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Data Transformation Startup Dbt Labs Launches Technology Partner Program – Exclusive

Rick Whiting

Through the new partner initiative dbt Labs looks to strengthen integration links with developers of data governance, data quality and data management tools and leading business analytics software vendors.

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 Data transformation and analytics engineering technology developer dbt Labs is launching a technology partner program today that the company says will strengthen business alliances and technical integrations between the startup and leading data management and business intelligence software vendors.

The new dbt Labs Technology Partner Program will have more than 50 partners at its debut today, company executives told CRN in an exclusive interview, including data integration technology developer Airbyte, data observability platform vendor Monte Carlo and data analytics leader ThoughtSpot.

The dbt Labs technology is designed for how data transformation work is increasingly being done with the paradigm shift from on-premises to cloud computing, “which blows up all of the expectations around how one wants to interact with large datasets,” said CEO Tristan Handy in an interview with CRN.

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Founded in 2016 and based in Philadelphia, dbt Labs has been gaining momentum with its cloud-based data transformation workflow tools that help businesses and organizations build data pipelines and transform, test and document data in cloud data warehouse systems.

The company’s platform includes a development framework that combines SQL development and software engineering best practices such as modularity, portability, CI/CD and documentation.

“Prior generations of tooling were built with a set of assumptions about how much compute they would have access to and how much storage they would have access to and how constrained they were,” Handy said. “And all on-prem. With services like [Google] BigQuery, Snowflake, Databricks – those constraints go out the window. All of a sudden there‘s this opportunity to rethink how workloads and allocation permissions are done.”

Venture Capital Round Raised Valuation

In February dbt Labs raised $222 million in Series D funding, boosting its valuation to $4.2 billion. Currently there are 12,000 companies using the open source dbt Core software and 2,000 customers using its commercial dbt Cloud platform.

Today dbt Labs primarily partners with technology companies and ISVs – the focus of the new program – and consultants in the data management and business analytics space.

“At Airbyte, we have a great deal in common with dbt Labs – both of us are building open-source software that benefits the data community,” said Michel Tricot, co-founder and CEO at Airbyte, in a statement. “We’re excited to work together to create great experiences for our growing mutual user base.”

“The types of partners that we‘re working with is really a wide spectrum,” said Nikhil Kothari, head of technology alliances at dbt Labs, in the interview. “The reason why we’re investing in this program – and we‘ve been working with partners for a while now – is to really help enable a range of seamless integrations that are used by data practitioners that really extend these capabilities.

“We have over 50 or so partners today that are already engaged in the partner program and the categories that they provide solutions for range from data ingestion, data quality, data catalogs and data governance, all the way through the BI layer,” Kothari said.

dbt Labs sees itself as playing a central role in the cloud data analytics “stack.” In recent months a number of players in the big data space have established alliances with dbt Labs and/or linked their products with the dbt Labs platform and tools, including data lakehouse developer Databricks and cloud data analytics provider Starburst. The company’s software is available through Databricks Partner Connect, Snowflake Partner Connect and the AWS Marketplace.

“Monte Carlo works hand-in-hand with dbt Labs to bring improved data reliability to joint users, solving an important pain point: data downtime,” said Barr Moses, co-founder and CEO at Monte Carlo, in a statement. “Partnering with dbt Labs allows analytics engineering teams to deliver more trustworthy data products by pairing end-to-end data observability with robust testing.”

Technology Partner Program Resources

The new dbt Labs Technology Partner Program is particularly focused on providing technical tools and resources, including documentation development and other best practices, to help partners integrate their products with the dbt Cloud system. The program also includes an engagement model that spells how out dbt Labs engineers work with product engineers and software engineers on the partner side, Kothari said.

The company’s technology partner ecosystem got a boost in September 2021 with the availability of the company’s dbt Cloud Metadata API. The upcoming release of the dbt Semantic Layer technology in October will foster closer connections to business intelligence software vendors.

A key component of the partner initiative is the Adapter Verification Program, a technical guide and specifications for technology partners with products that support analytical SQL queries. The guide, paired with an engagement model, is designed to help technology partners who develop and maintain dbt adapters to achieve a “Verified” designation that will build user trust by ensuring “best practices, compatibility and optimal user experience,” according to the company.

“Our partnership with dbt Labs unlocks the true potential of the modern data stack by putting safe and reliable self-service analytics in the hands of every employee,” said Amit Prakash, co-founder and CTO at ThoughtSpot, in a statement. “The integration allows data teams to empower anyone in their organization with the flexibility and power of dbt models and metadata through self-service analytics on ThoughtSpot. Together, we’re empowering the analytics engineer to scale their business impact like never before.”

Going Beyond Open Source

While home-grown and third-party adaptors and integrations are common in the open-source world, those links aren’t always verified by platform developers. “That tends to not always produce the best customer experiences,” Handy said. “What we‘re trying to do is get the best creativity and contribution from the open-source model, but then [provide] just a little bit of top-down assurance.”

The new program also includes a certification program to ensure that partners have familiarity and competency with the dbt Labs system and are following best practices when working with customers.

“The channel ecosystem is quite important, because typically when customers are moving, either they‘re adopting cloud-native data platforms and building their data infrastructure around it or, particularly in large enterprises, they’re migrating from legacy environments,” Kothari said. “And so partners in the ecosystem are incredibly crucial for their success and how they actually adopt and deploy these data infrastructure environments. The partners play a critical role here as they have expertise in not only [dbt Labs technology], but complementary technologies that are going to be part of their customers’ environment.”

The new program also includes some go-to-market components for strategic technology partners, including joint marketing and co-selling efforts, to help connect partners with the dbt Labs user base, according to Kothari.

Because dbt Core is available as open-source, Handy said solution providers, service providers and systems integrators are already working with the company’s technology in client engagements. As that usage expands, solution providers are coming to the company looking for a more formal partnership. Kothari declined to comment on any plans for launching a formal program for those partners.

 

Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at rwhiting@thechannelcompany.com.

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