AMD Overhauls Partner Program, Adds Top 'Hero Builder' Status


In an effort to meet the demands of a shifting IT landscape, chip maker AMD has been changing with the times. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company has been finding success outside its traditional comfort zone of making microprocessors for PC system builders and battling it out with Intel. To accelerate its transformation, AMD Tuesday unveiled updates to its channel program that reward partners for thinking outside the PC box and helping the chip maker transform its business for the future.

"We are not AMD's biggest partners, but we are recognized for pushing the envelope and creating new markets for AMD chips and driving unique new business with differentiated hardware," said Tuan Nguyen, director of product and marketing at AMD partner IBuyPower, City of Industry, Calif.

AMD recognized IBuyPower with a new designation available within all its partner tiers called Hero Builder for its work building what it has dubbed as a "Steam Machine" -- a hybrid-gaming-console-based Valves streaming gaming platform. 

Related: AMD Debuts Slew Of Next-Gen CPUs/GPUs At CES 2014

AMD's Hero Builder badge is just one part of the chip maker's revamped channel partner program that aims to add structure, program predictability and transparency for partners. The program also includes a new partner portal and builds on its four partner level tiers: Elite, Premier, Provisional Premier and Select.

"The Hero badge is earned by partners who are influential and dedicated system builders that are ultra-AMD enthusiasts," said Amy McFarland, worldwide head of AMD partner programs. Hero Builder is a brand-new supplemental designation for Elite-level partners, giving those partners access to additional program benefits, as well as exclusive early access to select AMD technology.

"Over the years AMD has moved beyond the CPU and introduced APUs, HSA [Heterogeneous System Architecture] features and Radeon R-Series GPUs," McFarland said. "We want to recognize and reward partners for pushing the boundaries of where AMD is today."

The revamp is the first update to AMD's channel program in five years, according to McFarland. Partners will now be able to see a clear path to receiving assistance with financial services, marketing, referral/recognition, technical and other program benefits.

 "The changes we are making today are designed to encourage partners to grow with AMD and help them take their business to the next level," McFarland said. She declined to say if the new program added more capital to its channel programs and described the channel revamp as a significant "reallocation of money" invested in the channel. AMD currently has 36,000 partners worldwide, up from 15,000 four years ago, according to the company. 

PUBLISHED MARCH 25, 2014