Splunk now has more than 1,700 active partners, up from 1,600 at the midpoint of last year.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

February 26, 2019

6 Min Read

Splunk on Tuesday kicked off its Global Partner Summit by briefing partners on how they’re contributing to the company’s growth and announcing new partner-program updates.

The company also announced the appointment of Aziz Benmalek as Splunk’s new vice president of worldwide channels and channel chief. He previously was with Microsoft for more than 22 years and was its vice president of worldwide cloud and managed service providers.


Splunk’s Aziz Benmalek

“’I’m thrilled to join Splunk, a company that is at the center of the high-growth, data-driven world,” he said. “Splunk’s vision and continued innovation around the already recognized industry-leading machine data platform, coupled with the drive for continuous personal, professional and business growth, make it a very exciting company to join. I’m also inspired by leadership’s commitment to the accelerated growth of our partner business while expanding opportunities for our ecosystem into new solution areas. The future of the Partner+ ecosystem is very bright and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Brooke Cunningham, Splunk’s area vice president of global partner marketing, programs and operations, said her company now has more than 1,700 active partners, up from 1,600 at the midpoint of last year.

“Our software bookings growth through our partners was significant, up 51 percent year over year, and as a subset of that … we had over 14,000 deal registrations in our last fiscal year and the revenue associated with deal registration, partner-sourced software bookings, they were up 63 percent year over year,” she said. “So we’re just seeing really impressive growth in the contribution of our partners to the Splunk business overall.”

Another area that Splunk partners focused on in the company’s last fiscal year was driving new customers — a successful endeavor that led to partners delivering 76 percent of Splunk’s new customers, Cunningham said.


Splunk’s Brooke Cunningham

“So partners are really a growth engine for us in new customers, and that was something we had put a partner incentive around so I’m particularly excited about this because we’re seeing that reward is really resulting in such a great outcome,” she said. “And we’re seeing partners invest back with us. One area we look at is partner certifications, their investment in learning Splunk technologies, and we had over 11,000 new technical certifications added to the ecosystem over the past year. So partners are really taking the time and making the people investment to certify more within their organization.”

This week, Splunk is rolling out a new SI partner program track, designed to address the needs of global and regional system integrators (SIs), “providing them a more consistent Partner+ program framework so they can really gain more benefits and participate based on tier-level investments, and get some additional special support in those benefits,” Cunningham said.

“For example, specific to SIs, we’re putting an investment fund in place and really investing where partners are going to invest in building solutions around Splunk, so particularly we’re interested in vertical-solution practices and specializations,” she said.

Splunk also has added enhancements to its other partner program tracks, including more rebate incentives, and is continuing the new customer incentive, Cunningham said.

“We have a big focus on moving away from …

… perpetual and moving more to subscription models and terms, particularly multiyear terms as we move on our journey to the cloud,” she said. “And so partners will be able to earn for any multiyear deals. We also want to continue to invest in partners that are taking the time and investment in their technical expertise. For partners that are selling and delivering their own services, we have an incentive for them to be able to take advantage of because we want them to be able to make those investments and do more of that.”

And top-tier partners will be eligible for an additional rebate when they exceed their growth targets, Cunningham said.

“And we’re going to make those stackable, so if a deal was a new customer and multiyear, the partner can earn both of those incentives,” she said. “So it’s trying to reward partners for the value-add that they’re providing that’s aligned with Splunk’s growth strategy.

Splunk also is adding enhancements to its reseller program to further simplify deal registration and make it easier for them to work with the company’s direct sales team, Cunningham said. It’s also adding more clarity around product renewals so partners have a clearer understanding of the rules, she said.

Cunningham said a recent partner profitability study shows that for every $1 of Splunk licensing that partners are delivering, they’re earning $6.30 in additional wraparound services and complimentary solutions, up from a $1-$5 ratio 18 months ago.

“It seems the growth is being driven on the services side, so what partners are telling us is they’re seeing a 31 percent increase in professional services days after their initial Splunk deployments — so they’re really seeing growth in that services practice,” she said.

Splunk’s most profitable partners are focusing on customer success in adoption and are putting customer-success teams in place, Cunningham said.

“One of the other areas that I put a big focus on is partner experience, so really focusing on the structure to support partners — and we’ve got some really great things that we’re going to be telling partners about,” she said. “Our partner portal is really the foundation of that experience, and … over the last year we’ve delivered over 100 enhancements to the portal and that’s actual usability and technical functionality, not content, which is always living and breathing. And we’re seeing the results in the numbers … from a base of 1,700 partner companies, we had over 200,000 partner logins in our partner portal last year and that was from over 19,000 unique individuals in 104 countries. And we had over 8,600 new users last year on this portal.”

Last week, Splunk announced it will no longer be selling software and services to organizations headquartered in Russia, either directly or through partners.

“We decided that we’re no longer going to sell in Russia just because of the return on investment for the business and wanting to ensure that we’re placing our resources where it’s going to have the most return for us and particularly our customers,” Cunningham said. “Yes, it did have an impact on a modest number of partners. As part of that decision, we have worked with them on what we’re doing to discontinue doing business. Because it’s such a select group of partners and we’ve worked with them already, it won’t be a big focus or dialogue that we’re placing around Global Partner Summit. And it was really a small part of our global business.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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