Splunk is increasing its focus on observability.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

October 20, 2020

6 Min Read
COVID-19 pandemic

This week’s virtual Splunk conf20 kicked off with unveiling two acquisitions, a new observability suite, and other enhancements and updates.

Splunk has acquired Plumbr, an application performance monitoring (APM) company. In addition, it is buying Rigor, a digital experience monitoring (DEM) company. Rigor offers advanced synthetic monitoring and optimization tools. Both acquisitions increase Splunk’s observability capabilities.

The Splunk Observability Suite includes solutions for infrastructure monitoring, application performance monitoring, digital experience monitoring, log investigation and incident response.


Splunk’s Brooke Cunningham

Splunk also announced enhancements to its IT operations portfolio, as well as Splunk Cloud and Splunk Enterprise. Furthermore, it unveiled innovations across its security operations suite.

Brooke Cunningham is Splunk‘s area vice president of global partner programs, marketing and operations. In a Q&A, she talks about Splunk’s partner program momentum and opportunities for continued growth.

Channel Futures: What’s the theme and message of conf20?

Brooke Cunningham: Overall, the core messaging for the event is around thriving in the data age. And really, the data age is here. It has accelerated these digital transformations within our customers and within global organizations, and everyone is really rethinking their data strategies. So change is just going to keep being part of this new normal. And so all of the content that we prepared for the event has really focused on how our customers are leveraging Splunk to solve these data challenges and how data is such an essential service for all of them. And then we’re featuring a lot around our partners. We’ve got a ton of amazing participation from our partners in the event, both as audience members, as well as sponsors and participants in some of the content and how they’re helping customers solve these data challenges as well.

CF: Is this the first virtual conf? If so, are there pros and cons to this format?

BC: We’ve seen an amazing response to conf, specifically from our partner ecosystem. We’ve got 9,000 partners registered. That’s the largest group of partners we’ve ever had from any kind of event in person or virtual. We’re going to have the largest event we’ve ever had historically. And we’re reaching people around the globe that maybe wouldn’t have been able to travel. So that’s certainly a positive.

We thought a lot about all the things that we know our customers and partners love about in-person events. And we’ve tried to bring as much as we can to the virtual platform to ensure that we’re bringing networking opportunities, hands-on opportunities and ways that people can have some fun.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

CF: What sort of growth has Splunk’s partner program experienced over the past year. How has COVID-19 affected that momentum?

BC: Our partner ecosystem continues to be a very significant part of our go-to-market strategy. Recently in our second-quarter earnings, we had over 50% of our total bookings from cloud — and that that was 89% year-over-year growth. Our partners have been significantly supporting this move to the cloud in our earnings. And the growth of partner cloud bookings is even faster than that.

We’re growing at 109% year over year in terms of cloud bookings. So that’s significant. Our partners are helping our customers accelerate to their cloud and we’re also seeing increased partner engagement. We’re about 2,000 active partners strong currently, which is just up from about 1,900 this time last year. We’re seeing … the breadth of the relationships that we have with our partners really growing. And we’ve got some amazing announcements like SAP and Google Cloud, where we’re sharing where some of these partnerships are gaining ground. And we’re seeing increased engagement from the existing ecosystem in this time. For example, we’ve had a 42% increase in partner portal engagement in the first half of this year. So the partners we do have are …

… really focusing their energies and engaging with Splunk.

CF: Numerous solutions and enhancements are being announced during .conf. From a cybersecurity perspective, how will these help partners meet their customers’ demands, particularly during the pandemic?

BC: Many of our partners are providing different cybersecurity solutions. We have partners that are selling, providing services and doing managed security services for their customers. And all the products that we’re announcing provide more things in the repertoire that partners can use to solve their customers’ data challenges. I’ll give you an example with some of the Mission Control announcements. Accenture security is integrating with cyber threat intelligence capabilities in that Mission Control plugin framework. So they can provide Splunk security clients with greater levels of threat intelligence, and can anticipate and take actions on threats. So we’re seeing examples like Accenture and many more who are getting engaged from an alliance perspective to embed and provide solutions to their customers leveraging Splunk.

CF: What sort of feedback have you been receiving from partners in terms their needs? Are they dealing with new challenges?

BC: The feedback we were hearing from partners was they wanted more and more to continue to support them in their support for customers during COVID-19. The [move] to cloud has just really accelerated. And we’ve seen our partners really rise to the occasion, supporting us with a lot of the remote work insights, building solutions around that to address customer needs. And then giving them more access to tools to continue to support their customers. We recently launched a cloud center in the Splunk partner portal where we really consolidated all the latest resources to help partners learn market and sell cloud with Splunk.

CF: What do you hope partners can take with them and make use of from this year’s conf, not just with the pandemic in mind, but also with this new hybrid workforce model in mind?

BC: We really hope that partners are taking away a marketing enablement event where they have a lot of opportunity to get a lot of product knowledge, customer success, the examples, the networking and bringing the ecosystem together. We always see a lot of innovation coming out of partners collaborating together. In fact, I also think the event itself is a great example for partners to take. I’ve had a lot of conversations with partners as they’re also adopting many of their marketing activities and events to virtual. So having the opportunity to participate in various Splunk virtual events, I’ve heard from partners that’s giving them ideas in how they can be thinking about these types of new formats.

And I think we’re going to be in this new virtual world for some time. And potentially, as we look toward the future, hopefully we’ll start to incorporate more in-person things down the road. But perhaps we’ll see more of a hybrid where we’re seeing virtual being a bigger proportion of what we do that also layers in more in-person formats once we’re able.

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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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