Splunk emphasizes delightful user experience with spring release enhancements

The big items in this release are Splunk Connected Experiences and Splunk Business Flow, which contain some functionality that were first demoed last fall at Splunk’s big customer event.

Splunk TV dashboard

One of the themes of Spunk’s big .conf18 customer event last fall was broadening the number of Splunk users in an organization who can use the software beyond technical users who know SPL query language to more general Line of Business people. That theme continues today with Splunk’s big spring software update. They are announcing general availability of both Splunk Connected Experiences and Splunk Business Flow, which extend analytical capabilities to more customers and through more mediums.

“There are two key messages here,” said Josh Klahr, Splunk’s Vice President Of Product Management. “The first is the extending the usability of Splunk for Line-of-Business users, as well as extending where they work with Splunk. The other is increasing the extent of machine learning and artificial intelligence with things like predictive service health. We are making enhancements to what we do from a machine learning perspective that enhances value to vertical applications.”

Several of the Splunk Connected Experiences elements will be familiar to Splunk users who attended .conf18 last October, although one that was not emphasized then was Splunk TV. It is is a native Apple TV app that lets customers securely view Splunk dashboards on any peripheral device – not just PCs. Splunk TV is really a metaphor for the theme of this release – providing consumer-grade delight akin to products like Apple to Splunk users.

Josh Klahr, Splunk’s Vice President Of Product Management

“Historically, we have been very good at addressing large swaths of machine data,” Klahr said. “More recently, we have been investing in expanding our addressable market of consumers. We are looking at customers who use product and making sure we match the way that they work. In application development, it is the DevOps team that is responsible for maintaining the health and uptime of applications. Everyone is now on call, and they want a mobile experience.”

In addition to Splunk TV, Splunk Mobile is now available. It provides actionable alerts and mobile-friendly dashboards on mobile devices through the Splunk Mobile App, and provides the user with the option to take an action directly through the app rather than log into another system. Access to dashboards is provided through Apple Watch. The Splunk Mobile App for iPhone and Apple Watch, like Splunk TV, are all downloads available through the App Store.

“These were previewed last fall, and are really aimed at field techs and folks on the factory floor,” Klahr indicated. “The Apple Watch is also aimed at accessibility for the executive, because it’s a consumer experience-type application. I use it myself to check out the deployment process.”

Another new element of Splunk Connected Experiences is Splunk Cloud Gateway, which provides a secure cloud service with end-to-end encryption that easily installs Splunk Enterprise app for Mobile, and Splunk Augmented Reality [AR]. Splunk AR, also demoed onstage last fall, gives direct access to the Splunk dashboard simply scanning a QR code or NFC tag with a mobile device. For customers that are Voice (Splunk Natural Language Search) enabled, this app lets users talk directly to Splunk via the mobile app and get live results spoken back. It’s also a free download from the App Store.

“We also previewed Splunk AR at .conf, and since then, we have done some really successful betas where the customer got a lot of content value,” Klahr indicated.

Dark Mode, which was a big hit onstage at .conf, provides a dark background for the background, and was designed to provide SOCs and NOCs with easy way to visualize Splunk Data. Splunk TV uses Dark Mode as a default.

“We have been told by customers that Dark Mode has also reduced power costs by 10 per cent, and that it makes things cooler, which is another interesting value,” Klahr noted.

Splunk Business Flow

Splunk Business Flow is designed to enhance customer experience by providing an easy-to-use process mining solution to both discover bottlenecks that threaten business performance while helping identify opportunities for improvement.

“Splunk Business Flow is really intended to make analytics capability more accessible to users who might not have used Splunk,” Klahr said. “It saves the Line-of-Business person from having to go to IT. This in turn allows us into the LOB. What we see happening in practice is that LOB users know value and have struggled to have that direct access, and this gives them that access.”

“We had our North American partner advisory council last month, where Tim Tully, our CTO, shared more depth around these things with them,” said Brooke Cunningham, Splunk’s AVP of global partner programs and operations. “The partners were very excited. They are especially excited about the way this will provide more accessibility to business users, because they are advisors to the business side. They see it as increasing more opportunities to do things for them there.”

Not surprisingly, some of the ‘below the fold’ technical elements of the new release were also of interest to partners, particularly integrations of Splunk’s new monitoring suite for modern IT Ops with Splunk VictorOps and Splunk Phantom.

“Partners like this because it lets them tell a more integrated story around security,” Cunningham said.

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