Splunk Execs: Partners Taking Machine Learning Into New IoT, Industrial Applications

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Splunk is expanding the machine data capabilities of its operational data software as it launches new releases of its Splunk Enterprise, IT Service Intelligence and User Behavior Analytics applications. The company said these new releases would bring machine learning capabilities to mainstream users.

The new product releases, announced Tuesday at Splunk's .conf2017 customer and partner conference, come as the vendor continues to expand its Partner+ Program and grow its base of channel partners.

Splunk now has 950 partners within its channel ecosystem, up from 750 earlier this year, said Brooke Cunningham, Splunk area vice president of global partner programs and operations, in an interview prior to the .conf2017 conference.

[Related: Sources: Symantec Is Looking To Break Into The SIEM Market]

"We're seeing that growth across the partner ecosystem," Cunningham said, referring to Splunk's partner ranks that include resellers, systems integrators, professional service companies, managed service providers and technology OEMs.

Splunk, founded in 2003, only began focusing on the channel in recent years. Channel efforts accelerated two years ago when Doug Merritt was hired as president and CEO in 2015 and he made the channel a part of his growth strategy.

"I think we're starting to see the payoffs from those investments," Merritt said during a press conference Tuesday. "It's been a long journey and we're never done. Wherever we are a year from now, there's still going to be 50 percent more that we can be doing the year after and 50 percent more after that."

Splunk's partners have been particularly successful in specific domains such as robotics and industrial Internet of Things where "unique use cases" require expertise that Splunk doesn't have, said Rick Fitz, senior vice president of IT markets, in the same press conference.

"We're seeing [partners] really pick up the areas we don't know and start to drive a lot of unique value in the market," Fitz said. "This is really the area of value-added resellers and systems integrators."

Splunk has been particularly stepping up its channel operations this year. In March the company added programs for professional service and MSP partners and upgraded the resources it offers reseller partners.

In July the vendor launched an overhauled partner portal with expanded capabilities designed to boost loyalty among existing partners and help recruit additional partners. The new portal provided more self-service capabilities, improved partner communications, and was more tailored to Splunk's different categories of partners including resellers, systems integrators, professional service companies and MSPs.

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