Ecosystem Leaders

Episode 161

December 22, 2022

#161 George Drapeau: Partnering in an Open Source World

#161 George Drapeau: Partnering in an Open Source World • Podcast • WorkSpan Community

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Joining Chip Rodgers on this episode of Ecosystem Aces is George Drapeau, Senior Director, Global Partner Solutions & Technology at Red Hat.

Chip and George discussed ecosystem functions in the open source industry, elaborating on the following topics:

  • Open Source as a Tech Solution
  • Community Collaboration Mindset
  • The Product Origination Process
  • Open Source Partnerships
  • Building Shared Solutions with Distributors
  • Partner Enablement and Deployment Mechanisms

Open Source as a Tech Solution

Open source software is software that is distributed with its source code, making it available for use, modification, and distribution with its original rights. George never thought  open source software would be adopted as enterprise technology the way it is today. Open source has gotten such a foothold in enterprise tech that companies are building their plans and technologies based around it. Even billion-dollar companies like Facebook have open source technology as their foundation.

What George loves the most about Red Hat is that it is indeed a 100% open source software - a unique characteristic in the market.  In this growing industry, Red Hat serves as a collection point for thousands of open source communities.

Community Collaboration Mindset

George shared that his team at Red Hat has stopped direct customer engagement and placed all their investment on partner enablement and solutions building. They create everything their field partners need to accelerate sales conversations.

Red Hat’s Community Collaboration Mindset takes partnership to a new level as their team doesn't own any code or assets, but relies purely on the synchronization of their product team and partner's product team. Red Hat works in a community-first mindset. Engineers go to open source communities to see what the community needs, stabilize data, and build commercially viable solutions.

Open Source Partnerships

Red Hat partners and co-sells with many different kinds of partners including global systems integrators, software vendors, database vendors, and hardware vendors for server-level services. Some of the most notable companies they're partnering with today include AWS, Microsoft, and Alibaba.

George shares that at the core of their partnerships, these companies use open source components for their commercially supported products.

Building Shared Solutions with Distributors

George's team is focusing on their global function, gearing their efforts towards distributor enablement as opposed to their previous strategy of Red Hat's distributors being geographically based resellers.

Red Hat's vision is to combine whole packages of solutions across multiple providers and to create true joint solutions for complete customer value. And their distributors, having the most exposure to the market, are their best partners for this.

With this shift, they see their existing distributors as new partners.  RedHat is giving them new awareness, roadmap sharing, and enablement to help their distributors understand the Red Hat Technology and know how to position their unique offerings.

"We're starting to see the distributors as large system integrators. Building solutions with them, getting them into the market, and building a repeatable mechanism," George said.

Partner Enablement and Deployment Mechanism

On the topic of partner enablement, George shared that success lies in Red Hat understanding the partner's messaging and vice versa.  This partner alignment is essential for open source companies since they are not customers' first contact during the sales process and are working on their partners' solutions.

They prepare the sales assets, secure the technical validation documents, teach the sales force if needed, and provide training on everything needed to prove the value of their offerings to the customers. The heart of their partner enablement is in scaling.  By doing this, they can focus on creating new solutions with partners.

"If we scale, we can spend most of our time working on new solutions to generate more potential revenue sources for partners," George said.

Red Hat is still deploying solutions on a case-to-case basis without a fully populated solutions catalog because they're working on their partner's solutions. They want to support their partners in how they present their offering to customers.

Wrapping Up

George shared some great insights into the world of open source solutions.

To learn more, follow George Drapeau on Linkedin to stay updated on his work with Red Hat.

Links & Resources

To contact the host, Chip Rodgers, with topic ideas, suggest a guest, or join the conversation about modern partnering, he can be reached on Twitter, LinkedIn, or send Chip an email at:

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