Scott Morgan has a passion for policy. At one point, he planned on serving in Congress. But after interning at the White House, he realized that Washington is as much about politics as policy. He then focused his career on technology, after seeing its true impact.
“The power of technology, where industry was going, and how technology could help shape the future—including the outcome of decisions that people make, which often touches on policy—became very clear to me,” Morgan recalls. “That intersection of technology and policy, paired with the ability to have impact, was really what drove me to continue my work in the technology industry. If you start in the Bay Area as a lawyer, inevitably you’re going to be working on technology matters.”
His career path has led him to Splunk, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in data platform software designed to search, monitor, and analyze data. It counts more than ninety companies in the Fortune 100 as customers. Morgan serves as its senior vice president, chief legal officer for global affairs, and secretary. He was drawn to Splunk for a variety of reasons.
“The market opportunity was massive,” he says. “We did not simply improve on an existing idea but created something entirely new. This was a contrarian view because at the time, machine-generated data was considered data exhaust. And the only time it was really used and looked at was if something went wrong.”
He further explains that customers who utilized Splunk’s software in their systems and digital infrastructure noticed things they wouldn’t have noticed before. “They were the ones who told us where we should go and what we should do with the product,” Morgan says. “They defined the market for us, and from there we really started to grow.”
When Morgan started with Splunk close to ten years ago, it had four hundred employees and about $120 million in revenue. Today, the company has more than seven thousand employees and in August 2021 announced guidance to hit about $3.1 billion in annual recurring revenue by year’s end.
Part of Morgan’s role includes overseeing global affairs, which consists of two sides: government affairs and global impact. “Our government affairs work has three pillars,” Morgan explains. “One is field success, two is thought leadership, and three is policy—policy understanding and policy advocacy.”
With the global impact group—known as Splunk for Good—the company focuses on bridging the data divide to find actionable solutions for humanity’s greatest challenges. Morgan’s leadership involves thinking about those objectives and those groups and teams in collaboration with legal considerations.
“We are serving the company,” he says. “We get to see across the organization, both at the high level and in the trenches. We can act as the connective tissue across many, many different groups and activities, and bring these competencies, skills, and the sub-sub areas to all the things that we do.”
Especially important in terms of global impact is the company’s environmental, social, and governance, or ESG, work.
“ESG is obviously something that our stakeholders are critically interested in. How are we running the company—not just our financial results but also our impact on our communities and impact on the climate?” he explains. “We do that by changing some of our operations as well as how we are disclosing it to our stakeholders.”
That includes publishing an ESG update on the company website and committing to publishing more detailed updates more frequently, including more detailed climate components.
“With government affairs—and this is true for Splunk for Good as well—all of our attorneys and legal professionals have the ability to look around corners,” Morgan observes, adding that his team can look at indicators such as the government’s procurement policies or geopolitical events that are happening around the world.
“Those are all indicators of potential change,” Morgan continues. “As we look at those, we can bring those back to the business so that we’re counseling strategically ahead of those changes, so that we’re prepared for those changes, and so that we have alternatives.”
As an innovative company, Splunk must also navigate constant changes in the technology sector. The changing nature of the industry influences how Morgan and his team navigate how they understand the shifts and ever-changing needs of their customers.
Ultimately Splunk’s mission is to serve its customers.
“A successful company and service organization doesn’t insist that somebody come to where we want them to be—we go to where they are and then we bring them to where we and they believe that we and they need to go,” Morgan notes. “We try to do that with empathy, with patience, with transparency, and with integrity. And we try to do it shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues, so we’re in the trenches with them.”
And if you’re in the trenches, you want people like Scott Morgan and his team with you.
Orrick congratulates Scott Morgan. We are proud to represent Splunk and to work with Scott and his legal team. Orrick is an AmLaw 100 Law Firm and Fortune Best Place to Work. We focus on serving the tech, E&I, and finance sectors globally. Learn more at orrick.com.