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Going purple: what the leadership mix of Big Blue and Red Hat reveals

Going purple: what the leadership mix of Big Blue and Red Hat reveals

What can be gained from Red Hat's culture and IBM's experience

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IBM’s recent Think Digital 2020 event has shown what the new leadership shakeup at Big Blue reveals by bringing in fresh blood from Red Hat, new analysis has found.

The event demonstrated that both companies bring out the positive qualities of each other and are "better together" through the combination of Red Hat’s culture and “spirit of innovation” in regard to open technology and IBM’s industry experience, according to analysis conducted by research firm Technology Business Research (TBR).

“IBM Think Digital 2020 made the case that IBM and Red Hat are better together — better together in mixed infrastructure, better together in cloud and AI, and better together in IBM’s and Red Hat’s ways of working,” TBR claimed.

The two companies being “better together” refers to the leadership change at IBM in January 2020, with Arvind Krishna becoming IBM’s new CEO, as well as James ‘Jim’ Whitehurst making the move from Red Hat CEO and IBM senior vice president to IBM president.

“The former can assure customers of the IBM offering road map built on Red Hat’s engine while the latter can instill the operational best practices for managing people, processes and financial metrics for a technology world built increasingly on open platforms and recurring revenue subscription models,” TBR noted.

The event also highlighted how businesses are going through "a period of immense change" with the coronavirus pandemic, to which TBR said this was metaphorical of IBM with its own experience of evolution occurring in the background with its leadership change.

“Much of IBM’s messaging centred on the themes of openness and flexibility, including the ability to quickly pivot and adapt to change," the research firm said.

"These themes likely would have been just as prominent in the absence of COVID-19, but the difference now is that adapting to change and evolving quickly are now more relevant and resonate with greater clarity on both personal and business levels.”

In addition, the event revealed Big Blue is moving from what TBR referred to as Chapter 1 of the cloud, where innovation focused on the consumer experience, to Chapter 2, which focuses on the availability of large quantities of data in enterprise IT and its usage in new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and 5G.

“The result is data availability and diversity at massive scale, and now mission-critical applications and the 80 per cent of the data stored in concert with those applications will be extended out to various cloud and edge instances as enterprises become digital businesses, transforming from the inside out,” TBR said.

“This shift in approach from outside in to inside out was highlighted by Mark Foster, senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services, who also spoke about the Cognitive Enterprise, a term coined by IBM to define its next-generation business model, which is enabled from the inside out.

“That inside-out transformation requires more than just Red Hat innovation curation from open-source communities. It also requires the trust layer IBM has built, run and operated for its clients for decades.”

However, the outside in approach is expected to be fostered by Red Hat’s reputation for transparency among developer communities by opening up data vaults to extract value as enterprises move towards digital innovation, TBR added.

The research firm also drew parallels between the shift in IBM’s culture and that seen in its product offerings, with its Z mainframes also pivoting to find a way to stay relevant in the hybrid cloud space and was just one of multiple product updates mentioned at Think.


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