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Over the years, I’ve spoken about the value a Red Hat subscription can offer versus a traditional licensing model. Times are changing and other companies offer subscription models. But that alone is not what makes the difference for our customers.

Our relationships with our customers have always been at the center of everything we do. We want to make them successful, no matter where they are in their IT journey. And we can see that our customers have accelerated their IT transformation because they have deployed more complex solutions using our portfolio of products. Our customers have implemented hybrid cloud solutions and are able to take advantage of our infrastructure, middleware and management capabilities.

So you ask what’s special about Red Hat? How does Red Hat help make our customers successful?

We’re configured to help your success

We’ve configured our own organizations to help make you more successful. My team, Customer Experience and Engagement, houses functions from support to product security, and quality engineering. At Red Hat, we’re not a separate team from product engineering—we sit within the engineering organization.

You might wonder, “why would Red Hat configure themselves like that?” It’s simple—we want to go through what you experience as a customer so that we can deliver more innovative products and services to you.

For example, our support teams work with you everyday and have a greater understanding of your needs and challenges. Because of this, Red Hat support can influence how we test and release products. Now we’re able to invest more time to test products the way you would use them and how they would run in your environment. We’re also able to update our documentation to be more helpful to you. Instead of just documenting features, we document how you can achieve solutions.

We build relationships with you

The applications and infrastructure that companies need to run are changing at a more rapid rate. That’s why Red Hat support and services enables customers to be more successful in the adoption of new technologies, during and after purchase. What does this  really mean? Let’s reflect on a traditional IT company. You talk to a sales person, a solution architect works with you, consulting implements the solution, and then you need to go to support if you run into issues. At a traditional IT company, the support guy may not have a clue about what solutions were sold. At Red Hat we’re not so siloed. We seek to engage in a way that it doesn’t matter which team you come from. At Red Hat, your team—solution architects, support, consulting, and technical account management, —can work together to help drive your success.

We understand that no solution is purely built on Red Hat software. We have an ecosystem of partner relationships built on a foundation of engineering relationships and backed by our collaborative support program. Finger pointing and playing the blame game if an issue arises is not helpful to anyone, especially our customers. Red Hat’s involvement with multi-vendor technical support community, TSANet, and our partner certification program enable us to help resolve issues that involve our products. We also build relationships with our partners, so that customers who choose to purchase and integrate through a partner can be successful.

We listen to your feedback, and we tell you how we implemented it

We use channels like support, feedback from the sales teams and surveys to hear what you think and to drive improvements to our customer experiences. We want to be transparent with you about the changes we’ve made based on your feedback, so we have a webpage called You asked. We acted. This page is something Red Hat does to show you how we acted on your suggestions to make our services, products and support better for other customers.

We’re continually innovating

If you have a few thousand engineers that are empowered with information about what the business is trying to accomplish, you can get a lot of good ideas about how to make our customers more successful. We’re continuously iterating and improving the Red Hat Customer Portal based on the needs of our clients. In fact,  it’s been named one of the top 10 support sites by the Association of Support Professionals for eight years in a row.

Here are some real examples of how we innovate to improve your experience with Red Hat.

A few years ago, we realized that we needed to become more proactive with our customers. We brainstormed ways we could do this. From our Knowledgebase articles and getting started guides, we started a tool called Customer Portal Labs. These are small applications that help you see if everything is configured correctly. Out of Customer Portal Labs came another innovation, Red Hat Insights. Insights is designed to use predictive analytics to proactively identify and remediate threats to your security, performance, availability, and stability.  

Another example is that we wanted to help our customers more easily find answers to their support questions so that they could save time and get back to their work. Last year we launched the Customer Portal’s Solution Engine that matches keywords, phrases, and statements against our knowledge repository to provide you with a list of articles and solutions.

But the real innovation is not these tools, it’s that Red Hat has created a culture where technology innovation is fostered. Our teams are empowered to contribute their ideas, and they see reengineering and improvement as a normal and good thing to do.

We understand that the industry is changing, and there is more pressure to innovate while also maintaining stable environments. In this new landscape, our customers are exposed to more options than ever before. That’s why our customers’ are at the center of what we do—from how we support you to how we develop our products. Our goal is to be your trusted partner and provide you with useful tools, guidance and knowledge to successfully adopt new technology.

Here’s to a great 2019 - it will be an exciting year. I look forward to meeting with many customers and partners throughout the year or at the Red Hat Summit 2019 in Boston.

Marco Bill-Peter is senior vice president of Customer Experience and Engagement (CEE) at Red Hat.

About the author

Marco Bill-Peter is the senior vice president of Customer Experience and Engagement (CEE) at Red Hat. CEE is responsible for increasing the value customers and partners receive from their relationship with Red Hat. In addition to technical support delivery and strategic customer engagement, Bill-Peter's organization is responsible for the award-winning Red Hat Customer Portal, quality engineering, DevOps, product certifications, product security, product documentation, and translation services.

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