Published: March 27th, 2017

LAS VEGAS – Red Hat, Inc. is looking for a new type of channel partner.

One that can drive a sale from discovery, to pilot, to build, to deploy and finally to scale. The only problem with this strategy is that, according to John Bleuer, Red Hat’s VP of global ISVs and IoT partners, this group of solution providers who have expertise through the entire lifecycle only make about approximately 10 per cent of the channel community today.

“This is the type of partner we are looking for. Those that can build, deploy, pilot and scale. It’s exactly what we are looking for and they have to have the ability to work with the line of business decision maker too and be able to talk their language and work with their development teams,” Bleuer said.

With that Red Hat, has launched a new partner program to change the behavior of the channel community to help them go deeper in a more collaborative way with the open source pioneer.

Called the Red Hat Application Platform Partner Initiative, it goes live for the U.S. market as a pilot with more than 12 channel partners who have customers working towards their digital transformation goals with open source. The goal of this program is to be launched formally later this year. And, for the Canadian market it will be up to the Red Hat Canada executives to decide if this program will be made available to Canadian solution providers.

This new program also augments Red Hats’ go-to market strategy with application development. The company already has a significant infrastructure side to its operation with storage running throughout the two areas of focus. Bleuer added that the marketplace is evolving to include not just cloud and mobility but also containers and an acceptance of cloud-native application development.

“The market is pivoting with digital transformation and our sweet spot is open source. The traditional channel is not services rich. It’s more of a dollar for dollar situation with training and installation services. It’s a difficult problem for them because the market is moving towards working with partners who can provide that whole product life cycle situation with build, pilot, deploy, run and upsell from there. This is a significant change,” Bleuer said.

Red Hat technologies featured in this new program are:

  • Red Hat JBoss Middleware;
  • Red Hat OpenShift; and
  • Red Hat Mobile Application Platform.

Paul Hinz, the senior director of product marketing for JBoss Middleware, told CDN that Red Hat partners can now go after an organizations entire stack with this program and market opportunity.

In the discovery phase, channel partners can go down any path with Red Hat products whereas most other partners can only address that open 30 per cent organizations have available for new adoptions or extending projects. The other 70 per cent of a typical IT budget is used to “keep the lights on” and is usually locked down and unavailable.

“Now these customers need to make sense of the new cloud opportunity and are looking at old legacy systems. Red Hat with OpenShift portfolio and the JBoss line they can now get to every piece,” Hinz said.

Hinz pegs this market opportunity for partners between $6 to $8 billion. But, he anticipates a new market dynamic starting to occur that will see channel partners getting a chance on several deals between $10 million to $50 million.

One example Hinz has seen recently was with a customer in The Netherlands. The channel partner involved started with a 10-day discovery period that resulted in a pilot that lasted 30 days. From there the customer was open to a larger 300-day implementation. When that showed positive results, it led to a 900-day full factory implementation. What occurred from that long implementation period was two other smaller deployments that ended up boosting the channel partners bottom line.

“This has the ability to spider out for a partner. This is a big shift and its similar to the shift that happened with client server from mainframes. Whole environments are getting re-architected and customers are paying for these moves from the savings they are getting from the original deployment. There is no capex associated with open source. So, the savings are pretty much paying for the new stuff,” Hinz said.