Last October leading up to our 2018 North America Partner conference, I shared with you the journey we are on to transform our partner experience. But that journey is more than the destination alone, how we got to where we are is just as important. I want to take this time to reflect on the last year and look into the future and where we can go with our partners. If I had to boil it down into a few themes for our partner ecosystem it would be hybrid cloud, the midmarket and verticals opportunity, and digital transformation.

Each year Red Hat Summit is where we make some of our biggest announcements and showcase the latest and greatest in hybrid cloud, containers and Kubernetes, cloud-native app development, management and automation, and more technologies. And this year, some of the most exciting news came from our partner ecosystem. In his keynote, Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president of Products and Technologies, outlined how collaboration with our partners is a key to helping to make hybrid cloud the enterprise default, as highlighted by announcements with Microsoft and IBM. In addition, we announced Kubernetes Operators for the Red Hat OpenShift ecosystem, providing a simplified path for our software partners to deliver tested and validated Kubernetes applications on the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform. Managing in a hybrid cloud world is a top priority for many customers, making it vital that we work with our Red Hat Certified Cloud and Service Providers to create solutions that can meet their needs.

When we’re talking about our solutions, much of the time we’re talking about the enterprise. But this past year, and looking into next year, we’re seeing opportunity by extending open source beyond the enterprise and into the midmarket. We’ve found that our diversifying portfolio is enabling infrastructure automation and management across hybrid environments, many of our partners are tapping into this space and focusing on delivering technologies like configuration management and service automation. In particular, some of our partners are building businesses around two popular products, Red Hat Ansible Automation and Red Hat OpenShift. We believe that we are just beginning to scrape the surface of the midmarket opportunity.  We’ve laid the groundwork and our partners are running with it.

Through our partner network, we’re able to dive into different verticals and work together to deliver solutions that meet their specific needs. Every industry, whether its finance, automotive or healthcare, has its own challenges, needs and opportunities. For instance, we’re looking towards the future of telecommunications - 5G - with our partners. Network equipment providers are working with our partners to build out needed infrastructure to deliver the speed and power needed to support mobile development. Our partners are helping customers move beyond traditional, proprietary technology and hardware to achieve greater efficiency and agility, while reducing operations costs.

Something else that I think makes our partners stand apart is their commitment to open source and open principles. One-fourth of the companies that have signed the GPL Cooperation Commitment, an ongoing industry effort to combat harsh tactics in open source license enforcement, are Red Hat partners. This commitment speaks to more than just their individual pledges, it speaks to the community as a whole. Not only are our partners a major part of Red Hat, but they are also a big part of the open source community. Many contribute to building the technologies that we deliver to our customers.

Finally, stepping back and looking at our partner ecosystem as a whole, so much of what we’ve seen and what’s to come, ties back to digital transformation - something we live and breathe every day. Beyond the technology needed to adapt to the changing business landscape, we’re also adept at the organizational culture that’s needed to make the most of that technology. Because of that, customers come to us seeking help with their own transformations. Therein lies one of the biggest opportunities for our partners. We have a unique position to talk about what digital transformation and a DevOps culture should look like, how to solve problems, how to become more agile, and with our partners, we’re able to help customers do more than just survive, but thrive. One of the ways we’re working with our partners is by sharing our go-to-market strategy. We’re providing them with tools, content and training that can enable them to solve customers’ IT challenges.

Partners are an important multiplier for Red Hat. They play a key role in enabling customer success and without our partners and the close relationships we have with them, Red Hat would look very different. One of the things I’m most excited about that we’re working towards is a unified digital experience for our partners. We want to simplify things and create a single partner portal - a ‘one stop shop’ - for technical and business resources for our entire partner community. This is one part of a broader move to look at our partner relationships more holistically across the entire ecosystem.

Red Hat partners are a vital part of Red Hat’s business and will continue to play an important role in the future. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished this year, and from where I sit, the future looks bright.

What does that future look like? I think it means more joint solutions that we can showcase and more success stories that will inspire our customers, partners, the industry and, just maybe, the world.

Learn more about the Red Hat partner program.


Mark Enzweiler is senior vice president of Global Channel Sales and Alliances at Red Hat.

 

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