Is Red Hat’s channel strategy paying off in Australia?

Is Red Hat’s channel strategy paying off in Australia?

The open source software vendor is beginning to see its channel business blossom

Red Hat Australia's channel chief, Colin Garro

Red Hat Australia's channel chief, Colin Garro

Red Hat’s Australian operation is aiming to see a 50/50 split between direct and indirect revenues by the end of the company’s current financial year.

If the company’s local business does, indeed, reach this equilibrium between channel and non-channel sales, it will have been helped along by the local team’s ongoing efforts to invest time and money into the Australian IT channel.

“The channel business has been growing consistently now,” Red Hat Australia’s sales and channel director, Colin Garro, told ARN. “From a go-to-market perspective, we’ve deliberately set out to grow our channel business.”

When Garro began working at Red Hat Australia in 2012, a large part of the open source software vendor’s local revenue was from direct sales, rather than channel-based activities.

Now, the local business is starting to fall into line with the company’s global income mix which, according to Red Hat’s management business unit vice president, Joe Fitzgerald, sees about 70 per cent of revenues come from its partners in the channel.

For Garro, much of the shift in the local market can be attributed to conscious decision by the company’s leadership to “contribute” to the channel in the local market.

“There is an absolute shift towards growing the channel business, and that’s absolutely a global strategy. This is the direction where we’re moving the business,” said Garro.

“From the local perspective, over the last 12 months, a lot of investment has gone into the channel business – whether that’s people and resources,” he said, revealing that the company added two solution architects to its local ranks this financial year, both of whom are focused purely on the channel business.

“It’s not just customer-facing solution architects now; we’ve got channel-facing solution architects,” Garro said. “They are there to help with channel enablement, to help the channel co-sell.

“So, we’re there joined at the hip, helping them [channel partners] sell to our collective customers. And that’s certainly been a very focused investment from our perspective, directed clearly at the channel,” he said.

While Garro talks up the increase of Red Hat’s channel business in Australia and its growing numbers of partners in the local market, he stresses that this does not mean the company is aiming get as many partners into its multi-tiered partner programme as possible.

“For me it’s not always about the quantity of channel partners we have, it’s always been about the quality of channel partners. If I was to run a report now, I’d say there would probably be hundreds of channel partners in A/NZ,” Said Garro.

“My focus has always been, and always will be, to be very specific and focused on who will want to go deep with, from a partnership perspective,” he said.

Globally, Red Hat has been seeing its fortunes rise steadily over the past several years, as the awareness of open source technology in both public and private sector business spheres increases, and this is seeing a shift in how channel partners arrive at reselling Red Hat solutions.

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Tags open sourceRed HatColin GarroJoe Fitzgerald

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