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AMD’s Terry Richardson: New Program Rewards Partners Who ‘Aggressively’ Sell AMD

‘If they choose to really understand and take the time to not only understand the AMD differentiation but start to aggressively position it, then there’s a reward,’ says AMD North America Channel Chief Terry Ricardson in an exclusive interview about the chipmaker’s new partner program.

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First off, tell me what you have done in your first year at AMD.

So a few things. Obviously, [I] came in and built out the team. I attracted some good leaders and some really talented channel account managers to the company. We significantly increased the team and really the biggest place that we showed up for the first time in probably a decade or more was with the [value-added reseller] community, where we historically had limited our coverage to distributors and the [national solution providers]. So we put a full-court press on taking the AMD story to the VARs. That was the first big thing: get the team structured right, bring talent in, start to define and shape the narrative that we wanted to explain to partners about the partnership opportunity and why they should be interested in AMD. So that was a big one.

I had a lot of work to do — probably not sexy — but getting the internal ecosystem aligned to the things that are necessary. So we historically had simplistic views of what you have to do in marketing or operations or even pre-sales or other things to really start to activate and enable channel partners to be successful. So that was quite fun. Not an insignificant task.

We also go to market on the commercial system side through OEM, so building and strengthening the AMD relationship with each of those OEMs, both the team inside of AMD as well as the channel leaders, my peers at companies like [Hewlett Packard Enterprise] and Dell and Lenovo and HP Inc., etc. [We] spent a lot of time just aligning on the opportunity, the vision, the strategy to grow together.

We put together a partner advisory board. I certainly recognize I don’t have all the answers, so we put a group of 15 partners together — all shapes and sizes, all competitive experience levels and OEM experiences, so a good cross section — and brought them together and did a little bit of informing them about where we’re headed, but a lot of listening to their input and feedback, part of which resulted in today’s conversation. We definitely were missing in terms of having a formalized, documented partner program, so we worked internally.

We had a little bit of help from [CRN parent company The Channel Company’s IPED research and consulting group] on things we should be thinking about. It turned into I wanted to do something quickly for North America, but the end result was doing something that would fit the commercial systems market worldwide, so it took us a little bit longer to roll it out. But as of January 1, 2022, we have a partner program. So that was exciting. We upped our presence and visibility with partners and started to do a little bit more in the PR world and conversations like this, so it’s just a couple of things, but it has been a busy first year but rewarding in many regards.

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