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INTERVIEW: Bertrand Coquard, AMD

by Stuart Wilson, Monday 30 January 2012

Components giant AMD is one of hundreds of vendors participating in DISTREE EMEA 2012. During the event, AMD will hold pre-scheduled meetings with both existing and potential channel partners from across the region. Bertrand Coquard, director of component channel sales EMEA at AMD, discussed the latest developments at the company with www.channelemea.com and the continued importance of building strong and durable channel relationships.

Channel EMEA (CE): What recent product innovations have there been at AMD? What will you be showcasing and promoting to channel partners at DISTREE EMEA?

Bertrand Coquard (BC): In 2011, AMD launched the revolutionary Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) incorporating, in a single die design, multi-core CPU (x86) technology and powerful DirectX11-capable discrete-level graphics. With the launch of our APUs, we brought high-performance, low-power and visually stunning processing to the market. Since being released, they have won rave reviews from the media across EMEA as these processors enable a high-performance experience for desktop users, including brilliant HD graphics, supercomputer-like performance, and incredibly fast application speeds, making them a vital component for distributors interested in offering a phenomenal computing experience on a day-to-day basis for work and play.

We also have the AMD FX CPUs, processors that have been inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for achieving the highest ever frequency by a computer processor. All FX-branded products offer completely unlocked processor clock multipliers for easier PC enthusiast overclocking. AMD has removed all the stops to enable a fully unlocked experience, giving overclockers and PC enthusiasts complete customization and flexibility and allowing our distributors to offer unrivalled enthusiast PC experience for the money.

And on the graphics side of the market, AMD started the year with the launch of our AMD Radeon HD 7900 series of GPUs. The response to the innovative AMD Radeon HD 7970, the world’s fastest single-GPU graphics card, has been nothing short of colossal. The HD 7970 is the first GPU based on 28nm production technology and its arrival ushers in a new era in graphics technology, taking a no compromise approach to gaming. These products offer unique propositions and fantastic opportunities for our distributors and the wider channel.

CE: What are the three main reasons for AMD to attend DISTREE EMEA 2012? What do you hope to achieve at the event?

BC: DISTREE EMEA is always a great way to kick-start the year. It provides AMD with a great opportunity to outline our agenda for the forthcoming year and helps us give our channel partners an idea of our roadmap, strategy and focus. While technology enables us to communicate more efficiently than ever before, there is no better way to talk than face-to-face. I love getting out and meeting people and DISTREE EMEA gives me - and others at AMD - the perfect opportunity to do this. It’s great to catch up with old friends and also get the chance to meet new ones. Perhaps what is most valuable is that we get to listen to channel partners and hear their thoughts about our products, those of our rivals and the wider industry issues. We of course take all this invaluable insight and work it into our immediate and future plans.

CE: What sort of growth opportunities do you see for AMD in EMEA?

BC: AMD is a leader in x86 microprocessor design, and we are committed to the x86 market. Our strategy is to accelerate our growth by taking advantage of our design capabilities to deliver a breadth of products that best align with broader industry shifts toward low power, emerging markets and the cloud. Certainly there are opportunities for AMD products in the whole of the region. There will always be opportunities if you create great products that end-users crave. AMD continues to release these products to the market and they continue to sell well.

CE: Why should distributors focus AMD products? What makes your channel proposition stand out in the market?

BC: We continue to push the boundaries and innovate whether in the CPU or GPU segments or create a whole new segment as we did with APUs. AMD creates unique products that solve computing challenges. We set incredibly high standards, so we pass on quality products to our channel, which in turn ensure consumers and businesses get the best technology.

Our programme offers lucrative financial benefits to the channel and also helps them generate many sales opportunities. We provide collateral and training to help them create a healthy pipeline of sales opportunities. And with our AMD Fusion Partner Programme, we spread payments throughout the year with more frequent targets instead of putting end-of-quarter pressure on our channel partners.

Our AMD Fusion Partner Programme has been running for well over two years. It’s not only designed to financially reward partners but also offer them the right tools to help build their business. It covers all of our products and AMD solutions - CPUs, GPUs and APUs. We recognise that every channel partner has a unique business model, therefore the programme is tailored to support different sized businesses operating in commercial, component or consumer sales. So our financial incentives and sales, marketing and training collateral within the AMD Fusion Partner Programme is customised for our channel partners. We feel this gives them the best opportunity to get AMD products into the hands of end users and also achieve healthy margins.

CE: What sort of support do you offer distributors in terms of marketing, promotions and channel development activities?

BC: The AMD Fusion Partner Portal arms our channel partners with the information and materials they need to help sell AMD products and build their business. The web portal has continued to go from strength to strength with more partners signing up in order to realise the benefits. The portal provides insight which helps our channel partners get the most from our product offerings and solutions. They can access training materials, marketing and sales collateral and also product information which enables them to differentiate AMD solutions and build a strong sales pipeline.

CE: What have been the major developments for AMD in EMEA in the last year? What do you have planned for full year 2012?

BC: The major development of 2011 was the APU - it changed the computing industry. The technology is unique and it offers a special experience for ultrathin, mainstream notebooks and desktops users. The APU launched at the right time as people’s expectations when it comes to personal technology has risen. People now expect sleek and speedy performance, a visually stunning experience and a long battery life as standard. The APU meets all these desires and exceeds them. The APU hits the sweet spot for mobile computing devices as they demand high processing but low power consumption. We anticipate more exciting APU developments in 2012 as we continue to push the boundaries of computing. Generally, for 2012 we plan to build an AMD that consistently delivers on our commitments.

CE: How quickly is AMD’s business growing in the EMEA region? What market trends have you identified that are impacting your business segment?

BC: 2011 was another strong year for AMD, marked by well received products launches, engaging events and successful partner campaigns. We worked hard to stay ahead of the competition in both our price performance offering and the quality of our products.

With regards to market trends, we anticipate more demand for highly capable server platforms to support virtualised servers and the applications that run on them – which means more attention paid to price-performance and sheer power. Don’t think that the cloud alone will drive this. I believe plenty of organisations – perhaps the vast majority - are looking at private cloud and hybrid solutions before taking the plunge. With the world’s first 16-core x86 processor in the form of the AMD OpteronT 6200 series, not only can our technology partners talk performance and scalability to customers, but they can also point to excellent value and outstanding energy efficiency.

The other huge trend we’re seeing is the consumerisation of IT, driven by increasing workforce mobility, education and demands. As a new generation has grown up inherently comfortable with technology, they expect the same level of access to technology and software they use in their personal lives when they are working. With the launch of our AMD APUs, we brought high-performance, low-power and visually stunning processing to the market. People now demand these three things so they can work flexibly in an environment that suits their style. The APU powers hardware that is not only consumer friendly but also works for businesses.

CE: Is AMD channel-friendly? How would you describe your overall go-to-market approach in the EMEA market? What are your overall channel goals and aims for 2012 in EMEA?

BC: AMD is 100% channel-friendly. The channel market is at our core and, as a business, we recognise and value its importance and support, and in turn, try to ensure we dedicate strong focus in this area. A lot of technology trends, such as cloud computing and consumerisation, have been debated endlessly throughout 2011. But 2012 will be the year that they come to the fore and start to have a big impact on consumers and businesses. Our product stack has been designed to meet these challenges. This gives our technology partners the opportunity to develop products that solve the challenges and create technology that businesses cannot do without and consumers crave.

Our aims for 2012 will be to position AMD as poised for growth, following recent successful launches of the AMD A-Series APU for client environments and the platform we codename ‘Bulldozer’ for servers and desktops. In addition, we will aim to demonstrate AMD’s commitment to the AMD Opteron platform to ensure that our processors meet the needs of next-generation data centres focused on high-performance computing, cloud computing and virtualisation.

CE: What else do distributors and channel partners attending DISTREE EMEA 2012 need to know about AMD?

BC: 2012 will be an exciting year for AMD. We have a new CEO and president in place, Rory Read. With more than 28 years experience, he is a proven leader with a respected track record of driving profitable growth and transformation. In 2012, Rory and his executive leadership team will focus attention on their vision for the company and will aim to consistently deliver on our commitments. In addition, the opportunities this year are clear but varied, and I believe the products AMD are providing are the right ones for the current market.


DISTREE EMEA 2012

Top distributors, retailers and e-tailers from across the EMEA region are invited to attend DISTREE EMEA 2012, the premier event for the regional ICT and CE channel, from February 7-10th in Monaco.

DISTREE EMEA gathers hundreds of senior executives from EMEA’s Information Communications Technologies (ICT) & Consumer Electronics (CE) volume distribution channel.

During the course of the three-day event, delegates take part in thousands of pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings with hundreds of vendors. Each year, hundreds of new distribution agreements are struck across the region as a result of business relationships initiated at DISTREE EMEA.

DISTREE EMEA 2012 will also build on successful initiatives launched at last year’s sold out event including a regional awards ceremony. The ‘EMEA Channel Academy: 2012 Awards’ will include more than 20 categories for vendors and distributors from across the region.

www.distree-emea.com

For more information on attending DISTREE EMEA 2012 please contact fhemraj@distree.com

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