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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Red Hat’s ecosystem initiative gains momentum with new partnerships with SAP, Oracle, and Google Cloud

Open Hybrid Cloud, a strategy for architecting, developing, and operating a hybrid mix of applications, delivering a flexible cloud experience with the agility, stability, security, control, and scale required for digital business transformation, is the North Star for IBM and Red Hat. Open Hybrid Cloud is a computing model that combines the benefits of public and private clouds and on-premises and edge infrastructure. It is a complex paradigm to comprehend, and Open Hybrid Cloud is a multifaceted and challenging undertaking for all organizations. However, one of the critical advantages of an Open Hybrid cloud is that it enables organizations to leverage the power of a partner ecosystem. And empowering a robust ecosystem that delivers Open Hybrid Cloud is the guiding principle of Stefanie Chiras, SVP, Red Hat Partner Ecosystem Success. In a discussion with me, she said, “Red Hat’s strategy on Open Hybrid Cloud is dependent upon our ecosystem; the value of it only gets delivered with our ecosystem. And as we tout the value of the flexibility, the scalability, having a secure, security-focused mindset, being driven by the platform, but that optionality that comes with it is only delivered through the ecosystem.”

Red Hat’s ecosystem initiative is powering on with three key announcements:

1. Red Hat partnership with SAP for RISE with SAP
2. Red Hat partnership with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
3. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform on Google Cloud Marketplace

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IBM launches Partner Plus experience designed to accelerate partner business velocity

Hybrid cloud is non-optional, security is a priority, automation is critical, and AI platform adoption is when not if. Cloud automation, hybrid cloud orchestration, and cloud cost management are imposing a daunting challenge on the channel. As the cloud adoption landscape continues to shift, each IT supplier has been evaluating and evolving its partner program to drive sales and profitability for its partners. IBM has been working on developing its program since May 2020, when it introduced Build, Sell, and Service tracks. However, the evolution took on urgency after Arvind Krishna, Chairman, and CEO, of IBM, declared the ecosystem as one of the company's key priorities. As a result, IBM has increased its specialized resources by 50 percent and technical resources by 30 percent to support the partner ecosystem. Recently, IBM announced its new program called Partner Plus. IBM PartnerWorld transitioned to IBM Partner Plus experience on January 4, 2023, with the new incentive program taking effect on April 1, 2023.

Enablement, empowerment, ecosystem, and experiences are the unwritten principles driving IBM Partner Plus in transforming the rules of partner engagement. Kate Woolley, General Manager of IBM Ecosystem, says, “A thriving ecosystem is critical to underpin the success of any technology company, and we believe the underpinnings of this must be an open and inclusive ecosystem. We can reach and do more through and with our ecosystem. As a result, we have put our partners at the center of IBM’s go-to-market strategy.”

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Red Hat Partner Program accelerating partner business velocity

Markets behave logically, and therefore channel partners exist for logical reasons. Channel partners are essential to intercepting demand, connecting technology to business outcomes, enabling efficiencies, and providing customer relevance. A sizable majority of IT industry sales are concluded through partners and are not likely to slow down soon. As we emerge from the pandemic, it is clear that the cloud has transformed the IT industry by its ability to provide agile transformation, resiliency, and adaptability. The market has shifted from discrete purchase-and-deploy deals aligned with refresh cycles to a 'hybrid IT' approach that blends a limited number of on-premise assets with a growing range of on-demand services. Application modernization, migration, cloud consulting services, and cloud managed services. Containers have become the PoC beachheads, small to enterprise firms are building the Edge. Techaisle data shows that the need for updated understandings of channel management imperatives has expanded beyond the tactical questions of sales or management metrics or marketing activities. There is a reason why I have written a long preamble before unfolding the main point of the Techaisle Take.

Red Hat is a platform company whose goal is to continue to deliver platforms and the relevant pieces around it that enable a customer to have the maximum flexibility and core capabilities for security, stability, and resiliency. In addition, these customers should be able to deploy applications faster and at scale. Therefore, its open hybrid cloud initiative has to have as broad a partner ecosystem as possible to deliver on Red Hat's promise. Red Hat is still Red Hat retaining its independence and neutrality, but its partner program is changing to tackle the ecosystem challenges. Red Hat has been listening to its partners. Red Hat's Stefanie Chiras, Sr. Vice-President, Partner Ecosystem Success is focusing on partner success. She and her team recognize that partners contribute to creating, shaping, defining demand – in some cases by making customers aware of a new category or product, in others by helping to define solution requirements or specifications. In the hybrid world, the solution deployment is based not on a specified hardware/software configuration but the orchestration of multiple on-demand services integrated with existing legacy systems - a liberating factor for the partner ecosystem in a meaningful sense.

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IBM Acquires Red Hat – What does it mean and to whom

IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat makes sense on several levels: it adds a high-growth software portfolio to boost software and recurring revenue, and provides IBM with a bit of a ‘halo’ in the tech community, as it now controls the industry’s leading Open Source supplier.

Moving down a level, though, why might this acquisition matter – and to whom? Techaisle’s take on the most important angles that shaped and will determine the success of the deal. (Download Techaisle Take report)

Who does this matter to?

Imagine you are an enterprise with a large legacy infrastructure, possibly in a regulated industry (like financial services or government). You see that IT service delivery is advancing faster outside your walls than within your firm, as other businesses aggressively adopt cloud, Agile, DevOps and containers.

You are motivated to try to integrate these advanced platforms/products/methodologies into your environment as well – to capitalize on the advantages that they can deliver, or because you’re afraid that if you don’t act you’ll be left behind, watching competitors introduce new IT-enabled capabilities faster and at lower cost than you can.

In an organization like this, IT executives are unlikely to want to dive headlong into a deep/committed relationship with a public cloud provider like AWS. They will understand the importance of building a multi-cloud, hybrid IT infrastructure, but will want to manage that environment internally, with a focus on existing capabilities (both installed products and skills). “Cloud first” won’t be a living mandate – it might describe an approach to new and non-critical applications, but won’t be a serious consideration for core systems of record.

Advantages (and some potential pitfalls) of a combined IBM/Red Hat

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