D&H Panel: AI Readiness Top Priority for Channel Partners

When it comes to AI, channel partners don't want to get left behind.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

June 21, 2024

6 Slides

Channel partners are facing a myriad of challenges when it comes to AI readiness, and how to make the most of it for themselves and their customers.

However, there’s plenty of help available to get partners on track when it comes to AI and generative AI. At this week’s D&H THREAD Conference, Damon Kegerise, D&H Distributing’s senior director of cloud vendor management, moderated a vendor discussion on AI, including a discussion of how D&H’s Go Big AI program is being implemented and what panelists are seeing when it comes to adoption. 

Panelists included:

  • Jim Lee, Microsoft’s vice president of Americas global partner solutions and sales.

  • David Allen, Intel’s director of U.S. distribution sales and marketing.

  • Spencer Wilson, HP's AI channel development manager.

After the panel discussion, we spoke with Lee, Allen and Damon Kegerise, D&H's senior director of cloud vendor management, to get their views on helping partners with AI readiness.

Nuts and Bolts of AI Readiness

Lee said Microsoft helps its channel partners in a number of ways, including making sure they build the right AI governance structure and models.

Microsoft's Jim Lee

“So those governance structures from tools, processes, training, all of that, as well as from a model standpoint, making sure that the AI algorithms and models are built for transparency, fairness, reliability, safety, security and inclusiveness,” he said. “And then from a readiness standpoint, we have a lot of educational resources that we provide to channel partners that are available. We do a lot of partnering obviously with D&H and provide them with resources so they can also prepare the channel partner community.”

Related:D&H Co-President Discloses 2024 Growth Areas

D&H’s Go Big AI initiative is founded on training and enablement, Kegerise said.

D&H's Damon Kegerise

“So we're looking to curate and distill the vendor information into consumable resources and enablement for our channel partners,” he said. “When you think about the vast number of resources out there … we're looking at pulling in content into our programs that we can then obviously work with channel partners to weave into programs like Success Path, which works on business readiness and transformation, and also that backs into a solution. So the vendor information is certainly helpful and D&H’s perspective is we’re looking at aggregating it.”

Education, Training Important

From an AI-readiness aspect, Intel is focused on educating and training its partner base, Allen said.

“Intel Partner University has a complete curriculum of AI courses,” he said. “Our fundamentals of AI and AI everywhere are our top shelf in terms of what they do to educate partners on the overall industry and the technologies underlying it. Secondly, from an enablement point of view, what we're doing is building out use cases, very specific solutions that outline clearly what the pieces of the puzzle are. These are things that are available today, so if you want to do a simple machine learning (ML) using an AI type vision, that's there, it's hosted on a Microsoft GitHub server. We have 34 of those today. So that's our intent. Everyone we talk to says, 'I want to get going on AI; how do I do it?' And that's what we're trying to do. I think the industry itself is learning that and trying to come up with much more specific actions for partners to follow up on.”

Scroll through our slideshow above for more from the D&H AI panelists.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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