Red Hat is positioning itself as the digital transformation partner of the enterprise

Red Hat senior vice president of cloud platforms Ashesh Badani details how his company is helping three customers from three different industries, touting the need for change as the constant.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Although the concept of digital transformation isn't new, the way in which companies are leveraging technology to make changes to their day-to-day business is constantly evolving, according to Red Hat senior vice president of cloud platforms Ashesh Badani.

Using packaging and logistics giant UPS as his example, Badani said the organisation has been working with Red Hat on how it can make its monolithic architecture more modern, in a way that can support them into the future, but also allow for faster innovation.

"Essentially take processing to the edge to improve the way they schedule packages, deliver them, increase efficiency routes," he told Red Hat Forum in Melbourne last week. "Be able to do that quickly, because every customer wants personalisation, and they want to be able to make sure that they can see where their packages are."

Badani said UPS is now taking advantage of micro services-based technologies, which he said allows for the analytics to take place at the edge, useful in places such as distribution centres that are closest to the actual customers.

See also: How to implement edge computing (TechRepublic)

Another customer Red Hat is working with is Volkswagen.

Badani said Red Hat has been working with the car-maker on how it can innovate faster, taking advantage of autonomous vehicles.

"The challenge they were facing was trying to understand how they can run massive numbers of simulations, when it's not time consuming and costly to," he explained.

Entering all of the various simulation scenarios was proving to be too time-consuming for Volkswagen, especially given that the company wanted to perform such a task at scale, so Red Hat leveraged its partnership with GPU giant Nvidia to enable a much faster processing capability.

See also: Nvidia enters 5G with Ericsson, Red Hat, and Microsoft partnerships

In the process of undertaking a four-year digital transformation, Emirates NBD, a Middle East-based financial services firm, turned to Red Hat to better understand its customers.

The challenge, Badani said, was finding a way to communicate with customers in a way they actually wanted. The financial institution decided to stand up a WhatsApp channel, as that's where most of its younger customers wanted their interaction with a bank to take place.

"Being able to go out and deliver a WhatsApp-based application was really important for that. And so they were able to put together a platform that can run a WhatsApp based environment in less than a week and go off and deliver that to customers," Badani said.

"That's change that companies as diverse as UPS, Volkswagon, and Emirates NBD are going through. Each of these have sort of talked through what [change] means with regards to the organisation they have, the culture -- the notion of people, process, and technology that they've got to work with."

While the organisations are from different industries, Badani said what they have in common is that their customer interactions are of a hybrid nature.

"Being able to craft an environment that can span the direct physical, digital, and APIs critical for how you evolve and grow. And it doesn't really matter what kind of company you're in," he continued.

This requirement, Badani would argue, is true even for companies that were born in the cloud.

Using online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker as his example, Badani said that due to the company starting in the cloud, it had no physical engagement with customers.

"Then they realised, well, you know, people are going to have to come in and do eye exams ... we should open some stores," he said.

"Regardless of where you start, and if you start directly from the physical side of it, or from the digital, being able to bring those worlds together.

"Today is the least amount of change that we'll ever see."

Asha Barbaschow travelled to Red Hat Forum as a guest of Red Hat.  


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