Ecosystem Success Day: Key event for Red Hat partner network

On Thursday, at the Omni Hotel in South Boston minutes away from the convention centre where all the Red Hat Summit keynotes, exhibits and press announcements had happened over the past two days (see links below), an invite-only event took place for a group that plays an essential role at Red Hat – its partner network.

Known as Ecosystem Success Day, it was a “chance to exhale after the big event, gather the family around the table” as well as have face time with senior leaders, according to Stefanie Chiras, senior vice president of the company’s global partner ecosystem division.

Aside from Chiras, other senior Red Hat execs in attendance for the half-day meeting were company president and CEO Matt Hicks, Larry Stack, executive vice president and chief revenue officer, and Ashesh Badani, senior vice president and chief product officer at Red Hat.

Chiras, who was named to her current post in November 2021 after heading up the firm’s platform business group and the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) business unit, stated at the time that partners are the “core” to the company’s open hybrid cloud strategy.

“My goal is to execute a unified approach to how we support, enable and drive value for our partner ecosystem building upon the capabilities across the Red Hat product portfolio,” she said.

“This includes helping internal Red Hat teams engage with partners in new and meaningful ways, fostering opportunities for multi-partner collaboration and establishing clear paths for partner growth, whether partners are building, selling, or offering services with Red Hat. Scaling the strength of our partner ecosystem is absolutely critical so that we continue to add value to the customer experience.”

In an interview with Channel Daily News, she was asked whether her goals had been met, and she said, for the most part, they have been.

Key among them, said Chiras, was transitioning from a strategy she admits was “quite fragmented in how we supported our partners and engaged with them” to a more centralized model.

“We have teams in every geo (geographic region), we have teams that cover all partner types globally and we have a centralized team for programs, for transformation and for ecosystem development.”

Becoming more centralized has allowed the company to drive cross-partner collaboration, she said. “I think as the ecosystem has evolved, we’re seeing much, much more of what I call multi partner solutions or multi partner go-to-market motions, where we do a build with one partner, and the go-to-market is through a different partner, or there are multiple partners involved.

“Having this team be centrally structured, allows us the opportunity to hand stitch the connections between key partners. And then we have the execution arm down into the geos.”

One such move that aligns to the centralized model, Chiras said, was the announcement at last week’s conference of the launch of the Red Hat Ecosystem Catalogue that both end-user customers and partners can access and search.

A set of criteria has been established that will need to be met in order for an offering or service to appear. The goal of the catalogue, she said, is to provide a spotlight for the “solutions that we co-create with partners,” adding that “customers can explore offerings that span hardware, software and cloud services, all from one source.”

On a personal note, Chiras, who graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and went on to earn a Master of Science and PhD from UC Santa Barbara, where she specialized in electronic materials, was asked if, while studying, she ever anticipated she would one day run a technology partner ecosystem.

“I can safely say, I did not. I am a metallurgist, which seems crazy.”

Describing her career as an interesting journey, she said while she enjoyed the R&D side of product development, nothing is better than seeing an offering in the “hands of someone that is using it.

“That’s where the excitement is. You can write patents and do your experiments, but when you seeing someone using it, that is when it really makes a difference. That’s what attracted me to move into the product management and business side when I led server divisions or RHEL here at Red Hat.”

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in freelance journalism. He has extensive experience as a reporter, feature writer and editor and has been covering technology-related issues for more than 30 years.

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