Red Hat hunts for APAC partners to grow ‘aggressively’

Red Hat hunts for APAC partners to grow ‘aggressively’

Marjet Andriesse lays down Red Hat's plans for the channel and digitisation.

Marjet Andriesse (Red Hat)

Marjet Andriesse (Red Hat)

Credit: Red Hat

Red Hat’s recently promoted head of Asia Pacific (APAC), Marjet Andriesse, is on the lookout for new partners  to “aggressively” grow its presence in the region.

Andriesse moved up to the position in April after a short stint as vice president of sales, and, before that, nearly five years as Telstra's APAC managing director.

Now, after being in the role of VP and general manager of APAC at the open source software provider for the last nine months, Andriesse claims the company is in amazing shape.

“Being the world's leading provider of open source software solutions was one of the reasons that I wanted to join, because what an amazing position to have at this point in time in the industry,” she told Channel Asia.

While nine months is hardly enough time to cause monumental change, Andriesse’s time at the company so far has included building up its partner ecosystem past its base of around 5,000 partners in the APAC region, which includes resellers, systems integrators, independent software vendors and cloud partners.

“Our intent is to increase our teaming with our partners and the ecosystem so we can build software, provide services and deliver solutions to our customers," Andriesse said. “The most important thing is that we are doubling down on our ecosystem. Because if we want to grow aggressively, as we do, we cannot do that without our partners. 

"That also has to do with the fact that customers are becoming more and more demanding on the solutions that they need. That needs to be more industry specific. We will need the partner ecosystem to be on top of that.”

Andriesse said Red Hat is also looking at investing in other spaces to bolster up its hand in a range of different markets.

“If you go back to the history of Red Hat, we started off 20 years ago as a single product driving Linux and we had very large partners helping us to drive that growth," she said.

“Now that we are transitioning into a different portfolio — managed services and open hybrid cloud — we will also need a hybrid or a heterogeneous group of partners that can help us grow these different services and products that we want to push into the market.”

This all then flows on to customers, an element Andriesse considers central to Red Hat.

“If we don't listen properly to the customers, we will not be successful,” she said. “So, customer centricity is something that I'm really bringing to the table. Not to product push, but listening to what the customers need; this is where the open choice that we have is so relevant.”

Andriesse believes she has successfully tapped into this during her time in the role so far, bolstered in part by the vendor’s acquisition by IBM back in 2019.

“If you look at with our partnership with IBM, since the acquisition, the number of [global] clients using IBM's hybrid cloud platform, OpenShift, has grown almost four times,” she said.

“We do see that the customer satisfaction; the way that they like dealing with our propositions is increasing.”

Doubling down on digitisation

Throughout APAC, Andriesse says she has seen more workloads digitised up into the cloud than ever before.

“We see that today's businesses operate in complexity, higher data volumes and faster business cycles. So, we see a lot of growth here,” she said. “We've seen a lot of growth across the board, except obviously in China, which is always an issue because US China trade wars. But we've seen a large, faster pace of growth pace in ASEAN, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India.

“I must say the resilience of this region, even though COVID has hit, is second to none. And I think that is absolutely driven by the competition levels here. Many enterprises are embarking on that digital strategy and transformation journey.”

However, not every business has successfully taken up the digital transformation process. For Andriesse, the difference between those that succeed and those that struggle is dependent on those that make the most of their digital transformation.

“We see a lot in the beginning that enterprises struggle with; they begin their digital transformation as just a way to keep up with the industry peers, but that's not enough to ensure that you're going to be effective or even viable,” she said.

“We've seen that transformation requires a leadership that understands how organisations must continuously challenge the status quo. We like saying the goal isn't just to survive, it's to grow. And so, we harp on about this a lot.

“To successfully transform, people sometimes think, 'Oh, you just go to the cloud,' or you get some nice IT in there. But you really have to fundamentally change the way that you work and become comfortable with the change, because the change is going to be constant. You have to adapt your business and your business processes to continually experiment, learn and adapt.”

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