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Flagship CEO Mark Wyllie: ‘Seeing Signs’ Of Red Hat Channel Investment

Wade Tyler Millward

‘I know originally the plan behind it was to get channel partners to be more engaged earlier on in the sales cycle. ... And I just think that that’s taking some time to happen, but we’re seeing signs that it is moving forward,’ Flagship Solutions Group CEO Mark Wyllie tells CRN.

Mark Wyllie, CEO of Flagship Solutions Group, a Red Hat and IBM partner, hopes to see Red Hat continue to involve partners earlier in deals while his business is at work introducing new offerings for customers and helping them adopt IBM’s recently launched Power10 servers.

Wyllie told CRN in an interview that vendors working with the channel is a benefit for all and that Red Hat still has some room for improvement.

“I just think that that’s taking some time to happen, but we’re seeing signs that it is moving forward,” Wyllie said about Red Hat becoming more channel-friendly.

[RELATED: RED HAT CEO MATT HICKS: PARTNERS KEY TO $1 TRILLION OPEN HYBRID CLOUD MARKET]

How Flagship Solutions Group Works With IBM And Red Hat

Newly installed Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks and his predecessor, Paul Cormier—now Red Hat’s chairman—told CRN in recent interviews that the vendor is making more investments in its channel partner program and views partners as key to spreading open-source software to growth areas such as edge environments and multi-cloud.

“Our partner community has always been a critical part of delivering to customers,” Hicks told CRN in a recent interview. “We’re just seeing more and more momentum in our focus on open hybrid cloud growth. And whether that’s in the enterprise space of customers moving from on-prem to cloud and from one cloud to multi-cloud, or if it’s from the inclusion in edge where there’s more industry-specific focus—partners are a critical link, whether it’s the MSPs or they’re systems integrators … so I think that will only increase as we go forward.”

Growing Red Hat’s business is “definitely partner-driven,” Cormier told CRN in a recent interview. “I would like to tell you we had this big revelation. But it’s got to be partner-driven. … Hybrid cloud is not a product, it’s an architecture. And it takes various products from companies like us as well as partner companies. We can’t do it all. It takes consulting services. It takes all kinds of partners to deliver that.”

Flagship Solutions Group’s relationship with Red Hat is mainly around its Ansible subsidiary focused on automation tools, although Wyllie and his team have also done work around Red Hat’s OpenShift containerization software suite, he told CRN.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Flagship has been investing in customer offerings and sales staff following its merger with publicly traded Melville, N.Y.-based disaster recovery tools provider Data Storage, Wyllie said.

In June 2021, Flagship became part of Data Storage for $5.5 million, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Data Storage’s other subsidiaries include CloudFirst and Nexxis.

In Data Storage’s latest quarterly earnings—reported for the second fiscal quarter, which ended June 30—the company reported revenue of $4.8 million, a 37 percent increase year over year. “The increase is primarily attributed to the additional sales from the Flagship merger and an increase in monthly subscription revenue,” according to the documents.

Earlier this year, Flagship partnered with the Professional Fighters League sports league to use cloud-based products and artificial intelligence to promote more engagement with mixed martial arts fans, including accurate matchup outcome predictions.

Here’s what else Wyllie had to say to CRN.

 
Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at wmillward@thechannelcompany.com.

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