In answering what Red Hat has to offer partners, CEO Jim Whitehurst says:
So when we talk about containers, we talk about, here’s how, if a customer wants to implement containers, you can offer solutions to help them do that. And when we want to talk about OpenStack, well, here’s how you can offer an OpenStack solution in a supported way to run production applications. Here’s how you can actually deliver products and services around DevOps with our OpenShift and PaaS offerings.
This is in addition to “curating” open source and doing the usual commercial support backing. That is: selling know-how and services, I suppose: meat-ware. The further angle is giving partners an answer to the never ending questions about cloud and containers:
Well, we actually now have things they can go sell, to say, “oh, you want to implement containers, I can bring you a solution to do that.” There’s a lot of things people are buzzing about. We actually have tangible … products that can let our partners go out and meet our customers’ needs.
Also, this in timing when demand will hit for the new fangled stuff:
[O]ur partners need to invest now to build, for instance, OpenStack skills and OpenShift skills, so as their customers over the next year, 18 months, say, “Hey, I want to do this,” they’ll be ready to go.
It’s a little bit, I think with some partners, the thinking is, “If I don’t see the demand now, I’ll wait till I see it to develop the capabilities.” But if you wait till that happens, then it’s kind of too late to develop the capability at that time. So it’s kind of getting that right sequencing.
Also, some interesting effects of the pull nature of open source. When you let demand grow in open source and then commercial it, you have to spend less time selling the problem that validate the product (the solution) you have:
And so, we are less out there trying to validate these solutions to meet a problem, which is what traditional vendors are doing when they write something. We are much more saying these solutions clearly solve problems and they are doing it for leading-edge companies today. We offer versions that are consumable for traditional enterprise. It’s very much, not just solve the problem, it is, “Here’s how we can help you solve a problem that we know is there, using a technology that we know is the right technology.” That’s the power of user-driven innovation.
As you might guess from a company that had a partner conference, parent selling is a big deal:
In the last year, we were 68 percent channel, and we certainly hope and expect that will continue to expand this year.
How the pull nature of open source changes your partner strategy