Executive Predictions 2021

December 2, 2020

2020 was something else. What’s next: Splunk Predictions 2021

Executive Summary: Embracing the Impossible Future

Imagine that on Jan. 1, 2020, you’d said, “You know what? We’re going to flip your entire 12,000 or 20,000 or 100,000- person office workforce to virtual. In a week.” Every exec in the world would have answered, “You’re out of your mind. That is literally impossible. It can never be done.” But we did it. It was hard, it was bumpy, and lots of people worked very long hours. But when our backs were up against the wall, we found a way to do it.

2020 was a uniquely unique year, with tremendous disruption, hardship and loss. But this was also a time of heroism and possibility, of things beginning and dramatically accelerating. Through this landscape of massive change, one of 2020’s most important, and still untold, stories is that technology and the data that supports and surrounds it have become an essential service. IT and technical professionals across the globe worked tirelessly to maintain, adapt and expand critical online infrastructure.

It’s astounding that the internet didn’t totally melt down.

I don’t believe there has ever been a period in history when critical infrastructure has been tested with as much volume and intensity. And none of this would have been possible without the data technologies that enabled our technical heroes to do the impossible.

There is a lot left to do. We’ve largely found a way to allow our office workers to adapt and perform, but we haven’t solved the restaurant economy, or in-person schooling, to say nothing of the larger healthcare questions. With so much uncertainty, so much left to do, how can we approach “2021 Predictions” without a sense of cynicism or exhaustion? I have found inspiration in the leaders around me; in talking to my peers in the tech industry and at the organizations that are our customers, and among the leadership team at Splunk, who provide many of the insights in this year’s report.

I have always tried to lead from a place of optimism, imagination and re-creation, and have actually found that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a heightened opportunity to carry people in that direction. Across the board, I hear much less “We can’t do that,” and much more “Well, why can’t we do that? How could we make that work?”

One of the most profound lessons that I’ve wrestled with since leaving college is that there is no one right answer to a complex problem. And beyond that, getting to the right answer is just the very, very beginning of the work that needs to be done. Over our 12-to-18-year academic careers, it’s all about getting the right answer, and showing how you figured it out. In the real world, once you find that answer, you have to implement it. You have to lead people toward a goal, and you have to continually assess the goal and the processes to get there. That’s the real work.

Which is how we can approach a collection of predictions around data technology with hope and excitement. These technologies are going to be essential to navigating the challenges ahead. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Doug Merritt
CEO, Splunk

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About the Provider

Splunk Inc. is an American public multinational corporation based in San Francisco, California, that produces software for searching, monitoring, and analyzing machine-generated big data via a Web-style interface.


COVID-19, Post-COVID World, Predictions 2021