Technology work is attracting all sorts of people to Nashville.
One of them is Lerry Wilson, who spent almost 30 years in Silicon Valley. Lerry works for Splunk, a leading cloud data platform provider serving more than 90 of the Fortune 100 with thousands of employees. He explains, “We are the industry leader in taking machine data, removing it from its silos, and helping people make decisions more effectively about how to optimize the systems and to secure them.” Splunk is known for a suite of technology services related to cybersecurity and IT operations, but the platform can be applied to just about any entity using machine learning.
Companies using data have a lot of tools related to business intelligence that they could use. However, in order to use these tools, they frequently must do a tremendous amount of work preparing the data. In many offices, less time is spent working on the data than would be optimal because so much energy is put into making sure that the data is “aligned in the right places,” as Lerry puts it.
Splunk disrupts this approach, taking all of the unconnected streams of data and letting them flow into a database that users can query. “We have this technology that allows the data to come in from whatever, wherever, as long as it’s human readable and timestamped—that’s what we call ‘machine data’—and then you can just search it. Similar to how you search Google,” Lerry says.
Using the hypothetical example of a client’s factory, Lerry explains how Splunk can alert users to potential issues or help them optimize the operations side of their business. He says, “Those critical assets that you need to make sure are constantly up and running? We can help you monitor that, take that data, and cross-check it with other types of data to let you see a full picture of what’s going on.”
Lerry’s been with Splunk since March 2016. His full job title is Senior Director of New Markets and Innovation. His job responsibilities include driving go-to-market and innovation strategy related to new markets for Splunk. Entering new terrain and figuring out how to make the most of an unfamiliar environment is his specialty. In 2019, when Lerry decided it was time to move so that he could support his college-age daughters, he was prepared to make an informed decision.
“I did a lot of research,” Lerry recalls. “And I focused on five places… Austin, Tampa, Greenville, South Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina, and Nashville.” Lerry’s research included compiling indexes detailing areas best defended against natural disasters, healthcare outcomes for hospital visits, earning power of workers in the area, cost of living, investment opportunity, technology industry footprints, and other forms of data.
Lerry selected Nashville, which he proclaims has “been a fantastic decision!” He says, “Nashville is going to be a very big city, but it still has a small town feel.” He notes that his home in Old Hickory is quiet, next to a lake, and yet still within a reasonable distance to all the fun things he wants to do.
The Southeast as a Tech Hub
Lerry’s personal choice to move to Nashville was influenced by the needs of Splunk. Lerry says that when he first came to work for the company, he was working in the CTO’s office to draft plans for entering new markets. He quickly came to the decision that Splunk needed to create a company ecosystem that served the Southeast region. Trusted partners would be needed to advise customers, particularly those with experience solving problems outside of Splunk’s normal operations.
While others may debate the detractions and benefits of having employees work remotely, certain roles within companies require employees to be away from their desks. As the Senior Director of New Markets and Innovation at Splunk, Lerry’s move to Music City helped him, since he’s required to travel to other parts of the Southeast.
“It’s wonderful to remotely manage my global role from within an up-and-coming technology hub that has the same energy and excitement I felt when I first arrived in Silicon Valley,” Lerry says.
Moving to Nashville…
The work he’s doing hasn’t changed. However, Lerry has noticed that he’s able to save more time and thereby increase his work productivity. He also thinks that the attitude of “best begets best” is what’s continuing to shape Nashville. This means that people leading the way in the music business, healthcare, hospitality, and other industries will breed excellence in innovation, business, and skill for technology workers.
He says, “By being here, I believe I’ve been able to marry my personal and my professional lives in more harmony. That makes me more valuable and more productive for the company.”