Forys, owner of Data Nation Enterprises, a solution provider in Hemet, Calif., who recently signed up as an ATI Silver partner.

ATI launched a similar two-tiered workstation builder program for its Fire GL graphics cards. That program provides 5 percent rebates to Gold partners and 3 percent rebates to Silver partners, said Jennifer Chisholm, product marketing manager for ATI's workstation products division.

Chisholm said ATI has 26 workstation partners in the program so far, and the company anticipates signing up 275 partners over the next year. Partners can participate in a rebate program for upgrading systems from older ATI cards or competitors' products, she said.

Camille-Alexandre Otrakji, president of Montreal-based system builder Sigmawave, points to ATI's financial stability as a reason for partnering.

"When we integrate $1,000 accelerators in our workstations and give our clients the three-year warranty, we prefer to buy it from a manufacturer who will probably be here for the next three years," Otrakji said.

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