Tremendous opportunity in APAC for Splunk
Splunk’s VP in Asia, Simon Davies shares the highlights of their annual conference, .conf.
EITN: What are the top announcements during your recent conference?
Simon: While there were many important product, solutions and partnership announcements made at this year’s .conf, the unifying theme of these announcements that emerges is how businesses are increasingly leveraging data and engaging with the growing quantum of data. This technological revolution that businesses are undergoing is what many deem as the Data Age.
Across APAC, our customers Atlassian and FIS Financial Services are examples of businesses that regard data as a critical fabric of their organizational operation. This is part of a larger trend across our customer base regionally. As more companies understand how important it is to harness the full potential of data to achieve great business outcome, Splunk is also updating our portfolios of solutions to cater to this shift in demand.
Our newly launched Splunk Machine Learning Environment (SMLE) is noteworthy as it is designed and geared towards data scientists and other advanced data practitioners who build machine learning models from data housed on Splunk’s platform. We simplify the user experience for data scientists as they are able to use familiar tools such as notebooks and processing data, while streamlining the machine learning workflow through centralized management of data, providing continuous unbounded machine learning. Data scientists will also be able to benefit from the newly launched Splunk Data Stream Processor 1.2, which offers new machine learning and look up functionalities that take your data further.
To thrive in the Data Age, organizations need a complete view of their data. Splunk Observability Suite curates infrastructure monitoring, application performance monitoring, digital experience monitoring, log investigation, and incident response tool which provide IT and DevOps teams with a holistic solution. At .conf, we announced the expansion of our monitoring solutions including Log Observer and Real User Monitoring. Integrating the best-in-class solutions to Splunk’s platform enables us to support the growing need for observability solutions among our customers.
Finally, Splunk’s Connected Experiences, which enables customers to access the capabilities of Splunk’s platform beyond the desktop has been updated to improve workforce productivity in a remote workforce. With a mobile-friendly interface that interacts with augmented reality, Connected Experiences has seen a growing number of users integrate business intelligence with Splunk, helping them visualize data at scale and consume data from a greater number of sources than traditional dashboards.
EITN: What are your customers’ feedback toward these announcements? Which product/solution are they most excited about?
Simon: Our customers are most excited by Data Stream Processing and machine learning products, specifically how these technologies can be integrated to facilitate machine learning within their organization. While machine learning has always been fascinating for organizations, they often struggle to meaningfully incorporate it into processes. Customers are excited by the ability to take the theoretical concept of machine learning using the Splunk machine learning environment and integrating it with real-time data processing. Our partnerships with SAP and Google Cloud have been well received by customers.
EITN: Which is your best-selling product? In terms of Splunk products that your customers use, do you find customers’ priorities changing after the coronavirus changing? What are they demanding more of? Are requirements for APAC customers different from customers in other regions?
Simon: All our customers utilize the core Splunk ‘Data-to-Everything’ platform, and leverage Splunk’s portfolio products to drive organizational value. Asia Pacific is a heterogenous region with differing portfolio product needs. For example, there is a lot of traction in IT and observability portfolio products among Australian customers, while markets such as Japan are more inclined towards our security offerings. Both security and observability products are popular across Southeast Asia, but we are seeing a growing interest in observability portfolio products.
In Malaysia, we have seen early adoption of Splunk parameter use cases. A key turning point for the country’s digital journey was the Movement Control Order, in which we saw increased usage of our platforms to support businesses as they pivoted to remote working overnight. With businesses viewing their IT and security portfolios as critical, along with systems reliability and business resilience both internally and externally; we saw an increase in organizations using Splunk to support their IT systems and build resilience across industries such as financial services, utilities, and payments. Our platform is even being used in the manufacturing sector to monitor production lines, demonstrating the far-reach of digitalisation following COVID-19.
EITN: How do you foresee customer demands of Splunk changing/adapting in the future?
Simon: From a cybersecurity perspective, we have observed an exponential increase in the defensible area that businesses need to protect as employees continue to work remotely. Now businesses are faced with the challenge of not only having to protect their work environment from cyberthreats and bad actors, but also their employees’ homes and work environments.
Secondly, being able to build security and resilience to support business productivity is a key consideration for businesses as they turn to digital frameworks. Splunk recognizes this, leading to our partnership with SAP, and it helped many of our customers build secure and resilient SAP platforms. With businesses looking to minimize costs and boost efficiency, it has never been more important to ensure robust digital infrastructures as a single SAP outage costs millions of dollars in lost productivity for companies.
Splunk continues to provide the ability to build resilience and get systems up and running fast, pre-empting problems for customers through machine learning. We predict that machine learning’s role in identifying system weaknesses will grow in importance in a post COVID-19 world due to our increased reliance on technology.
From a regional perspective, Asia Pacific customers do not have the legacy technology and investments that their North American counterparts do. They do not have to write off these investments, allowing them to take advantage of technologies such as cloud and build cloud native environments for their businesses to operate within.
However, this also pose its own set of challenges. There are greater complexities that emerge when operating in a cloud environment including managing and delivering cloud services, and the costs associated with doing so. A platform like Splunk can support customers in demystifying cloud migration and navigating cloud native environments, a component that is growing to be a part of organizational IT environments.
Customers increasingly look to drive innovation through their IT platforms, with the post COVID-19 world accelerating this use of differentiation. We observe that organisations which had undertaken some form of digitalisation are in a better position to emerge and grow in a post-pandemic world.
Businesses are also realizing that their technology has the ability to create a competitive difference, which feeds into their company’s strategic – something that is taking place in companies at each stage of their cloud migration journey. Developing a secure yet transparency ecosystem, whether it is through the use of Splunk’s SAP environment or in customer facing systems or backend systems will help to protect businesses against bad actors who want to exploit weaknesses in the digital systems. In a post COVID world, Splunk’s ability to help customers achieve those outcomes is even more important.
EITN: Please share Splunk’s offering roadmap
Simon: At Splunk, we are committed to delivering innovation across our product portfolio. At .conf, announcements combine portfolios of solutions addressing specific customer needs across sectors such as cyber security and IT observability. The ability to deliver critical frameworks will help our customers on their journey as they migrate their organizations to where they need to get to.
Splunk Connected Experiences is another area we would like to grow, connecting customers with the insights they need across devices. Alongside this framework, we continue to consider how technologies such as VR are consumed and their ability to support our customers on their journey.
Beyond that, Splunk is increasingly considering the ecosystem that it operates within and continues to invest in strategic partnerships to integrate the best-in-class solutions onto our platform. At .conf, we expanded our strategic partnership with Google Cloud, offering greater flexibility for customers. We also announced Splunk Service Intelligence for SAP solutions, enabling us to secure critical pieces of infrastructure for our customers, and building on over 2000 Splunk solutions already available in the market.
From a regional lens, Asia Pacific continues to hold tremendous opportunity for Splunk, especially on the back of the digitalisation wave brought about by COVID-19. The momentum and sheer resilience seen in regional economies set it up to emerge out of the pandemic better than other regions. Asia Pacific’s ability to leapfrog legacy technology investments will create a real opportunity for businesses, with Splunk in tow supporting our customers in Asia as they navigate the Data Age.