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Splunk's ambition to weave machine data fabric through your entire business

By George Nott | Oct. 5, 2016
Machine data search and analysis solution seeks enterprise-wide platform status.

Splunk's machine learning toolkit, launched last week, is essentially an open source app so customers can put complex algorithms – both universally applicable and use case specific – to action on their machine data. Splunk will, Antani says, become a "distribution channel for machine learning algorithms" for partners to build upon.

"We can only imagine within Splunk one per cent of all the algorithms that are relevant against big data," Merritt told CIO Australia last week. "The toolkit is a framework so the pool can provide algorithms and stage algorithms.

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"Machine learning enables organisations to get deeper insights from their machine data and ultimately increases the opportunity our customers can gain from digital transformation."

Winner takes it all

Splunk claims it is the only tech company that has to turn down happy customer speakers for its conferences. But the majority of five thousand attendees to last week's .conf 16 came from IT teams. To meet its platform ambitions, and permeate every business function, those at the board level will need to be convinced of Splunk's benefits too.

Splunk has opened new offices in Sydney and Melbourne, to house a rapidly expanding sales team and breakout rooms for training and demonstrations in a bid to do just that. The company's Australian employee count has risen from 17 to 72 in less than a year.

The pressure is on. Splunk faces competition from the established tech giants Microsoft, IBM and Oracle each of which offer big data analytics solutions and the likes of Sumo Logic which competes specifically on Splunk's machine data hometurf. "We're in a high speed market," Antani said. "You're not going to see fragmented market share in our business. It's a winner take all market."

On the customer feedback board in the Orlando conference's vendor hall, visitors put stickers on areas they thought Splunk could improve. Most of the unhappy smileys were stuck in the cost category.

"If you only use us as a tool to solve one problem your really leaving a lot of value on the table," admits Antani. "Where we become stunningly cheap is when you're using us across IT and security and business analytics and so on.

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"It's a single data platform with multiple lenses. Think of all the different tools you just displaced and disrupted because you don't need all these speciality tools anymore."

Inspired and terrified

It's all about changing perceptions says Merritt, convincing organisations to go 'all-in' on Splunk.

"Splunk is going to be this horizontal technology across the organisation," Merritt said. "The world I don't think has seen us that way though. When you're ready to talk about big data and big data solutions sometimes Splunk is in there, sometimes not. More times than not I find the opposite - 'I love Splunk for X'."


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