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AMD Goes Vertical
By John Hazard


AMD is leveraging vertical solutions and partners to make its microprocessors more relevant and valuable to a broader range of enterprise customers.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., chip maker is cultivating a vertical approach, identifying industry-specific solutions and commercial system channel partners with specific business process expertise as part of a strategy to demonstrate value to enterprise customers and new answers to their business problems, Advanced Micro Devices executives told eWEEK.

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"Customers want solutions, not pieces of technology, and they want the solution proof points that relate to their business," said Michael O'Brien, director of worldwide commercial channels for AMD.

"We are aligning ourselves with the right solutions and right verticals, so that a customer can see the proof points, the benefits, and have a conversation with a partner working in the field," he said.

AMD has no formal vertical solutions program, such as IBM's PartnerWorld Industry Networks, but AMD channel executives are identifying industries where its dual-core AMD64 technology can differentiate itself and cataloging partners and solutions that can penetrate those markets, said Kevin Knox, AMD's Vice President of Commercial Business. It is likely a formal vertical solutions program will take shape, he said.

Since launching a formal Commercial System Channel Program in late October, AMD has added 500 partners, about half of which have a vertical focus or a solution tailored to a specific industry, AMD said.

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More than 40 solutions have already materialized to be marketed to AMD's commercials systems customers.

Among the first industries to receive significant notice from the strategy has been the finance market, where processes such as risk analysis are likely to benefit from AMD64's computing power, Knox said. For those businesses that measure productivity of transactions in terms of X amount was generated or X amount was saved, "We present a real value proposition," he said.

PointerClick here to read about server upgrades from AMD and rival Intel.

AMD has made close ties between partners and internal engineers a keystone of its program, Knox and partners said.

Innovativ, a systems integrator based in Edison, N.J., has made use of AMD's access inside the product to produce a thin-client-based solution, working with Sun Microsystems, for telecommunications companies.

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"We needed [AMD] to peel back the product at the deepest layers," said Gerard McGowan, Innovativ's strategic marketing and information officer. "We needed to understand the foundation of the product to layer the appropriate applications in the appropriate places to design the solution we wanted. That kind of cooperation is hard to find. At most manufacturers that is like pulling teeth."

To arm its partners, AMD has enhanced its Commercial Systems Channel Program portal, adding a self-registration capability that allows participants to post member profiles and register solutions powered by AMD technology. Once registered, partners can classify and search based on the type of solution they're registering or researching.

Additionally, the portal is designed to allow access to tools, information and training materials through a Resource Center, including white papers, benchmarks and success stories.

"We're providing them with the material they need from a sales technique perspective," O'Brien said.

The strategy is a sign of the times at AMD, Knox said.

"The biggest difference between AMD a few years ago and AMD today is we are delivering solutions," Knox said. "Before it was a component, a piece of the technology infrastructure. Now we go to market as part of the solution stack—AMD, hardware, software, the operating system, applications and the delivery model. That is what delivers value."

     
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