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Red Hat bullish on APAC growth, targets automakers and SMEs

Red Hat is expanding its reach into smaller firms as well as the automotive and other industries to fuel its ‘high-double digit’ growth in the region

Red Hat remains bullish about its growth prospects in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region amid growing sovereignty interests from enterprises that are turning to open source software amid uncertain geopolitical situations.

Speaking to Computer Weekly on the sidelines of Red Hat Summit 2024 in Denver, Marjet Andriesse, the company’s senior vice-president and general manager for APAC, noted that with the tensions between major powers, organisations in the region have mulling over their workload placement strategies.

Organisations, Andriesse added, are thinking if they should host workloads on major hyperscalers or run their own private clouds, which plays to Red Hat’s strengths as a proponent of hybrid cloud deployments.

“It makes our life a lot easier, because we’ve doubled down on open hybrid cloud, which means we don't care whether the workload is on-premises, in a private cloud or in a public cloud. You can run it anywhere you want,” she said.

That flexibility, Andriesse said, has enabled Red Hat to grow its APAC business in the “high double-digit” range, with a good balance of growth between mature markets like Japan and emerging markets like Indonesia.

At the same time, Red Hat has expanded its footprint in government, manufacturing and automotive, going beyond its strongholds in the financial services and telecoms industries.

Andriesse said the automotive sector is of particular interest to Red Hat, given that markets like China, Japan and South Korea are home to the some of the world’s automotive powerhouses. “We’re working closely with our ecosystem to see what we can do in the automotive industry, and so we've broadened our reach, which helps to fuel our growth,” she added.

In recent years, Red Hat has also been targeting small and midsize firms in its commercial business that’s fully driven by partners. Andriesse said the company has invested in its partner ecosystem to get them up to speed with Red Hat’s offerings and address the needs of the diverse APAC market.

“Even with AI coming, there is no one vendor that can do everything, so it's all about scaling through our ecosystem and we are doubling down on that,” she added.

Building capabilities

Through its OpenShift container orchestration platform, Red Hat has been eyeing business from organisations that are looking to modernise their legacy applications.

But technology aside, there are organisations in APAC that still lack foundational capabilities in site reliability engineering and DevSecOps to support their application modernisation efforts, said Vajira Weerasekera, vice-president at Red Hat’s APAC office of technology.

“They've come from traditional software development and the waterfall model, but they often struggle when they get to DevSecOps,” Weerasekera said, adding that Red Hat has organised workshops for such customers to get them attuned to DevSecOps and agile development practices.

During the workshops, the company had also helped APAC customers kick off their application modernisation journeys and determine the right mix of modernisation approaches, whether it’s lift-and-shift or building cloud-native applications.

For organisations making the leap into artificial intelligence (AI), Weerasekera said Red Hat is making it easier for them to infuse AI capabilities into their applications through OpenShift AI, a machine learning operations (MLOps) platform for running AI models across distributed environments.

“We’ve seen adoption of OpenShift AI across industries, where customers have implemented chatbots in some uses cases, and predictive and generative AI in others,” he added.

As Red Hat doubles down on AI, like almost every technology supplier does today, the company is also engaging more with business leaders in the region.

“The last six years have changed the DNA of our sales force,” Andriesse said. “We need to go deep into the technology, but our sales teams also need to be able to build a bridge between what the customer needs and the technology that can help build that bridge, as well as the total cost of ownership.”

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