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Splunk aims to fill Europe's white spaces with channel

There is a lot of business in managing machine data, mainly for security purposes, and specialist vendor Splunk is in that market and aiming at building channels in EMEA. It wants to fill white spaces in its coverage, especially in the managed services business. Last year, Splunk made a number of enhancements to its reseller program, adding new incentives, rebates, and a new partner portal and revealed this two weeks ago at its partner event.

It has been busy building channels   - up in the last year from 826 to 1,659 partners globally. Having just made another acquisition, Phantom Cyber Corporation, a Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) specialist, it is preparing for further expansion.

‎Brooke Cunningham (below), Splunk’s AVP of global partner programmes and operations, talked to IT Europa about plans and its recent partner summit. She sees a lot of growth potential in its ecosystem and wants it to do more. “Channel is the means to do this, and we have made investments in people and infrastructure for partners.”

This is important in the EMEA region where the partner business is higher as a proportion than the global position.

The largest group of partners continues to be resellers, and the programme for them has been enhanced, with more incentives and rebates. The plan is to drive net new customers – over 800 new customers were added in the last year in this way, and this will be continued. “We are focused on new customer growth. Formalisation of the partner programme enabled us to find more partners.”

The MSP sector is another major opportunity, which a new partner track supports. This works well in tandem with Splunk technology partner AWS, which allows partners to deliver both their own services and offer Splunk services. “We have been sharing that we will continue to use partners to deliver professional services.”

“Professional services” is one of the primary drivers of profitability, so expect more focus here. But the message is one of widening the offer since a Splunk partner survey into profitability showed that having complementary solutions worked well, offering not just security but IT operations, IoT and analytics. “These were the new tracks where we saw major growth last year,” she says.

“We see more partners who participate in multiple tracks , MSP and reseller.” The ultimate goal is to provide a simple, predictable, and profitable ecosystem for all partners.

Distribution will continue to be an important part of the strategy. “Just last week we launched a global distribution programme – we have worked with them across the various regions, but we wanted to have a more global approach, and will have more of an consistent incentive structure for distribution as we look for growth through two tier,” she says.

“In EMEA we use Arrow across the region; we anticipate a continued growth in this, and expect distribution will play the key role. The MSP programme leverages distribution; and that has been very fast-growing. We have invested specifically in distribution – additional visibility into the partners they manage through the portal. This has reduced a lot of the internal manual work for two- tier.”

Spunk is keen to fill in some of the white spaces in its coverage – the UK is the main market in Europe, but Germany, France and increasingly the Nordics figure in its plans. The existing ecosystem has been based traditionally on security with that expertise in EMEA. She says it is now seeing partners from across the spectrum but mainly in the mid- and large-enterprise areas, plus public sector in the UK.

That profitability study shows where to invest to expand the use cases they are addressing."We’ve done work understanding the coverage – we know we have some white space, the coming year will see more and we are seeing that we are having engagement with partners from other areas – particularly some of the technology alliance partners such as AWS.”

“We are identifying joint partners and finding the born-in-the cloud partners to engage with channels we may not have had traditionally.“

A key message for partners at the partner event was about vertical markets – “We are growing so fast we want to address use cases, but there will be no special Splunk focus; it is up to partners to deliver in financial services and healthcare. We expect to see more public sector work with partners in Europe and want those with expertise to participate and address those customers.”

“Splunk is trying to skim down the use cases to be more digestible for partner so they can learn and find it more consumable this also applies to customers. We want to define how Splunk s used, and prepare more specific reference use cases,” she concludes.