The secret to Red Hat’s success: Trust, trust, and more trust

The logo of the global publisher of Open Source software solutions, Red Hat is displayed during the Viva Technology conference at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on June 15, 2023 in Paris, France.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The secret to success and longevity in this industry is trust, according to Hans Roth, Red Hat senior vice president and general manager of EMEA. 

Depending on how you measure milestones, Red Hat turned 31 (based on when it was founded) in March, or will become 25 in August (based on when it went public). 

Either way, by anyone’s standards 25-31 years is a long time in an industry as dynamic and fast-paced as tech. 

So what is the secret, or even secrets, to this success? IT Pro sat down with Roth at last month’s Red Hat Summit to try and find out. 

“The key thing for me is genuine trust. What we're building, it’s different. We are trying - and I mean every day -  to basically run the whole company on a trust base, rather than on fear or pressure,” Roth told us. 

Of course, there is still pressure to achieve certain goals as in any business, which Roth is honest about, but how the culture supports and facilitates achieving these goals (through trust) makes that more manageable. 

“There are enough studies about how quickly you can destroy trust and how long it takes to build it up.”

That culture of trust isn’t just an internal-facing thing, either – something Roth is keen to stress. 

“We're working that way with partners and customers. We just had a Partner Advisory Council in London. It's amazing how open you are, you're sharing things with that group,  even encouraging the partners who are almost competitors… to talk openly about topics,” he said. 

“That openness, the trust level with customers and partners, even goes beyond Red Hat. It’s really good.”

Roth has previously talked about ‘the secret sauce’, or the three pillars he believes underpins Red Hat’s success: Culture, ecosystem, and innovation. Clearly, trust runs deep in all three areas. 

“Our contribution to the communities makes such a big impact. We are putting everything back into open source,” Roth said before referencing last month’s Summit announcements as multiple cases in point. Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and IBM Research’s Granite tie-up is but one example. 

“We are contributing, too. We're not taking, we're also giving, I think that makes a big difference because other companies didn't crack the secret sauce on that, because they don't really know how to deal with that.” 

Red Hat is working hard behind the scenes

IntrustLab was also a highlight of last month’s Summit announcements, with many wowed by the potential for it to really break down barriers. The initiative again showcases IBM and Red Hat working together on a project to enhance generative AI capabilities by ensuring anyone – including those with pretty much no machine learning experience – can bring their contributions to the table. 

“Instruct Lab is a massive [deal]. There were a lot of people involved. A few months ago, Matt [our CEO] basically announced it internally and asked everyone in Red Hat – regardless of whether they were in engineering or in sales or an admin person or whatever -  to participate in it,” Roth said. 

“It's not about some data scientists or geeks working somewhere in a dark room. Everybody's involved in it. I even submitted something and I’ve never studied any line of code in my life, right? So everybody can contribute. For me, that was the biggest announcement [at Red Hat Summit 2024].”

When asked what he would like to be talking about come Red Hat Summit 2025, Roth said he would like to see more examples of how AI is being used for good, like in the Boston Children’s example shared on stage at this year’s event. 


Maximize your data insights with AI

(Image credit: Dell)

Unlock the power of your data

The hospital is using Red Hat OpenShift for AI to pilot imaging analysis in its radiology department with the aim of making leaps forward when it comes to image quality and the accuracy and speed at which those images can be interpreted. 

“There is nothing I don’t want to talk about,” Roth said. “Today is really the foundation. Next year, I want to be talking about how that model has changed the lives of many, many people. That’s just the way it should be. We’ve come back to our old theme of ‘open unlocks the world’s potential.”

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.