Red Hat says it is aiming for 100% channel sales in its commercial business.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

March 22, 2022

3 Min Read
Business handoff

Red Hat says it is transferring is direct commercial business over to channel partners.

The open source vendor’s enterprise business comprises a smaller number of blue chip companies, while commercial covers everything else.


Red Hat’s Santiago Madruga

“On commercial, our aspiration is that we do 100% through the partners,” said Santiago Madruga, VP of presales and services for EMEA at Red Hat. “On enterprise, we will have a degree of flexibility, but our strong preference is to also do business through and with partners in those accounts as well.”

Madruga says Red Hat has been evolving in that direction “over the last years”. Now in 2022, “we’ve adjusted our plans to emphasise this and accelerate on it. We are now working with all different types of partners to reinforce our relationships, and even looking to invest more in relationships.”

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Red Hat will help drive the shift with changes to incentives for salespeople. Madruga also said that the company wants to collaborate earlier with partners on their business plans.

“We want to do everything we can through partners. But it’s even more important that we do everything with partners. We want to work from an earlier stage of the business development with partners to confirm those joint value propositions that make more sense to the end customers.

“It’s not just selling together; it’s about servicing the customers together for the years to come and evolving the technology and keeping innovating together. We feel like we are at the door of a new stage in how we work with partners,” he said.


Red Hat is also looking to replace more traditional go-to-market avenues with a focus instead on partner ecosystems.

“If you asked me for one major difference now versus, say, two months ago, I would say our investment to develop relationships with ecosystems,” said Madruga. “We are looking for ecosystems that are disrupting industries, that are leveraging the power of the cloud, to make something different for the customer. So we are putting a lot of emphasis there.

“We are not only wanting to bring forth one-to-one partnerships with partners. [But] try to join ecosystems that are grouping different types of partners,” he continued. “Where we can contribute to bring the power and the benefits of open source technology to those ecosystems, to develop the market and ultimately the end customer.”

These include ISVs and system integrators. But in nearly in every case Red Hat wants cloud companies to be part of its ecosystem.

“Typically, those are new players that are born in the cloud, but still addressing enterprise class needs,” says Madruga. “And when we say enterprise-class, the solutions need to work on hybrid cloud models, which is something we can help with.”

Red Hat recently expanded its training and certification for partners in order to advance their skills journey with open hybrid cloud technologies. Red Hat partners can now access self-paced online courses at no cost to develop skills around solutions such as cloud, containers, virtualization and automation.

This also includes extending enablement materials for partners acting as customer-facing IT support, consultants, solutions architects, system administrators and developers. Red Hat Training courses that previously were only available to customers are now open to partners with no fee required.

“We see our role different than what we saw it in the past; the partners are going to be driving the value for the customer. And we are here to help the partners,” says Madruga.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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