The Best of .conf23: Partnerships, Edge Data and the Right Kind of Intelligence

For 20 years Splunk has repeatedly broken new ground in innovation. It has moved into the cloud with its customers and together we have continued the journey towards artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). And we have arrived in Europe – today more than ever.

For good reason: Splunk's presence in EMEA is crucial for us. On the one hand, because we are passionate about the talent that is here. Secondly, because we always do our utmost to meet the needs of our local customers in the best possible way. Europe is a hugely important market for us, with active customers from a wide range of sectors – from automotive and energy to retail and the public sector. European businesses are currently in a situation where they are realising that, given the complexity of modern hybrid worlds, they can only successfully continue their digital transformation journey by breaking down silos and having their teams collaborate on a unified data foundation. This is true across the board, whether it's minimising costs or building digital resilience. Almost every conversation I have with leaders ultimately revolves around the question "How can we ensure that we are working as one team towards the same goal?".

That's a question I like to talk about. Because I am firmly convinced that Splunk has a very good answer to it. The best answer, actually: unified security and observability. At .conf23 – my first .conf ever – a customer told me: "You know more about our shortcomings and our silos than we do." Maybe that's actually true. When I look at the recent innovations and new features we announced at .conf23, it seems that way indeed. I would like to highlight a few of these innovations because I think they are particularly important for the future and for our customers in EMEA.

Future-oriented Splunk Partnerships – Microsoft and SAPGary Steele .conf23 Microsoft Azure Ankündigung

The first thing I’d like to mention here are the new partnerships that bring Splunk solutions to even more established ecosystems and give our customers the security and flexibility they want and need for their hybrid multi-cloud environments. Firstly, there is the strategic partnership with Microsoft. Splunk coming to the Azure Marketplace is something that has been widely requested, especially in EMEA. Equally important: Splunk Security for SAP Solutions is now an official SAP app (SAP Endorsed App) – a decisive step in view of the ERP market share in EMEA, where SAP is often the core system. Numerous companies have requested these partnerships and we are all the more pleased that they have now become a reality.

Transparency for OT Environments – Splunk Edge Hub

The second important innovation is a small physical hardware device that Joel Jacob, Principal Product Manager at Splunk, brought to .conf23 and demonstrated it live: the Splunk Edge Hub. Thanks to its built-in sensors (e.g. for measuring temperature, brightness, vibration or humidity), the Edge Hub enables comprehensive insights into OT environments. Whether it's environmental or machine data, physical or edge environments, all data can be streamed directly to Splunk to create a bridge between IT systems and the vast amounts of environmental and machine data generated at the shop floor level. The Splunk Edge Hub enables companies to identify, investigate and resolve problems more quickly to achieve lasting operational cost savings.

Gary Steele Splunk Edge Hub

Especially in the industrial hubs across Europe, this opens up a significant amount of real-time data. It’s also relevant for other industries such as logistics – our customer FedEx, whose CTO Adam Smith presented at the .conf23 keynote, has already coupled its edge data with AI analyses (I'll come to this topic in a second). And the keynote also made clear what Splunk is all about: we don't promise what we can't deliver. And we work with technology, processes and people – always for our customers and to achieve greater digital resilience.

New Collection of AI/ML-Powered Solutions – Splunk AI

Last but not least our new CTO Ming Wang presented. She immediately made it clear that Splunk will place a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning – with three important basic principles:

  1. Domain-specific – to provide the best possible AI functions for security and observability.
  2. Human-in-the-loop – for faster detection, investigation and response while providing full, enhanced human control.
  3. Openness, extensibility and interoperability – to give customers freedom of choice between using Splunk's own, self-developed or third-party AI tools.

As always, the focus here is on our customers, who should benefit from concrete use cases. However, this is done without paternalism and in the awareness that AI/ML functions should not replace people, but support them and make companies successful and resilient. The best single example is probably the Splunk AI Assistant, a generative AI that can formulate SPL (Splunk Processing Language) queries from natural language input via an interactive chat experience, with the aim of being able to react faster and more intelligently to any problem. The full keynote by Ming Wang is available as a recording here.

AI/ML is at the Top of the Needs List

In terms of how the announcements resonated with customers on site, OT Security and Edge Hub are clearly important for EMEA, as are – and especially for Germany – the partnerships with Microsoft and SAP. However, we are experiencing the most encouragement with Splunk's extended AI/ML support. Not surprisingly, companies know best where they have pain points. And they know that machine learning is the adjusting screw that can be used to optimise response times, process and cost efficiency in such a way that incidents do not lead to a standstill, but at the same time keep the company agile and stable – for maximum ROI of the new hybrid cloud worlds.

Petra Jenner
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Petra Jenner

Petra Jenner is Senior Vice President and General Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Splunk. Prior to Splunk, Jenner spent six years at Salesforce across a variety of roles in EMEA, most recently as General Manager, Senior Vice President responsible for Eastern Europe and Switzerland. Based in Munich and with more than 25 years in the technology industry, she has also held leadership roles with Microsoft, Checkpoint and Pivotal. Jenner holds a Masters Degree in Business and IT, and studied International Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Singapore.

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