Operatr.IO is a Melbourne-based tech startup. Our Apache Kafka® management, monitoring and learning tool, kPow, is now available on Red Hat Marketplace. If you, like us, are a startup or SME with an enterprise-quality software solution, Red Hat Marketplace is an excellent platform to explore.
For businesses like mine, cloud marketplaces provide a simple, secure and frictionless way to sell products and reach new markets. In this article, I’ll walk you through our experience with the Red Hat Marketplace onboarding process, discuss the challenges we faced along the way and the key benefits of becoming a Red Hat product partner.
What is the Red Hat Marketplace?
Red Hat Marketplace is an open cloud marketplace for enterprise customers to discover, try, purchase, deploy, and manage certified container-based software across environments – public and private, cloud and on-premises. Built-in collaboration with Red Hat and IBM, Red Hat Marketplace is designed to meet the unique needs of developers, procurement teams and IT leaders through simplified and streamlined access to popular enterprise software. All solutions available through the marketplace have been tested and certified for Red Hat OpenShift, allowing them to run anywhere OpenShift runs. A containers-based approach helps ensure that applications can be run and managed the exact same way, regardless of the underlying cloud infrastructure. This gives companies the flexibility to run their workloads on-premises or in any public or private cloud with improved portability and confidence that their applications and data are protected against vendor lock-in.
The Red Hat Marketplace onboarding process
The Red Hat Marketplace onboarding process is straightforward, partner-centric, supported, and responsive.
Following our initial call with a Red Hat Marketplace business development associate, we were paired with an onboarding team, including an onboarding lead and partner relationship manager. We were also set up with an Operatr.IO-IBM specific slack channel to manage communications in real-time throughout the onboarding process.
The onboarding process includes:
- Onboarding kick-off call
- Vendor Account creation and set up in the online Provider Workbench
- The signing of Legal Contracts and Vendor Account set up (EFT Forms and W9)
- Creation of Listing Content and Edition Information
- Customer Support readiness and set up of the Lifecycle API
- Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification and testing
Once you’ve completed these steps, your free trial will go live, followed by your paid listing approximately seven days later. The whole process can take as little as 4-6 weeks. It took us about six months with a three-month break in the middle while we pushed a major product update.
A Person and a PDF for everything
The partner relationship with Red Hat is highly collaborative. A dedicated onboarding team and Slack channel offered support and helped to resolve potential issues swiftly.
The onboarding process wasn’t seamless, but when something went wrong or just wasn’t working (we had some issues with the container certification process), we’d touch base with our onboarding team. The team worked with us to solve problems or further directed us for additional support.
Most of the challenges we faced during the onboarding process were due to our location, time zone, and business capacity. We’re a lean, bootstrapped startup operating out of Australia. Our Red Hat and IBM teams are in North America and India – flexibility on both sides was essential.
We run a tight ship in terms of staff, and I oversaw the onboarding process in addition to my regular workload. As it happened, onboarding started during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne, leaving me juggling business as usual, a product rebrand and two kids under five who were in my care 24 hours a day.
The thing that impressed me most about the onboarding process was that nothing was a problem. People got up early, stayed up late, deadlines were delayed, we took a break from the process to push a major product update, but most importantly, when we bumped up against any significant issues, we got the support we needed to move forward.
Creating partner success
Our product listing is live on Red Hat Marketplace, and we’re now in the Go To Market (GTM) phase. We have a dedicated Red Hat Marketplace partner relationship manager who works with us to build and deliver our GTM plan.
Creating partner success is at the heart of everything our partnership relationship manager does. She works directly with us to ensure our product can thrive in the marketplace and coordinates marketing, sales and product management support.
We’ve also been provided with sales templates, drop-in marketing assets, training webinars, co-marketing funds and opportunities for podcasts, case studies, and thought leadership content.
Is Red Hat Marketplace for you?
For startups like us, the top three benefits of becoming a partner on Red Hat Marketplace are:
1. Product validation
Red Hat Marketplace offers streamlined and simplified access to certified enterprise software. Listing on Red Hat Marketplace has helped validate kPow as a quality software solution. This validation is accentuated further through the Red Hat OpenShift certification and testing process, which helps reassure customers that a partner solution provides more agility, simplicity and reliability in deploying cloud-native applications and infrastructure technologies with OpenShift.
2. Marketing and sales support
The marketing and sales support provided by Red Hat Marketplace allows us to create co-marketing campaigns and find and nurture sales leads easily. Its ‘Campaign in a Box’ enables us to design communications and marketing assets more efficiently and tap into potential co-marketing funds. Red Hat Marketplace creates opportunities for us to reach new customers through sharing our Kafka expertise in Red Hat-hosted webinars and blogs.
In addition, IBM and Red Hat sales teams and solutions architects actively seek opportunities to introduce our product to potential clients and are regularly briefed on our software.
3. Partners, not sellers
Most significant is the person-centric approach that IBM and Red Hat adopted for product partners. While I can’t comment on the client-side experience, the onboarding and GTM initiatives have been pleasant and efficient. When our listing went live, our onboarding team genuinely celebrated the milestone with us, reinforcing that a lot of effort goes into building successful long-term partnerships.
My final thoughts? If you are a software startup or SME developing and selling enterprise container-based software, I highly recommend that you explore becoming a product partner on Red Hat Marketplace. If you have any questions about the onboarding process, our experience so far, or would like an introduction to our Red Hat business development associate, please contact me via LinkedIn or sales @ operatr.io.
To learn about Red Hat Marketplace and kPow, check out the following links:
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We know how easy Apache Kafka® can be with the right tools. We built kPow to make the developer experience with Kafka simple and enjoyable, and to save businesses time and money while growing their Kafka expertise. A single Docker container or JAR file that installs in minutes, kPow’s unique Kafka UI gives you instant visibility of your clusters and immediate access to your data.
kPow is compatible with Apache Kafka+1.0, Red Hat AMQ Streams, Amazon MSK, Instaclustr, Aiven, Vectorized, Azure Event Hubs, Confluent Platform, and Confluent Cloud.
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