Unravel Data Launches First Channel Program, Leverages Microsoft And AWS Relationships To Recruit Partners

The startup looks to enlist systems integrators and solution providers with big data expertise to provide its performance management platform for complex business analytics, digital transformation and cloud migration projects.

Unravel Data, a developer of software for managing the performance of big data applications, launched its first official partner program with a goal of driving 50 percent of sales through the channel within the next 18 months.

Through the new Unravel Partner Program the company looks to strengthen its relationships with the solution providers and systems integrators that it currently works with and to recruit additional partners. The program also will cover the technology and platform companies that Unravel has allied itself with, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, and ISV partners such as Informatica and Databricks.

"We realized that with our growth goals, we really needed a robust partner ecosystem," said Mark Wolfram, who joined Unravel in April as vice president of business development and partnerships and is leading the channel initiative.

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Wolfram came to Unravel from Azuqua where he held a similar post for more than four years. Before that he worked at Microsoft for 10 years, including four years as the software giant's general manager of worldwide partner sales.

Unravel's platform is used by businesses and organizations to manage the performance of data-driven applications, including business analytics and Internet of Things systems, and the data pipelines that feed them. The company's cloud-based software supports a range of data source technologies including Spark, Hadoop, Kafka, Impala, HBase and SQL.

The migration of big data systems to the cloud has been a significant driver for Unravel's sales. "We're seeing a huge amount of demand to support cloud migration efforts," Wolfram said in an interview with CRN.

Launched in 2013, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup raised $35 million in Series C funding in May.

While about 90 percent of Unravel's sales to this point have been direct, Wolfram said he expects the channel to account for 50 percent of the vendor's sales within 18 months.

Unravel already works with a number of systems integrators, particularly those with big data practices, including RCG Global Services and Attunix. "Systems integrators see this as a real opportunity to enhance their technology and service offerings and better support their customers in big data," Wolfram said. A few other relationships, such as with SHI International, were focused on sales fulfillment.

"Although it's not a universal truth, we typically find the more data that can be brought to bear on a problem, the better the results," said Rick Skriletz, global managing principal at RCG, in a statement about the Iselin, N.J.-based company's work with Unravel Data. "Our complementary solution sets—and integration between them—are geared to bring automation to big data workflows, which is the one need we most often hear from customers."

A major driver behind the launch of the new partner program is Unravel's strategic alliances with AWS and Microsoft, through which the company is being introduced to those vendors' channel partners. That is creating new partnering opportunities for Unravel, Wolfram said, necessitating the need for a more structured approach to the channel.

One such partner is Attunix, based in Bellevue, Wash., which recently began working with Unravel through a Microsoft introduction. "We very quickly saw the opportunities," said Kurt Steck, Attunix's vice president of business development, in an interview. Attunix is adding Unravel's software to its toolbox of advanced analytics, application modernization, Internet of Things and modern data center solutions, he said.

Because Unravel doesn't have very extensive service capabilities of its own, Wolfram said, the company especially needs partners who can provide customer services, including big data system planning and design, software implementation and customization, data migration and managed services, Wolfram said.

Attunix, for example, will utilize Unravel's software for its customers' digital transformation projects that involve complex, data-intensive applications, bringing the solution provider's system design, planning and cloud enablement skills to customer projects.

"It's not just a technical problem. It's not just a data problem," said Matt O'Donnell, Attunix president and CEO, in an interview. "We have some really strong practices across [digital transformation] enablement," O'Donnell said. "We're not just bringing technical implementation capabilities, we're bringing a consultative approach."

Steck noted that he expects many customer engagements to be three-way deals involving Attunix, Unravel Data and Microsoft.

The new Unravel Partner Program provides a range of enablement, go-to-market and post-sales support services. It offers joint-marketing activities and co-marketing resources, along with a partner lead and deal registration system. Partners also will have access to tools for customer account management and global technical support.

Partner training, provided through documentation and video sessions, cover the Unravel product and its technology, product sales capabilities, and big data best practices, according to the company. Wolfram said a partner certification program is under development and is likely to launch late this year or in early 2020.

Among the program requirements, partners are expected to be subject matter experts in big data usage and/or in big data system infrastructure, Wolfram said. While some partners will resell Unravel's cloud software, the executive expects that most partners will focus on developing services around the product and providing sales referrals to the vendor.