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Splunk Readies Partner Program Tracks For OEMs, Distributors And Referral Partners

At its Partner Summit conference this week, Splunk is also rolling out new partner specializations and Partner+ program enhancements designed to simplify channel partner engagements.

Machine data analytics software provider Splunk is expanding its channel program to make room for distributors, OEMs and referral partners.

Splunk, which is holding its Partner Summit in Las Vegas this week, is also building up its Partner+ program with a new global partner tier, new partner incentives and new partner specializations in security and IT operations.

Splunk's channel plans are developing as the vendor's partner ranks continue to grow, reaching 1,659 partners of all types, and hold a total of 24,073 partner technical certifications, according to statistics being disclosed at this week's conference. Accenture and Tata Consultancy Services are the No. 1 and No. 2 holders of those certifications.

[Related: Splunk To Acquire Security Orchestration And Automation Response Software Provider Phantom Cyber]

Partners registered more than 12,600 deals in Splunk's fiscal 2018 (ended Jan. 31) and partner bookings grew 40 percent year over year in fiscal 2018, said Brooke Cunningham, area vice president, global partner programs, marketing and operations, in an interview with CRN.

And partners brought 833 new customers to the company with solution provider CDW No. 1 in new customer acquisition. "New customers have been a huge focus for Splunk," Cunningham said.

The planned enhancements to the Partner+ program come on the heels of a significant expansion of the program in 2017, including the addition of program tracks for professional service and MSP partners (Splunk already supported reseller and technology alliance partners), and the launch of a new partner portal.

(Splunk continues to update the portal. In December the company added capabilities for distributors to the system and earlier this month added a partner locator feature – where partners can update their profile – and new business planning tools.)

While Splunk has worked with distributors, the company is providing details this week about a formal global framework for the new distributor track, including incentives and simplified discount structures.

Also new is a referral partner program track that rewards solution providers that bring sales leads to Splunk or otherwise influence deals without actually making the sale. Cunningham said the referral track would be open to both Splunk partners who are not in a selling motion and non-partners.

Splunk is also unveiling plans for an OEM partner track in the Partner+ program slated to launch later this fiscal year. That track will focus on providing benefits, rewards and branding opportunities for ISV partners. While Splunk already works with a number of OEM partners, Cunningham said they currently account for "a modest" percentage of the vendor's total sales.

Splunk is also announcing ongoing improvements to Partner+, including the new security and IT operations specializations, and new training opportunities and marketing resources for MSP partners. Simplified revenue requirements and clearer guidelines around customer renewals, are also on the list of program enhancements.

"My goal for the program is to continue to drive more simplicity, more predictability, and ensure the program is profitable for both Splunk and our partners," Cunningham said.

The channel executive cited a study that found that the most profitable Splunk partners go beyond implementation services to offer a range of complementary services that span multiple use cases across IT operations, security, Internet of Things and business analytics.

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