Digital transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Organizations can’t just flip a switch and become cloud-native. They're going to have to straddle their existing infrastructure with their plans for the future. That's why we believe the future is a hybrid one.

We typically talk about "hybrid" as something relevant only to IT (think "hybrid IT," "hybrid cloud," and so on), but in truth, it applies to the entire organization. Open, hybrid technologies work best when supported by open teams with open cultures. And the more I talk with customers, the more I see them recognize something that has guided Red Hat from its earliest days: open unlocks the world's potential. They understand not only that open technologies are now a default choice in organizations all around the world, but also that open cultures and methods are becoming standard operating procedure in many of the most innovative organizations today.

So as they implement their digital transformation strategies, they're embracing open tools and practices to realize new sources of value, discover novel ways to serve their own customers, and sustain an accelerated pace of innovation. Off-the-shelf solutions and legacy thinking aren't adequate for addressing the challenges they're facing.

Take the cloud, for example. Cloud seems to dominate the conversations I’ve had with customers this year. But those conversations have revealed just how complex this challenge is. Yes, the cloud is now a reality for our customers—but they’re not sure exactly how to take advantage of it. And that’s because a cloud strategy is about more than just "the cloud"; it’s about the infrastructure required to support and run your applications on the cloud. Customers tell us they're shifting to multicloud environments, automating workloads, taking advantage of software-defined storage solutions, and more—all while facing a growing imperative to innovate faster to keep pace with an unprecedented rate of disruption and change. That's why Red Hat has focused on developing a broad portfolio with cloud at its core.

Our container offerings are one of the most exciting pieces of that portfolio. I said last year that I'm amazed by how fast customers are adopting containers, and that trend continued this year. Platforms like Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform provide organizations with a powerful, open standards-based solution to fuel digital transformation efforts, helping enterprises more quickly adopt emerging technologies like Linux containers and Kubernetes, without sacrificing existing applications or IT investments.

Red Hat is uniquely positioned to help with so many aspects of an organization’s transformation challenges. Assisting with big stuff like this is our heritage. For decades, we've helped organizations of all sizes with a similar migration challenge: moving from UNIX to Linux. Now we're poised to do it again—this time, as customers and partners migrate to the cloud, modernize their infrastructures, or automate increasingly complex workloads.

Work this important—work that involves high-complexity, high-reliability, high-demand systems—requires a partner who can balance experimental innovation and operational consistency, who understands "hybrid" across the entire organization. That's Red Hat. We operate with a foot in two worlds: We work both with enterprises looking to change their innovation models and with digital natives active in developer communities. From that unique vantage point, we can help customers anticipate trends, analyze possibilities, and create solutions that set them up for success tomorrow, not just tackle what they're facing today.

We do this the open source way, by bringing networks of diverse partners together to create the best possible solutions. Our community-focused approach has always differentiated us from others, but it's becoming even more distinctive today, a time when co-creation trumps consumption. More and more, customers aren't asking us to solve problems for them. They're asking us to solve problems with them. They aren't looking for another vendor offering them pre-packaged solutions to consume. They want a partner working alongside them, teaming with them to address their most pressing issues and sharing best practices.

That kind of collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. It's what fuels our approach to serving our customers and helping them achieve their goals. We see that spirit at work across our portfolio. For example, it's one of the reasons we've developed our Open Innovation Labs (and one of the reasons for its impressive success in 2018). Customers recognize that we naturally work the way they'd like to be working—transparently, inclusively, and open by default. They turn to Red Hat because they're interested in making the kinds of deep-seated changes to their organizational cultures that will set them up for a successful future.

That future remains open. According to "The State of Enterprise Open Source: A Red Hat Report," an industry survey Red Hat sponsored and will be released in April, use of enterprise open source increased by 68 percent last year. Fifty-three percent of respondents implementing open source solutions in their organizations are modernizing their IT infrastructures and 40 percent of them are using it for DevOps. Clearly, more of the world now looks to enterprise open source not only as a powerful source of technological innovation but also as a standard for building the organizations of the future. And I'm excited about all the ways Red Hat can continue to help the world develop that open outlook.

Jim Whitehurst is president and chief executive officer at Red Hat.

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