Unravel Data targets Big Data specialists with first partner program

The company has also announced Microsoft veteran Mark Wolfram, who will head up their channel initiatives, as vice president of business development and partnerships.

Mark Wolfram, VP of business development and partnerships, Unravel Data

Unravel Data, which makes a data operations platform that uses artificial intelligence to improve the performance of Big Data applications, has made a pair of channel announcements. They have announced the Unravel Partner Program, as well as the formal announcement as Mark Wolfram as vice president of business development and partnerships.

Unravel Data is a Silicon Valley-based startup which has been around for about four years.

“Our founders determined that in Big Data application management, organizations wasted a lot of time and effort tuning and optimizing performance,” Wolfram noted. “There was a significant opportunity to improve how they manage their Big Data environment, which was increasing as people are moving to the cloud. We found that at the end of the day, a single pane of glass with Big Data infrastructure, full-stack visibility, and an AI methodology with recommendations to improve how you manage Big Data provided the best answer.”

The target for this is the Fortune 2000, particularly in banking and health care. They are working with two of the very large Canadian banks.

“This is something that companies typically addressed by throwing bodies at it to manage,” Wolfram said. “The big cloud vendors all have their own independent performance management tools. However, Microsoft is an investor in our company. Even though they provide the capabilities on their own platform, they don’t have anything that crosses the platform, and they see the need for the cross-platform capabilities that we provide.”

Wolfram was at Microsoft for ten years until the end of 2014, with the last four years of that being General Manager of Worldwide Partner Sales responsible for  Large Account Reseller channel and SI partner sales. He then spent over four years running Azuqua’s channel and strategic partner strategy until they were acquired by Okta, and joined Unravel Data this April to build out the partner ecosystem.

Unravel’s initial go-to-market was direct.

“Over 90 per cent of our sales have been direct, and the channel involvement involving companies like SHI and Dell were geared to fulfilment,” Wolfram said. “However, we determined that customer demand had grown to the point where we needed that partner channel to meet that scaled-up demand,” Wolfram said. “We needed system integrator partners for that, and we needed ISV strategic partners to drive scale. We are seeing a lot of interest around Databricks and Informatica workloads, and we needed SI and ISV partners to handle that.”

This was particularly an issue globally, and even in regions of the U.S. where Unravel Data is not as strong.

“Microsoft introduced us to Attunix, a systems integrator, who has capabilities in the northeast that we don’t,” Wolfram indicated. “We introduce them to customers there. We don’t use partners just to drive demand for us.”

Wolfram also cited the example of a bank customer in France which needed a local partner to implement successfully.

The program’s goal initially is to support a cadre of key partners.

“The priority is having a small set of key partners who can be trusted advisors,” he indicated. “We want to have a few go-to partners focused on Big Data. We want to make sure they are successful before we expand. But we are also getting inbound requests from partners we hadn’t expected. There is clearly a bit of a network effect.”

Synnex, for example, is one of these inbound partners.

“They had a very large customer who was interested in having them involved,” Wolfram said. “In this case, it’s a fulfilment relationship, because the customer wanted it.”

Unravel wants partners to be able to fully deploy and implement their solution.

“We want them to be able deliver our technology to large enterprise customers and delight them,” Wolfram said.

The solution is MSP-capable.

“We support it and are working with a few MSPs, but haven’t signed any up yet to the program,” Wolfram indicated. “That’s something that is further on the roadmap.”

Out of the gate, the program will have a single tier, with components for referral relationships as well. Support falls into three buckets: enablement training; resell support; and joint marketing.

“We want them to be able to have subject matter experts nominated for training, and there is a requirement for that.” Wolfram said. “We help lead that, but they have to sign up for it. There are also Go-to-Market marketing capabilities. We attend key Microsoft and AWS events and do some joint marketing there, and that’s a key Go-to-Market for us. We don’t support Google today, but we will by the September-October timeframe.”

Wolfarm outlined his key objectives for the first year of the program.

“I want to be able to say that in a year, over 50 per cent of our business is driven jointly by partners,” he said. “Today, it’s less than 10 per cent. That’s a significant increase. I also have specific goals for the U.S. and UK to have a specific number of partners ramped and trained.”