Go frictionless or become irrelevant: Red Hat exec
By Goh Thean Eu November 9, 2015
- Companies see the need, but do not know how to do it
- Growing disconnect between enterprise IT and personal IT
MOST companies in Malaysia want to evolve and move their information technology (IT) towards becoming ‘frictionless,’ but do not know how to go about doing it, said a senior Red Hat Inc executive.
“Most customers realise that they need to evolve and they need to do it as soon as possible, but a lot of them don’t know how,” Red Hat general manager of cloud management strategy Alessandro Perilli (pic above) told Digital News Asia (DNA) during a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur.
“I believe that we, as a vendor, have a big responsibility in terms of providing guidance to our customers in helping them make that transition,” he added.
Over the past few years, Red Hat – a pioneer in bringing the open source Linux operating system (OS) to the enterprise – has been talking about the concept of ‘frictionless IT’ and why is it important for enterprises to adopt it.
Frictionless IT is about having an enterprise IT system that is fast and agile, and also shaped by the experienced offered by modern consumer-grade public cloud services.
“Today, there is a growing disconnect between enterprise IT and personal IT,” said Perilli.
“While enterprise IT is stable and reliable, it is, in most cases, slow to procure and complex to use, and can be frustrating.
“Personal IT is evolving into becoming instantaneously available, easy to understand, and very fast at executing the tasks it is supposed to execute – think about services and applications like Gmail, Dropbox, Uber, Airbnb or even Facebook.
“There’s a big difference between the user experience of enterprise IT and personal IT. Over time, end-users will be asking the key question: ‘If my personal IT is so easy to use, why does my enterprise IT have to be so frustrating?'
“They will be expecting the same experience they have with personal IT, in their workplace,” he added.
Going frictionless can not only help an organisation improve efficiency and margins, but also help it attract talents, according to Perilli.
He noted that today’s young adults are digital natives, and have grown up with a completely different of expectations when it comes to technology use.
“To them, plugging a cable in a network rack is just drawing a line to Amazon Web Services ... to them, IT should be simple and work quickly,” said Perilli.
“At some point in the near future, these kids will land more stable jobs in large enterprises. It will not be just one or two individuals, it will be a whole generation, and it will involve every department of an organisation, from marketing to human resources to engineering,” he added.
Perilli said organisations need to evolve fast in order to stay relevant and attract these types of talents, because if they do not, the organisations that do become more frictionless will be able to hire them instead.
“That’s when these companies which didn’t change will lose their relevance, and eventually die,” he declared.
Vendors needs to change too
The change needed to make the frictionless IT environment a reality should not just come from customers, but also from vendors – including Red Hat itself, Perilli admitted.
“For example, on our side, we need to change licensing and pricing models, as well as documentation, and even more technical things like how our products are installed,” he said.
“Today, many of our products have to be installed by a common interface or via manual procedures. But there are a number of products that we are [developing] that are going to be delivered as virtual appliances.
“There are other products that are being re-engineered today to become ‘containers’ – that’s another way to become more frictionless,” he added.
Containerisation isolates Linux applications, sandboxing them in a virtual zone with just the required OS components they need to run.
Perilli said that with a container-based architecture, one is able to deploy applications much faster, and across a wider range of environments.
Red Hat’s ‘frictionless drive’ seems to be paying dividends. For the second quarter ended Aug 31, 2015, its revenue jumped 13% to US$504.15 million versus US$445.90 million a year ago – marking Red Hat’s 54th consecutive quarter of revenue growth!
During the quarter, net profit rose 11.8% to US$87.81 million.
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