Operational intelligence software developer Splunk is expanding its channel operations, adding programs for professional service and MSP partners and upgrading the resources it offers reseller partners.
The changes, announced at the company's sales kickoff and partner summit in Las Vegas this week, take effect March 1. Splunk, largely focused on direct sales since its 2003 founding, has been pursuing a more aggressive channel strategy in the last year.
"The Splunk channel program is indeed maturing from an execution and go-to-market perspective," said Jim Kinney, president of Kinney Group, an Indianapolis-based solution provider and Splunk partner, in an email to CRN.
Splunk's moves come as the big data company maintains its fast-paced growth and begins a fiscal year in which it expects, for the first time, to exceed $1 billion in sales. Splunk currently has 749 active partners, but the company doesn't disclose the percentage of its sales that go through the channel.
Partner bookings grew 60 percent year over year in fiscal 2017 (ended Jan. 31), said Brooke Cunningham, area vice president of global partner programs and operations, in an interview with CRN. And the vendor's top 25 partners reported 99 percent bookings growth.
Cunningham, who joined Splunk in April, spent much of last year listening to partners and developing plans for expanding the company's partner programs: This week's announcements are the result.
"We need to deliver profitable business models for our partners," she said, citing the principles of simplicity, predictability and profitability as the drivers behind the vendor's latest channel moves.
"They listen. They have asked their partners to make a commitment to them. And our company feels that has been a good investment," Jeff Swann, director of solutions architecture at OnX Enterprise Solutions, a Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based solution provider that partners with Splunk, said in an interview.
For reseller partners, Splunk is implementing new rules of engagement for closing customer deals, renewing subscriptions and resolving disputes that Cunningham said will make it easier for partners to work with Splunk. Also being implemented is a streamlined deal registration process.
The company is simplifying its discount structure, which Cunningham described as "very complicated" and made discount predictability difficult for partners. Other rules that kept some partners from reaching maximum discount levels, such as the requirement that a sales engineer participate in sales deals, have been dropped.
"We've really focused it around the sourcing of the deal," Cunningham said of the discount structure. The company has also developed a discount schedule for partners who provide post-sale services.
"Discounts for partners are simpler, and so is the Partner+ Program in general," channel partner Kinney said of the coming changes. "Ease of doing business with Splunk was stated as a 'top five' priority for the upcoming year. I have faith that the Splunk channel team will make this happen," he said.