The unified security and observability platform Splunk’s new channel chief, Gretchen O’Hara, Channel Chief, Vice President Worldwide Channels & Alliances brings a passion for building ecosystems, business building and connecting sales, technical and marketing. With O’Hara joining, Splunk’s goal is to continuously evolve channel strategy and ecosystem towards improving customer and partner experiences and scale Splunk solutions to support customers operating in a distributed, hybrid, and multi-cloud world. Read the full interview..
Being Splunk’s new global chief channel, what are your key plans for the channel at large? What new opportunities Splunk is creating or co-creating for its partners in cloud and security space which would lead to greater profitability for partners in these uncertain times.
Splunk has a unique combination of products, people, and market potential that is unparalleled. Our goal is to continually evolve our channel strategy and ecosystem to improve customer and partner experiences and scale Splunk solutions to support customers in the distributed, hybrid, and multi-cloud worlds.
Together with our partners, we have the opportunity to help our joint customers in today’s highly complex cyber threat environment and are working hard to help organisations leverage observability to monitor and understand what is happening across their systems and apps. We have made progress through our unified approach, and look forward to helping more customers build resilience while also improving the performance and viability of operations that spread across multiple areas of their organisations.
Are you planning to change the existing partners performance metrics to encourage partners to go broader within the Splunk portfolio? How does Splunk enable partner integrations and custom applications that allow partners to competitively serve Indian organisations digital needs?
We are deeply committed to helping our partners succeed and will continue to evaluate our approach so we can deliver value to more customers. That dedication also extends to driving innovation. Over the last year we launched several new features to help partners support customers as they undergo large-scale initiatives around IT modernisation, cloud migration, and application modernisation.
For example, at our annual .conf22 user and global partner event, Splunk announced the general availability of The Splunk Platform, including Splunk Cloud Platform and Splunk Enterprise 9.0 to enable customers to access more data sources easily, find and operationalise insights faster, secure and scale deployments, and streamline administration to translate data insights into business results. At the event, Splunk also introduced Splunk Cloud Sandbox and a new Funded Partner Training benefit to help partners and joint customers realise their vision for security, resilience and innovation.
India, with its fast-growing and expanding cloud market, holds tremendous opportunity and we rely on our powerful partner ecosystem to drive growth in the market. Through our local partners, we have been able to reach more customers at scale, enabling them to unlock innovation and adopt cloud technologies seamlessly, improve security, and gain end-to-end data visibility.
Our go-to-market (GTM) strategy relies on channel partners, organisation transformation consultants, and system integrators to drive business results. As organisations in India become increasingly data-driven, we bring digital solutions to joint customers through our partner integrations. Through data and analytics, we are able to provide real-time, actionable insights to help our customers grow revenue, lower costs, and reduce risks.
During your lengthy tenure at Microsoft you have worked across different channels, programs,and engagement, enablement. Could you share what are the broad range of channel initiatives you are planning to take or undergoing for the alignment with the rest of the Splunk organisation?
Given the unpredictable business environment today, customers need trusted partners who know their business and can meet them where they are. Splunk and its partners are uniquely positioned to offer that. Splunk partners with a wide range of organisations, including global and regional systems integrators, solution providers, resellers, managed service providers, and managed security service providers. Our partners are vital to the business outcomes of our customers and the Partnerverse programme is an effective way to capture and measure partner value.
Given my experience leading multiple marketing and channel roles, my focus is leading our global channel and alliances initiatives as Splunk enters its next level of transformation and growth. Key to this will be enhancing partner experiences and we are looking at ways to include and promote thought leadership from outcome-based partners. Our team is actively seeking feedback from key partners to assist in the development of their programmes to find ways to drive transformation. We will examine how Splunk’s partners can take advantage of the company’s direct sales organisation and its expertise to make it easier for them to engage with Splunk.
Since I have joined Splunk, I have been actively meeting with as many of our partners as possible to gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives as well as customers to connect the opportunities for both. I am committed to fostering a culture of talent and building a partner organisation that will drive the company’s growth.
In June 2021 Splunk launched a significant revamp of its partner program and rebranded it the Splunk Partnerverse for its 2400 partners across the world. Can you provide an update on the revamped program? How the company plans to further invest to support profitable partner growth in its partner network over the next year.
Our recent enhancements to the Splunk Partnerverse programme underscore our commitment. For example, we are providing access to the Splunk Cloud Sandbox, a dedicated, persistent, and non-production Splunk Cloud Platform environment. For a duration of 12 months, eligible partners can access a 50GB, single tenant, cloud stack environment to learn about Splunk cloud products, build and test solutions, and demonstrate their solutions on Splunk Cloud to existing and new customers. We also rolled out an online Solutions Catalog to showcase Splunk-based offerings alongside partner expertise, and a Funded Partner Training benefit to help our partners build solution competencies. These will enable Splunk’s 2,400+ global partners to differentiate their offerings.
With the Partnerverse programme, we aim to maximise the impact of the Splunk partner community and help our partners stay competitive with us by providing them with the necessary training, certifications, and capabilities to support our customers.
With the cloud and digital path of customers maturing, partners are looking for more recurring revenue opportunities and focusing on advanced specialisation. Can you share how Splunk is helping its partners on delivering higher-value services to drive the higher-value workloads?
Splunk continues to expand its partner network to help joint customers reduce overhead and boost the bottom line, while managing their systems at the speed of digital business.
The Splunk Partnerverse program accelerates partner and customer success by enabling organisations to unlock innovation, enhance security, and drive resilience. Through the coupling of Splunk’s extensible data platform and program features, Splunk Partnerverse allows partners to build and validate their technical expertise, demonstrate core competencies, and differentiate themselves in the market. We have moved on from a pure discounting incentive pool to a pool of incentives that enables partners to build long lasting businesses with Splunk. This includes better and cheaper availability to enablement, access to the same demo instances our direct sellers use, build, test and deploy instances of Splunk and the availability of the customer accessible catalogue to demonstrate all of their capabilities.
What are some of the partners’ challenges in the age of big data, analytics, AI/ML metaverse and cybersecurity? How is Splunk preparing its partners to leverage the emerging tech opportunities for driving innovations and exclusivity? Cite any examples.
The world is increasingly unpredictable. Organisations are up against adversaries who are well-funded, endlessly patient, and more creative by the day with ransomware, malware, supply chain attacks and more. Attack surfaces continue to expand as environments become more complex, especially in the cloud.
Partners investing in security, observability and improving enterprise resiliency and customer success will continue to see accelerated growth in the current macroeconomic climate. By leveraging data and analytics, combined with industry focus and vertical expertise, partners can empower joint customers to deliver strong business outcomes.
Can you tell how the upcoming Splunk Immersive Experience (SIE) Center in London powered by AWS is going to enhance Splunk’s engagement with its customers and partners. Do you have plans to roll out in other regions as well?
Together, Splunk and AWS are committed to enabling customers to innovate with confidence, migrate and modernise existing environments, and scale freely without limits. We’ve helped companies worldwide solve their most challenging business data challenges for over 10 years.
The launch of the Splunk Immersive Experience Center (SIE) at Splunk’s London office in February is among our key strategic initiatives. The SIE will be a customer-focused, immersive space that takes customers and partners through a tactile and digital experience designed to illustrate the full power and potential of Splunk and AWS. We have designed this journey to showcase industry-specific solutions for known use cases and highlight tangible business benefits. This will enable visitors to track both the customer and the data, thereby gaining a hands-on understanding of the customer experience.
The first SIE journey will focus on a retail experience, recognising how digital and physical retail experiences are equally important for retail customers. Visitors will not only get the opportunity to explore issues related to inventory, delivery, order management, digitisation, and returns, but also learn how Splunk and AWS assist in resolving these problems. Splunk and AWS have the potential to accelerate transformation and time to value, and this experience will provide customers the opportunity to understand this in a real-world setting.
We have plans to expand the SIE programme worldwide and will share progress as we take this strategic initiative forward with our customers and partners.
Splunk and Amazon Web Services (AWS) enjoy 10 years of strategic collaboration. Can you throw light on some of the key joint initiatives Splunk has undertaken in recent times?
Splunk joined the AWS Partner Network (APN) in 2012 and in the next year, we announced the general availability of Splunk Cloud on AWS. We’ve obtained 8 AWS competencies, expanded to global availability of Splunk Cloud on AWS, helped AWS launch key AWS Marketplace features, and piloted and launched the Workload Migration Program – helping our joint customers migrate faster to the AWS Cloud. Our collaboration has evolved over the years to support our customers’ cloud migration journey, sustainability initiatives, and strategies that expedite digital transformation and drive success.
We launched Splunk Cloud in India in October 2021 in response to a significant increase in the adoption of cloud technologies by businesses across the country.
In 2022, we announced a five-year extension of our Strategic Collaboration Agreement (SCA) with AWS. We also revealed a public preview of the Splunk Add-on for Amazon Security Lake that will help customers integrate cloud and on-premises data sources and their own private applications into a security data lake. The Security Lake supports the Open Cybersecurity Schema Framework (OCSF) open standard, simplifying the deployment of security solutions and reducing costs.
With a look to the future, we are taking our collaboration a step further by leveraging technology to tackle sustainability challenges. Splunk and AWS are highlighting data as a green accelerator and working together on industry-specific sustainability initiatives.
Can you give a bigger perspective on Splunk’s constantly evolving partner ecosystem and roadmap for the Indian market?
Based on Splunk’s Economic Impact of Data Innovation 2023 report, which surveyed over 2,000 organisations globally, 55% of companies in India are making excellent progress when it comes to automating data monitoring. 85% were able to identify the need for predictive maintenance on production systems in the previous year and prevent an outage or disruption of the production line. This shows that businesses in India are further along the observability journey than their global counterparts. Splunk is committed to meeting the needs of our customers when it comes to digital transformation. A strong partner ecosystem has enabled us to make inroads into the market.
India’s business leaders understand the value of thriving on data, as well as the competitive advantage that real-time data analytics can offer. Organisations are optimising their cloud environments with observability to innovate faster and gain a competitive edge. Customers in India are using Splunk to operate more securely and efficiently, reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and innovate for seamless digital transformation.
Today, Splunk is trusted by many multinational companies and financial institutions in India and we are actively supporting these sectors, including providing comprehensive cloud services and solutions to one of the country’s largest private banks. Data innovation is benefiting many of our customers in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector and using Splunk real-time, data-driven insights, organisations are able to unlock innovation, improve security, and succeed on mission. We see tremendous opportunity to increase our service offerings to India’s Public Sector as well. The Indian Government is taking aggressive initiatives to implement digital technologies, and our goal is to enable both private and public sector organisations to build resilience so they can thrive.