New OEM and system integrator tracks highlight channel announcements at Spunk .conf

The new tracks – the last of those likely for specific types of partners – were announced at this event, and will go live at next year’s Global Partner Summit. Other channel changes include some enhancements to the certification process.

Brooke Cunningham, ’s AVP of global and operations

ORLANDO – While Splunk’s .conf event here is a major one for Splunk as a whole in terms of the importance of the new solutions introduced and their extension of Splunk’s technological capabilities, on the channel side, this event is more of a consolidation moment. That’s not unusual. Most companies typically make their big channel announcements at the beginning of their fiscal year, to give partners a greater assurance of predictability and consistency. At this event, Splunk mainly took stock of its recent significant channel changes and discussed the momentum since their implementation. They did however, have some new announcements, with the big one being the pending addition of two new tracks in their partner program for and system integrators. They will go live at the Splunk Global Partner Summit in early 2019. Enhancements have also been made to the Splunk Certification program, including a partnering arrangement with a professional testing company.

“Prior to 2015, we did business with partners in an informal manner, which resulted in a lack of consistency and a lack of repeatability,” said Brooke Cunningham, Splunk’s AVP of global partner programs and operations. “In 2015, a reseller partner program was formed, but until I joined two years ago, that was it. Since then, we have accelerated our maturity in this sphere, adding programs for MSPs and professional services partners last year, alongside a track for Technology Alliance partners.” In February this year, at their partner summit, Splunk announced a new track for distributors, which formally rolled out in August. Now they are announcing new tracks for OEMs and System Integrators, which will roll out at the next Global Partner Summit.

“This is the same process that we used before, where we announce a new track, and then build it out,” Cunningham said. “With the distribution track, we told partners what we would do, and then put it all in place, with incentives in place on the back end for them.”

Cunningham said that the new OEM track is targeted more at focused software developers and ISVs, who are looking at embedding ‘Powered by Splunk’ into their solution, to provide Splunk data forensics and .

“We have under 20 OEM partners today, and these are more around niche solutions, but we have created some great use cases with them,” she said. Larger OEMs tend to be more in the Splunk Technology Alliance program, which is entirely separate from the new OEM program. Splunk has both large global systems integrator partners and focused regional ones, and the new SI track will include both.

“With the OEM and SI tracks, I think we will be fully formalized to the degree we  intend for the time being,” Cunningham said. “Looking ahead, we may consider different kinds of tracks around specific verticals.”

Cunningham said that the formalized partner tracks has played a key role in expanding Splunk’s channel to its present roster of about 1600 partners. Splunk does not break down how much business goes through partners – or even provide broad hints. Cunningham would say only that it is ‘a significant portion’ of the total go-to-market.

“Formalizing the tracks definitively brought more partners in though,” she said.

Splunk is also announcing enhancements to the Splunk Certification Program.

“We have partnered with a testing company to provide a secure and consistent level of validation, which will include automatic badging,” Cunningham indicated. “We have grown so fast that we had to take this step to keep up with the demand. Three new product line-specific have also been introduced.”

Cunningham stressed that recently-introduced elements to the program have been fruitful.

“Prior to this point last year, we did not have back-end rebates,” she said. “Last fall, we piloted new logo rebates and that was successful. Partners are ideal for bringing in new logos, because of their reach. So we expanded that this year, with a new logo program that will continue through to the end of our fiscal year, and which has been very successful.” These rebates are for companies, not salesperson spiffs, although Cunningham indicated that they are looking at and testing various spiffs as well. She also noted that they ran a special limited-time incentive to reduce the cost of sales engineer , although that has now expired.

“We also made a big investment last year on our partner portal, which is at its one-year anniversary,” she said. “We have seen more than 2x growth in the number of users in the first half, which has included more than 175,000 individuals in 103 countries. We are reaching new users in many of our partner accounts through the portal. We are also continuing to make new investments in the portfolio, with 76 new features and enhancements in the first half of year, based on partner feedback.”

Cunningham said that partner feedback, both at recent advisory board meetings and  so far at the event, has requested greater activities.

“Partners are asking to improve time to value and time to productivity,” she said. “They want to know how they can get ramped up as quickly as possible. So we have been putting a lot of focus on enablement pieces, like a 30-60-90 day onboarding process, both for new partners and new people within existing partners.”

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