It’s crucial for our partners to adapt to the digital era’s demands, ensuring they meet the needs of both current and future customers: Srinivas M Reddy, AMD

Srinivas M Reddy

In this insightful interview with CRN India, Srinivas M Reddy, Country Head of Channel Sales & Distribution for India & SAARC, AMD provides valuable insights into AMD’s growth trajectory within the Indian market, particularly focusing on the PC component sector. With a keen eye on innovation and a commitment to fostering strong partnerships, Reddy discusses AMD’s strategies for success, the significance of their Elite Partner Program, and the exciting roadmap ahead, including the integration of AI technology into their product lineup. This interview offers a glimpse into the dynamic landscape of PC components in India and AMD’s pivotal role within it.

Could you provide a brief overview of the growth of your overall PC component business in the Indian market? Also, what is the size of this market, and where do you envision your position within it?

Growth is really part of our DNA, and it’s been more evident since we launched the Ryzen CPUs back in 2017. The journey’s been fantastic for us. Consumers were really looking for something new, and Ryzen delivered that. It had been a while since there was a big tech shift, so people were excited about what Ryzen brought to the table. It’s helped us grow not just in India but around the world too.

The Ryzen 8000 series launch was another big moment for us. It’s the first time we’ve brought AI to CPUs like this, and we’re proud to be leading the way. The feedback from our partners has been great, they’re really getting behind Ryzen. With AI becoming more important, it’s exciting to see the difference it’s making. Our Radeon graphic cards have also been equally important in our growth journey, especially the AMD RDNA 3 generation which is making a mark with customers and partners for the gaming performance.

Looking at 2024, we’re sticking to what we do best – growing and innovating. And it seems to be working. Looking at the recent IDC statistics, we’ve been covering almost half of the desktop AMD market in India, hitting around a 48% market share. It shows how we’re expanding in the market and how consumers are accepting our products.

What are the 2-3 key areas that are working well for your organization?

The primary engine is the product, which has totally changed the game. Our long-standing association with channel partners has taken things to the next level, building trust and confidence in the market. I doubt any component vendor can match the connection we have. I’m proud of that. We’re in touch with every key market. It’s the mix of engaging with partners, the trust they have in us, and our strong product lineup that’s key to our growth in India. In fact, we are the only ones offering high end CPUs and GPUs, when compared to our competitors.

Can you provide insight into the size and strength of your channel business in terms of numbers and the current size of your channel ecosystem?

In the component channel I oversee, it’s clear that from mom-and-pop stores to major retail outlets, component sales are widespread across India. – from Bangalore’s SP Road to Mumbai’s Lamington Road, Delhi’s Nehru Place, Chennai’s Richie Street, and Hyderabad’s CTC Market. Every key market boasts component sellers in each store. Our approach involves structured engagement through the AMD Elite Partners within the Elite Partner Program (EPP), a global initiative.

Being associated with AMD at the HQ level is a source of pride and prestige for our channel partners, enhancing their confidence. Since taking over the channel business in 2015, we’ve maintained consistent engagement in our channel programs, aimed at recognizing and incentivizing partners’ efforts.

Our strategy is target-based, with elite partners representing specific states – limited to two or three per state, depending on market size. With 25+ elite customers in India, registered directly with AMD and bound by an NDA, they’re set quarterly targets. Remarkably, they’ve consistently met these targets, earning rewards. This model has proven effective in keeping our partners motivated.

What are the key tenets of the Elite Partner program, and which areas does it cover to ensure engagement and incentivization within the ecosystem, aiming for a win-win proposition? And, does the program follow any tiers?

Given the global nature of our initiatives, we opted against creating a separate program for India, instead focusing on the Elite Partner Program (EPP) and the AMD Program for Acceleration (APA) for sell-out acceleration. Our elite partners regularly report their sales to AMD through Model N, an authorized vendor overseeing these programs. This system allows partners to upload weekly sales data, earning incentives for their performance, which encourages the pursuit of new opportunities.

Our approach encompasses the entire sales process: sell-in, sell-through, and sell-out. While sell-through targets are specific, sell-out incentives are based on product demand, competitive dynamics, and our market positioning. This strategy ensures we invest where a sales push is needed.

A key advantage is how closely Indian market trends and pricing align with the global landscape, thanks to digital access to global pricing. This comprehensive strategy has been effective for years, fostering a strong trust between us and our partners.

What specific programs do you have in place to maintain engagement and keep partners updated about technological advancements on a regular basis?

Beyond our reward programs, it’s essential to keep our partners informed about the latest technologies and product releases. We facilitate this through globally driven training programs. The AMD Partner Hub is a comprehensive platform for registered retailers and e-tailers, providing access to a wide array of AMD-approved assets. This includes everything from product literature, brochures, and white papers to quick reference guides. These resources are designed to enhance their technological understanding, streamline the sales process, and improve marketing strategies.

Additionally, we run the AMD Arena, an incentivization program targeting sales champions and retail owners. Here, participants can register for training sessions, complete missions, and earn rewards through accumulating coins. Notably, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we experienced a significant uptick in registrations from India, leading globally in both the number of registrations and the extent of training undertaken. In addition to our online resources, we also prioritize face-to-face engagements. One example is our weekly roundtable meetings, where we gather with 10-20 retail partners over tea or coffee. Complementing this approach, we maintain a dedicated on-ground sales force of nearly 40+ teams who diligently engage with our partners, conducting meetings with at least 2000 of them each week. This enhances our collaboration, and highlights the strong engagement and commitment from our Indian partners.

How periodically these training and enablement programs are run?

The Partner Hub is available 24/7, ensuring resources are always accessible. AMD Arena, which requires enrollment, opens up opportunities for participants to access and attend training sessions at their convenience. Completing these technology trainings is mandatory for elite partners. Additionally, AMD University is provided for our internal team, merging elements of both the Partner Hub and AMD Arena into a thorough program designed to effectively support our partner retailers.

How are you assisting your partners in pursuing new opportunities, such as GPU/GPU-as-a-service offerings, and accelerating their growth in specialized areas, both with existing and prospective customers?

We all recognize that technology is advancing rapidly and during this period of digital transformation, partners who don’t stay updated with changing needs risk falling behind. It’s important to remember that AMD operates through a channel model, not directly to customers (D2C). This approach empowers our channel partners to stay informed about emerging trends and our latest offerings.

AI is a key driver of future business expansion. Reflecting on Dr Lisa Su’s comments, it’s clear there’s a significant opportunity ahead. With Lisa’s estimate of AI’s market potential to exceed $400 billion by 2028, and with about $40 billion of that anticipated this year, the stakes are high. For the PC vertical, we’re more than prepared. Last year, we launched AI-based processors for mobile PCs, and this year, we’ve introduced them for desktops with the Ryzen 8000 series, marking us as pioneers in this area. When we speak about AI, the availability and capability of GPU compute also becomes an important driver for AI adoption. That’s why we have been so excited about the AMD Instinct MI300X which was launched last year and is the highest performing accelerator in the world for generative AI. It is built on our new CDNA3 data center architecture and is optimized for performance and power efficiency. Ensuring our customers are informed and knowledgeable about these technologies is a priority for us.

Another initiative, ‘Meet the Experts,’ brings industry insiders and speakers to offer monthly, invitation-only training. Participants in the Arena and Partner Hub are invited to these sessions, where they can learn directly from AMD product specialists and industry leaders. This forum is a unique opportunity to dive deep into the latest technologies. I’m proud of how well our channel partners engage in these programs, staying current with cutting-edge developments. It’s crucial for our partners to adapt to the digital era’s demands, ensuring they meet the needs of both current and future customers.

So how do you see demand per se for these AI products?

We announced the first dedicated AI engine in an x86 processor for mobile markets more than a year ago, and the expansion into desktop computing with the Ryzen 8000G Series processors this January, showcases our initiative in bringing Ryzen AI to the forefront. This introduction of a dedicated AI neural processing unit (NPU) in desktop PC processors, a first with Ryzen AI, has been met with exceptional demand with 50+ notebook designs launched, and millions of units sold. Our new Instinct MI300 GPUs, launched last year, will drive significant growth for our data center segment. Based on AMD’s 2023 earnings report, we now expect $3.5 billion in AI chips sales under our “Instinct” brand in 2024.

Our engagement strategies, including celebratory launch events at retail stores and active social media campaigns, have significantly boosted product visibility and consumer interest. Every market in India now proudly displays AI-based processors, reflecting their widespread acceptance. With AI-based CPUs expected to account for over 40% of our product mix this quarter, the demand for AI technology is clearly strong and growing.

So lastly, while the organization and the partners are putting out some impressive growth numbers, and it’s working very well, how do you measure the success of your partners? Are there any parameters that you have defined for yourself?

Our approach to driving sales and ensuring partner engagement across India is both critical and strategic. Through our AMD Elite Partner Program, we set target-driven incentives aligned with market demands and our growth objectives, considering the regional capacity of each partner. This ensures that goals are realistic and achievable, tailored to specific market needs.

To monitor and support these targets, we’ve deployed resources across key cities, with a structured sales team that includes national leads for CPUs and GPUs, regional managers, and area sales managers, all supported by feet-on-street personnel. Notably, AMD stands out in the industry for having in-store promoters, providing us with real-time updates from the market.

Our methods of measuring partner performance are comprehensive. For instance, the AMD Elite Partner board meeting, a family-like gathering, serves as a platform for reviewing progress and setting directions, particularly at the start of the year. This meeting is as significant as any high-level corporate discussion, emphasizing progress and future strategies.

In addition to incentivization, we focus on training and integration into our marketing initiatives, with significant Market Development Funds (MDF) invested based on partner efforts and market needs. Our marketing activities are customized, prioritizing below the line (BTL) strategies to directly impact our channel partners and sales. This multifaceted approach ensures our partners are well-supported, informed, and motivated to achieve shared goals.

What new roadmap have you set for yourself as a channel leader this year, and do you expect your partners to align with these directions?

Absolutely. This year, a major emphasis is on Ryzen AI, a significant technology feature that’s set to drive substantial growth. We’re eager for our partners to fully adopt Ryzen AI, especially given the strong demand highlighted in recent reviews.

In the consumer market, the appetite for AI-enhanced gaming and content creation is on the rise. Leveraging Ryzen AI, we aim to capitalize on this trend to support our annual growth plans. Despite IDC’s projection of a 3 to 4% decline this year, we’re determined to counter this trend and aim for at least stable growth year-over-year. We plan to leverage innovative approaches to expand our business, with Ryzen AI as a key component of our growth strategy.


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