IBM partner ecosystem chief reveals next steps, Red Hat plans

IBM's partner ecosystem strategy has entered a new phase under David La Rose, who said extending Red Hat into new markets will be among his top priorities; more news from the week.

The new IBM partner ecosystem chief has revealed plans to maintain the momentum of his predecessor while pushing Red Hat into new markets.

Big Blue in late July appointed David La Rose as general manager of IBM partner ecosystem, replacing John Teltsch, who now serves as general manager of IBM systems sales. Teltsch led IBM's efforts to transform its partner ecosystem catering to both the vendor's traditional partners and next-generation partner business models. Taking the reins, La Rose will continue cultivating the ecosystem approach Teltsch put into motion. La Rose also aims to scale Red Hat into new geographic markets and customer segments. IBM closed its $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat on July 9.

"The transformation that I have seen in that 3-year period under [Teltsch's] leadership has been phenomenal. It is not [finished] yet. There is still a lot more that we can continue to do to," La Rose said. He has spent about 25 years at IBM, most recently serving as managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

La Rose said his top priorities are the following:

1. Maintaining sales growth: He said his No. 1 priority is to continue delivering growth through IBM ecosystem partners. Delivering sales in the third quarter is going to be critical, he noted.

2. Leveraging Red Hat: La Rose will look to rapidly scale Red Hat into countries in which the open source software firm currently lacks presence (more on this below).

3. Continuing ecosystem transformation: Picking up where Teltsch left off, La Rose will further develop strategies around recruiting next-gen partners, align partners to IBM's portfolio, and advance IBM's hybrid and multi-cloud goals.

John TeltschJohn Teltsch

4. Building people and culture: La Rose will also look to bolster the people and culture within the IBM ecosystem, "empowering the IBM teams and others to make the right decisions for their clients every day," he said.

In addition, Teltsch noted that IBM will make new investments in partner enablement, especially around technical skills. "I think the market is demanding a deeper level of technical skills, which I think we have to deliver," he said.

Teltsch's new role

As general manager of IBM systems sales, Teltsch aims to transform IBM's current go-to-market strategy, which he said will rely more heavily on the partner ecosystem. About 75% of IBM's Power systems and 50% of storage run through the channel, according to Teltsch. He said he plans to ramp up the smaller percentage of IBM z mainframes and software sales that currently involve IBM partners.

One area of focus will be revamping the systems business's partner recruitment strategy. "We have always had a hardware channel … but we have really never had a new recruitment strategy around cognitive systems, our storage business and even our Z mainframes," he said.

IBM-Red Hat plans: Maintaining independence, scaling the business

Since revealing its plans to buy Red Hat, IBM has stated the vendors will remain separate organizations. That means Red Hat will keep an independent channel ecosystem and channel program, and Red Hat partners that want to do business with IBM will have to meet PartnerWorld requirements.

David La RoseDavid La Rose

"There are no foreseeable plans to integrate the Red Hat partners into the IBM partner plan, or vice versa," La Rose said.

IBM is currently focused on extending Red Hat into geographical markets the company has never tapped. IBM operates today in about 170 countries, while Red Hat does business in about 42, La Rose said. International expansion will involve the help of IBM's top distributor partners, which include Ingram Micro, Arrow Electronics and Tech Data Corp.

"I think … the low-hanging fruit for us here is to easily scale Red Hat into places that they are not playing today," La Rose said.

IBM's hybrid and multi-cloud opportunity

Both Teltsch and La Rose said IBM is well-positioned today to target enterprises' move to cloud, thanks in part to the Red Hat acquisition. La Rose said around 80% of enterprises' core applications have yet to migrate to cloud, be it on premises or in a public cloud environment.

"Eighty percent is still sitting in the enterprise, and it is difficult to move. [Enterprise customers] are now looking at IBM as an enterprise player that now has a full end-to-end hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategy to help them accelerate [the move of] the critical back-end systems into … cloud," La Rose said.

Earlier this month, IBM launched Cloud Paks, a product set designed to help customers migrate, integrate and modernize applications in multi-cloud environments.

In addition to hybrid and multi-cloud, Teltsch noted that there is a partner opportunity in the pervasive focus on cybersecurity and IoT.

Rubrik update opens service opportunities

The latest update to Rubrik's data management technology will help channel partners expand their customer engagements from basic backup discussions to conversations around advanced data protection, cloud and DevOps.

That's the view of Scott Trinque, president and CTO at EchoStor Technologies, a data center services and solutions provider based in Hopkinton, Mass. He said Rubrik's Andes 5.1 update, which includes new data governance and disaster recovery (DR) applications, will "allow us to offer advanced services."

In data governance, Rubrik Polaris Sonar flags personally identifiable information, using machine learning algorithms to find sensitive data. Polaris AppFlows, meanwhile, converts VM snapshots into Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instances. The tool aims to automate DR tasks such as orchestrating failover.

"We are talking a lot more about cloud these days," Trinque said, noting that the Andes 5.1 update encourages a "deeper discussion around cloud and how people are using it."

The Rubrik expansion also lets EchoStor provide a full portfolio to a customer who wants to talk about DevOps, he added.

"We are constantly having DevOps discussions right now," Trinque said. He said those customers are asking how to put DevOps into production and back it up.

Other news

  • Research from Mimecast Ltd., an email and data security company based in Lexington, Mass., found IT resellers and consulting among the top industry sectors subject to cyberattacks. Mimecast, which focused on industries targeted from April to June 2019, discovered that IT resellers, a category the company said includes managed service providers, experienced 82 attacks per user during that period, while the management and consulting sector experienced 61 attacks per user. The two sectors ranked third and fourth, respectively, in Mimecast's research, with professional education and software/SaaS occupying the first two positions.
  • Deloitte has partnered with Splunk to offer automated security monitoring and response capabilities. Deloitte's new offerings combine its Fusion Managed Services with Splunk Phantom, the big data vendor's security orchestration, automation and response platform, according to Deloitte.
  • InterVision Systems, an IT service provider, has hired Ray Panahon as head of technology for media and entertainment. Panahon previously lead technical operations at Riot Games, developer of League of Legends and an e-sports league operator. InterVision's media and entertainment client roster includes National Geographic, Bunim Murray Productions, Hello Sunshine, Activision Publishing Inc. and KVIE, according to the company. Channel partners have found a niche addressing video game developers' IT infrastructure demands, in some cases providing hyper-converged infrastructure offerings.
  • Cloud communications vendor Intermedia has acquired Telax, a contact-center-as-a-service software vendor based in Toronto.
  • Actian, a provider of data management, analytics and integration tools, unveiled a new global partner program. The program targets resellers, distributors and systems integrators, Actian said. The company said it also increased its referral incentive to 20%, available until the end of 2019.
  • Synnex Corp. has inked a distribution pact with Critical Start, a managed detection and response (MDR) services provider. The deal makes MDR services available to U.S. channel partners through Synnex and Synnex's Westcon-Comstor division. MDR services are beginning to find traction in the channel.
  • SnapLogic, an application and data integration vendor, said it added 14 new channel partners in the EMEA market.

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