APM, Channel technologies, Channel technologies, Channel partner programs, Enterprise, IT management

Splunk: Big Executive Hires, Key Partner Program Moves

Brian Goldfarb
Brian Goldfarb
Richard Campione

The big picture is coming into focus at Splunk (NASDAQ: SPLK), and it includes a healthy dose of executive hires and channel partner program enhancements.

Splunk's software allows IT service providers and end-customers to analyze machine data. The result? Customers and/or service providers can become more productive, profitable, competitive and secure, the company claims. Demand for Splunk's software is growing. The company's quarterly revenues were $212.8 million, up 43% year-over-year, the company announced in August. (The company's next quarterly results are set for Nov. 29 announcement.)

Splunk has also been expanding its executive ranks. Recent hires include Chief Product Officer Richard Campione and Chief Marketing Officer Brian Goldfarb. Campione's experience includes executive-level posts at Findly, SAP and Siebel Systems. Goldfarb has also held senior executive positions at Salesforce, Google and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Splunk is preparing a range of partner-centric channel moves. Among the names to know: Brooke Cunningham, AVP, global partner programs and operations. During a recent ChannelE2E interview, Cunningham described her decision to join Splunk in May 2016, recent milestones, and next moves in the IT channel.

Unquestioned Channel Commitment

Related Podcast: Splunk Channel Chief Brooke Cunningham

Cunningham has channel DNA in her blood. She discovered the channel during her college studies in the 1990s, ultimately landing a partner-centric position at Crystal Decisions before most students had even earned their college degrees. Cunningham over the past decade rapidly climbed the corporate latter at Business Objects, SAP, CA Technologies and QlikTech before joining Splunk earlier this year.

Splunk, founded in 2003, has had partners for more than a decade. The big inflection point came in November 2015, when SAP and Cisco veteran Doug Merritt joined Splunk as CEO. Cunningham and Merritt had previously worked together at SAP, and a more formalized Splunk partner program has emerged over the past year. Global strategic alliances and heavy-hitter relationships -- with companies like Accenture, Amazon Web Services, Cisco Systems, Palo Alto Networks and Verizon -- also have gained momentum. Distribution deals with Arrow Electronics and Carahsoft also are in place.

Cunningham's core focus: Refine, mature and enhance the company's reseller program -- while delivering an end-to-end partner experience that increases partner loyalty. It's about simplicity, predictability and profitability for Splunk's partners, she says.

Among the key-milestones to track: Splunk is working to further "up level" its partner program. The company plans to select a new Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform soon, and marketing automation already is in place.

Splunk also is building synergies between its IT consulting team and third-party service providers. The idea is to ensure partners can strengthen Splunk's bench and extend the company's reach. Watch for Splunk's professional services to become more programatic -- with partners ultimately gaining a "stamp of approval" to offer such services, she hints.

"We're already a leader in operational intelligence," Cunningham said. "We're getting partners excited about unstructured data. Any partner in security or IT operations has tons of opportunity with us." Among the practical examples for success: Helping retail customers to manage their scanner data for alerts, and ultimately empowering those customers to restock shelves more effectively. Partners, she added, are finding new use cases for Splunk every day.

Next Splunk Partner Moves

Splunk will share more details about its "next" partner program moves during a global partner call in December. The company's fiscal year starts on February 1, so it's a safe bet Cunningham is shaping next year's partner program refinements now. Among the potential moves: Keep an eye on how Splunk works with MSPs and ISVs, among other partner types.

Also, keep in mind that Cunningham has global experience -- and Splunk will be looking to hire more channel talent into additional regions.

Once the next fiscal year kicks off in February 2017, Splunk wants to really bolster the end-to-end partner experience, while taking partner loyalty rewards to the next level. Watch for net promoter scores (NPS) to enter the partner equation, she adds.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.