Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

As more companies realize they are actually software companies that happen to sell a particular product, the number of custom application development projects that are being kicked off is starting to explode. The challenge facing solution providers is how to find a way to participate in those projects.

At the center of most of these projects today is a repository where developers check code in and out. Made popular by open-source developers, the best known repository in the world is GitHub. However, many organizations are not comfortable using a public repository for sharing code that represents some of their most sensitive intellectual property.

Instead, many of them are deploying their own instance of GitHub behind their firewalls. That approach gives them all the benefits of a central repository while still being able to maintain control of their code.

The folks at GitHub have a keen interest in selling subscriptions to as many private instances of GitHub as possible. For that reason, GitHub has created a channel program led by Padma Rao, now head of global channel sales and alliances.

The best part of that effort is that GitHub is only interested in the subscription revenue. Its channel partners get to keep 100 percent of the services revenue generated by installing GitHub inside an organization.

More importantly, the GitHub project has the potential to provide the solution provider that set it up visibility into every major custom software project that organization undertakes. That kind of insight into what projects are going to come to fruition when could be nothing short of priceless.

These days, open-source software and technologies, such as containers, are all the rage inside IT organizations that develop their own applications. Despite all the hype surrounding DevOps, most of the management of those projects is fairly chaotic. GitHub represents an opportunity to bring some order to that chaos using a construct most developers already understand well. The opportunity for solution providers now is to insert themselves in that process in a way that developers and the people that manage them can both readily appreciate.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.