Published: September 26th, 2017

Washington D.C.Splunk Inc. has been busy with its partner program over the last year.

Since last year’s Splunk .conf conference, the company has been introducing news aspects to its Partner+ program as well as updating pre-existing ones. This amounts to two new programs, the Partner+ Managed Service Provider (MSP) program and Partner+ Technology Alliance Program (TAP), enhancements to the Partner+ Professional Services and Partner+ Reseller programs, and a new Partner+ Portal.

“We saw that we had a great opportunity with our partner ecosystem to really formalize it to drive simplicity, predictability, and profitability for our partners,” Brooke Cunningham, AVP of global partner programs and operations at Splunk told CDN.

For instance, the new MSP program became a necessity once the company realized the number of MSPs that wanted to work with the company, but didn’t have the bandwidth to provide the best support for. Now the MSP track of the Splunk Partner+ program can help processes for MSPs with the added support of global Splunk authorized distributors that will help with recruiting, onboarding, and managing MSPs.

And new tracks like the MSP track can crossover into other, pre-existing tracks that Splunk partners may have already been residing.

“One of the key elements is aligning the MPS program discounts with reseller discounts. This allows for partners to engage with both [tracks],” said Cunningham.

The creation of the Partner+ TAP track revolves around providing engagement models for independent software vendor (ISV) partners so that they can build their own solutions on top of the Splunk platform in conjunction with Splunk or joint customers across IT and security.

“As a technology alliance partner, we do more than resell software, and over the last 18 months we have seen great growth for our business. As far as partner management goes, we’ve benefited in areas like deal registration, pricing, etc., from being a TAP,” said Atif Ghuari, vice president of customer success at Herjavec Group.

The TAP program has been up-and-running for nearly a year now, while the reseller and professional services enhancements and MSP track went live March 1. The new Partner+ Portal has been live since July.

“We have see a lot of engagement [since the programs went live]. In TAP we are seeing really strong uptake from partners with 270 partners signed on and about 400 additional partners starting to get engaged,” said Cunningham. “We are really reaching out to partners to find what works best, and this gives us a strong indication that we are meeting the needs of the external market.”

Enhancements to the reseller and professional services program stem around that mentality of making the programs simpler, predictable, and more profitable. When Cunningham stepped into her role over a year ago, she received feedback from partners stating that tracks like the reseller track are unnecessarily complex.

The enhancements to the reseller program revolve around creating a simplified and globally consistent discount structure, new mutually beneficial rules of engagement, and a simpler deal registration process.

Meanwhile, the professional services program has been updated to have a better framework for partners looking to obtain training and certifications. Those updates include a set of best practices and program benefits.

“Definitely in 2017 there has been much more evident maturity for the partner program,” said Paul Johnson, president and co-founder of Discovered Intelligence. “[Partner+] has become a lot more formalized. They split it into different programs within the overall program, and as a professional services company, that whole process has become easier. We’ve grown by three people this year and the whole process for certifications has become much easier and well laid out.”

Unlike the programs that had previously existed and were updated, the Partner+ Portal was rehauled and relaunched earlier this summer with a new and friendlier interface. Features include easier access to deal registration, marketing tools, program guidelines, certification, and various other resources.

“Deal registration is the best example and highest use case of the Partner+ Portal across our company. Submitting, checking status, etc., has become a lot simpler rather than what it was before,” said Ghuari. “Also knowing who is on what client account. We can now look and see who from Splunk is working on it.”

“Our partner portal was clunky and challenging, so the feedback I learned was [partners] wanted automated processes,” added Cunningham. “It’s mobile ready, so partners can easily complete tasks on the portal like deal registration on the go. Partners can do a lot more self-service.”

And this is just the first phase of the new Partner+ Portal according to Cunningham. Splunk has a planned second phase expected to be completed in 2018 that will add new functionality around the partner locator. Partners will also see stronger efforts around giving partners the ability to customize their profile to get published on Splunk.com.