Being able to move quickly is crucial for tech companies that want to innovate -- but not just for that. It’s also critical for vendors that want a thriving relationship with their channel partners, says Brooke Cunningham, area vice president for global partner programs and operations at Splunk.
That belief in the value of moving fast has steered Cunningham’s career toward companies with a “go-getter” culture, she said — and, not coincidentally, toward companies that aren’t necessarily the largest players in the tech world. Before joining data-analysis software firm Splunk in May, Cunningham had spent nearly five years at business intelligence software vendor Qlik, most recently as Qlik’s vice president for global partner marketing.
Cunningham said that having a culture that encourages moving fast is especially important for her as a channel executive.
“Hearing feedback from partners on things that might need tweaks, or being able to implement new systems to improve the partner experience and the ease of doing business — those are important things for me to be able to move fast on,” Cunningham said.
San Francisco-based Splunk, which went public in 2012, has been on a tear in 2016 with revenue growing to $398.7 million during the first half of the year, up 46 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Splunk doesn’t break out the percentage of its sales that go through partners in its channel program, which was formalized in 2015, Cunningham said.
But, she said, “We have really ramped up the investments we’re making [in the partner program]. That’s one of the major triggers that attracted me to come to Splunk.”
Cunningham’s career previously included stints at SAP and CA Technologies, serving in channel marketing roles at those companies.
“What got me hooked on the partner side of the business is that I just really saw that one-plus-one-equals-three equation,” she said. “We were able to grow our business so much faster through the partner channel.”
Helping her success in channel roles, Cunningham said, is that “I definitely would identify myself as a people person and a networker.”
And for women looking to get into tech, Cunningham said the IT channel “lends itself well, particularly for women who are interested in a role where it’s integrated more with people.”
“The perception is that to get into tech, you have to be very, very technical. That’s not the case,” she said. “There’s such a wide variety of roles in the channel that can suit so many different skills and backgrounds.”