Bob Evans interviews Chris Degnan, Chief Revenue Officer, Snowflake, as part of the Partners Ecosystem Innovation series, in which he speaks with top executives responsible for the ecosystem businesses of the Cloud Wars Top 10 companies. This exclusive series leads up to the Partners Ecosystem Digital Summit, taking place on April 20, 2023. Click here to register for the event. Bob and Chris Degnan discuss Snowflake’s partners ecosystem, managing customer priorities, and creating valuable customer experiences.
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00:39 — After introducing Degnan, Bob explains that he is interested in seeing how Snowflake is utilizing its partners ecosystem to meet customer demands and expectations. He also asks Degnan about the company’s top priority for its partners ecosystem.
01:20 — When Degnan joined Snowflake, he was the very first sales representative and the company had no customers. He credits Snowflake CEO, Frank Slootman, with helping him create “some scale for sure.” When Snowflake was founded, the company started as a data warehouse. Today, the company is a data cloud, but Degnan notes that it is “much more than that.”
02:12 — Degnan explains how he is communicating to the sales team about a new feature set called Snowpark, which “is not moving away from our old roots of SQL-based stuff,” but is additive to that history. Governed by Snowflake’s data cloud, Snowpark brings native Python, Java, and Scala into the picture. He explains that there has been a wonderful uptake from the sales organization.
02:47 — As it relates to partners, Degnan says that partners are great because, without them, organizations cannot grow. Snowflake is focused on partnering with system integrators that can help customers “implement faster and more effectively.” The company also partners with “traditional tech partners,” like Tableau and Informatica. He describes the “new age type partner” which he classifies as “powered by.” These are partners that build their own applications on top of Snowflake.
04:31 — Bob notes the shifting dynamic of customers as no longer just being consumers of software, but now, creators of the software. It opens up many possibilities, says Bob. Degnan notes how various Snowflake customers are using Snowflake as a distribution platform, are powered by Snowflake, or have joined forces with the company on go-to-market initiatives.
06:30 — Referencing the evolution of Snowflake over the last decade, Bob asks Degnan if he can project where its partners ecosystem will go over the next few years.
06:36 — Degnan says that Snowflake hopes to be a “native cloud data warehouse…that was kind of our North Star.” He notes that it has been “wild” to see the wide-scale adoption of cloud at the enterprise level. Snowflake currently has over 8,000 customers utilizing its cloud data warehouse and the platform has become rather popular. He goes back to the notion of the “powered by” partners, and reports that “you no longer have to worry about the things that I had to worry about as a salesperson…you don’t have to worry about loading the customer data.”
08:58 — Across the entire business technology world, customers are expecting platforms, products, and services that are tailored to specific industries. How is Snowflake’s partners ecosystem working with the company to deliver that industry-specific value to customers?
09:29 — About a year ago, Snowflake launched its industry verticals. There are six core verticals:
When going down this path, Degnan says it’s been helpful to have sales leaders and industry experts “aligned at that level,” which helps the company hone in on finding the right partners. Focusing on these verticals is incredibly exciting, says Degnan. “10 years in, there’s so much innovation yet to happen.”
11:24 — Bob inquires about the type of partners Snowflake works with. What about these companies is so appealing to Snowflake? DTTC, a financial market infrastructure company, began its relationship with Snowflake first as a customer but needed the company’s help with delivering margin call information. “They almost came to me…it’s been a wonderful partnership,” says Degnan.
13:03 — “That’s the thing that I’m looking for, it’s the out-of-the-box thinking,” says Degnan. “Not your traditional partners, but partners that could actually create new ways of servicing their customers better.”
14:00 — “You’ve got multiple facets through which partners could connect with you,” Bob tells Degnan, before adding it’s interesting to see these new types of companies. The data cloud created a whole data economy where customers are selling applications and data in the marketplace. Partners that are entering the marketplace will find they have an easier experience when partnered with Snowflake.
15:34 — Bob asks Degnan if he has examples of partners that demonstrate the value that customers get directly from Snowflake. How does the combination of “Snowflake plus the ecosystem” do things for customers that they never imagined before?
15:55 — Since its inception, Snowflake has been built on AWS. Recently, Snowflake signed a $2.5 billion, 5-year contract with them. “They’re just a wonderful partner,” expresses Degnan, before adding that “if you look at cloud partners, they just know how to do it.” When the customer becomes the focus of a partnership, which Amazon does, both companies begin to think in terms of how to best serve the customer.
17:27 — Snowflake and AWS share the same philosophy: Put the customer first. In doing that, one starts to think about the different partners. Within the AWS and Snowflake relationship, Degnan explains that a focus has been incentivizing system integrators to get customers to migrate to the cloud faster. “We’re just at the beginning of the journey of getting customers migrated [to the cloud].” In closing, he notes that Snowflake needs an ecosystem of partners, of this size, to help our customers do that.
18:50 — Degnan encourages customers to “try out Snowpark,” which is the company’s most exciting, innovative, next phase of Snowflake.
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