In the second of this two-part blog series, Ian Tinney looks at why choosing the right partner can make all the difference when deploying high value data analytics solutions like Splunk, and explains why having a knowledgeable and experienced Splunk consulting team will help ensure you maximise your Splunk environment and ROI.

 

In October, a blog by Ian Tinney explored the challenges businesses are facing today, with an uncertain economy and the associated business pressures, the data explosion and cost of data analysis all coming together to create a ‘perfect storm’. Businesses are under pressure to glean valuable data insights and optimise their data analytics platform spend while at the same time manage business risk and identify what to prioritise for observability.

In the second of this two-part blog series, Ian looks at why choosing the right partner can make all the difference when deploying high value data analytics solutions like Splunk, and explains why having a knowledgeable and experienced Splunk consulting team will help ensure you maximise your Splunk environment and ROI.

It came as no surprise to me to read in The CISO Report 2023 by Splunk that 86% of CISOs say their biggest responsibility is to ensure their board sees value in funding security investments. Splunk not only represents a considerable upfront investment, but it also comes with expensive ongoing licence and storage costs. Given the economic, data and budgetary challenges businesses face today, getting the best value out of Splunk isn’t just desirable – it’s imperative.

 

Splunk has to work for you and your business

Splunk has enormous value as a business intelligence tool, but only if it really works for you and your business. Splunk’s report quoted a CISO of a technology organisation with more than 11,000 employees saying: “You can buy all the technology in the world, but if the users are not well trained then things can go bad.” I agree completely, but when it comes to a technology solution like Splunk, there is an important decision to make before getting to the point of training users. And that’s who to appoint as your Splunk consultant or partner.

Splunk is a highly versatile but complex platform with a vast range of features and capabilities that make it a fantastic tool for security, systems and infrastructure insights, as well as an invaluable business intelligence tool for CxOs. But making the most of it requires an in-depth understanding of the totality of the Splunk solution – everything it can do, as well as its limitations. With different versions, features, tools and dashboards available, your chosen partner needs to understand every version of Splunk inside and out, as well as the implementation challenges and workarounds.

 

Our unique approach to Splunk consultancy

4Data Solutions has worked with Splunk since the very first day it was introduced to the EMEA region more than 15 years ago. The senior management of 4Data were the original pioneers of the first Professional Services methodology for the Splunk market in EMEA so we have a unique approach to Splunk consultancy. Many of the key technical people in Splunk London today cut their teeth at EQALIS which I set up and ran from 2007 to 2013.

With this background and experience under our belts, we know exactly how to get the most from Splunk for your infrastructure, service management and business intelligence needs. We not only know the right questions to ask to truly understand your goals, drivers, challenges and pain points, but, importantly, we are also highly experienced in communicating and working with all the key stakeholders at every level of an organisation. Whether it’s C-Suite decision makers focused on business outcomes, systems engineers focused on architecture or security managers focused on code, we know how to talk the language that will resonate with them and get them on board with the Splunk adoption. All of this serves to architect the best design of Splunk to meet all requirements.

Interestingly, Splunk’s CISO Report highlighted that 47% of CISOs now report directly to their CEO which demonstrates that boards are becoming more active security stakeholders – something that should certainly be seen as a positive development. At the same time, CISOs are being asked to justify their security investments. 27% of CISOs questioned by Splunk said that they prioritise reporting the ROI of security investments, indicating where interventions and money have already helped, and paving a way to speak directly to the CFO and gain support for future investments.

 

Qualifying what good Splunk ROI looks like

This is where having a Splunk partner who works with you to qualify what good ROI looks like and details out the total cost of ownership for transparency is key. They can also help you with management of expectations and budgetary planning, and, importantly, establish what the likely time to value is on any project. All of this will help CISOs justify the spend on Splunk and demonstrate that it is adding defined business value and supporting business drivers and outcomes.

Finding the right Splunk partner comes with an added layer of complexity for those businesses operating in highly regulated industries such as defence, government, finance, retail, healthcare, insurance, energy and telecoms. In these industries, finding a partner with extensive knowledge of the regulatory, compliance and staffing challenges is vital. This is where 4Data can really add value. We have vast experience in highly regulated industries, so we really know our stuff. Our team of certified and highly experienced Splunk experts are passionate about getting to grips with our customers’ challenges and ensuring Splunk environments are optimised to meet their specific needs.

We invest heavily in ongoing training and certification, so our Splunk consultants are always at the very top of their game in terms of Splunk knowledge and capabilities. Across the team, we have consultants and architects who hold a range of certifications and accreditations in Splunk’s premium apps, like Enterprise Security. Despite the move to remote-working that COVID ushered in, we have resisted the urge to off-shore work, and instead, are focused on supporting a local workforce in the UK and Europe. My co-founder and co-director at 4Data, Florian Miehe, is based in Berlin, Germany, and operates on behalf of Splunk at the highest level of Splunk consultancy, as does Devan Willemburg, also a co-founder and CISO at 4Data, based in the UK. So, between us there isn’t much we don’t know about Splunk!

 

An ethical partner

Finally, when choosing a partner, one factor we are seeing gain more influence is the ethos and ethics of your chosen partner. More than ever before, businesses and the people that run them are not only looking for technology partners who are skilled and experienced, but also who are ethical, straight-talking, open and transparent.

All of these are central to 4Data and the way we have always operated, as reflected in the many commitments we make as a business. We have signed the UK HM Forces Covenant, whereby we have promised to help veterans find work – you can read about our pledge here. Alongside and supporting this, we are a member of the ADS Group, an organisation that represents and supports over 1,100 UK businesses operating in the aerospace, defence, security and space sectors. We also work closely with the charity TechVets so that we can continue to provide appropriate employment opportunities to the community of military veterans they support. We support the Better Business Act, a campaign to change UK law to ensure that company directors are responsible for advancing the interests of shareholders alongside those of wider society and the environment.

So, to sum up, deciding who to appoint as your Splunk partner to maximise your ROI and truly get the most out of the tool requires some careful consideration. I hope this blog has given you some food for thought about what to look for when going through this decision-making process.

Find out more about what to look for in your ideal Splunk partner here.