Half empty, half full, or just too big?

A look back at 2021 and what we can take into 2022

Jon Lin
Half empty, half full, or just too big?

There’s an old joke that goes…

The pessimist sees the glass as half empty.
The optimist sees the glass as half full.
The engineer sees the glass as twice as big as it needs to be.

I’m a proud optimist. I believe it creates positive energy, and sharing that energy can lead to positive outcomes. But through my optimism, the engineer in me is always wondering how we can make things better.

2020 was one of the most challenging years on record. In my 2020 year-end blog, I ask “do bad times have a scientific value?” I surmised they can, but only if we find a way to turn them into positive, long-term change.

I see much of 2021 through this lens. Despite the challenges of 2020, there was a sense of collective optimism entering the year. This optimism seemed infused with scrappiness and ingenuity, rooted in a desire to make things better.

Vaccines rolled out. Overhauled business models matured. And large and small companies took concrete steps toward incremental improvements.

Here are a few areas where we made progress, and how we can keep that momentum in 2022.

Diversity and Inclusion: A Business Imperative

In my LinkedIn post in February, I discussed how people are looking to business to play a role in creating positive, systemic change.

At Equinix, DI&B is foundational to our values and a powerful force for our people. From our resource groups, trainings, and pathways, it’s central to how we make decisions and interact with our customers, suppliers, and each other.

This year, we implemented many new DI&B programs and policies, including the launch of new mentor programs across employee connection networks. We also set aspirational representation improvements for Black/African Descent and Hispanic/Latinx talent in the U.S., and expanded self-reporting metrics so we can better understand the employee experience around the world.

In 2022, companies must remain focused and committed to their DI&B policies and promises. As business leaders, we cannot take our foot off the gas. We have a responsibility to remain steadfast in these efforts if we are truly to move the needle toward a more inclusive environment.

Digital “all grows up”

There’s no doubt the onset of the pandemic fast-tracked the shift to digital. In 2021, Digital Transformation transformed again – with conversations moving from “if we go digital” to “how far along are we?” If digital was in its infancy in 2020, it’s now a full-blown adolescent with an insatiable curiosity.

At Equinix, we’re seeing widespread digital adoption across every sector, including federal. According to the latest data from IDC, “we are now living in a digital first world.” It cites that for 78% of organizations, the pandemic was the catalyst for shifting to a digital-first strategy,[i] and predicts that in 2022, more than half of the global economy will be based on or influenced by digital.[ii]

The biggest change around digital may be less about technology and more about mindset. IDC says “digital-first isn’t a technology or business model. It’s an organizational aspiration and characteristic.”[iii]

But digital growth leaves a footprint. In 2022, businesses and federal agencies will lean in further to environmental sustainability. Equinix has made a commitment to become climate neutral globally by 2030, backed by science-based targets across our global portfolio and data center platform. In 2021, we issued $3.7B+ in Green Bonds to drive sustainability investments, and announced that we achieved >90% renewable energy in 2020, up from 34% in 2015.

Additionally, we saw the beginnings of a U.S. federal boost to digital with the passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The $550 billion in total funding includes $65 billion for expanding broadband internet access and $65 billion for rebuilding the electric grid.

In my October blog, I discussed how this may be transformational for the U.S. physical infrastructure, but that the federal government must make a similar commitment to investing in our nation’s digital infrastructure.

In 2022, we’ll witness accelerated Digital Transformation as the need to digitize business models in virtually every segment of the economy will grow. Look for more and more companies to shift towards distributed, hybrid and multicloud environments as their architecture of choice.

Our customer’s success is our success

What didn’t change in 2021 is our commitment to customers. Our customers will always be at the center of everything we do. Their growth and success have enabled us to reach some pretty cool milestones.

In 2021, we achieved record growth, entered India and announced plans to enter Africa, became a FORTUNE 500 company and were named one of the “Best Run Companies” by The Wall Street Journal Management Top 250.

The Americas also achieved record revenue, dramatically increased channel sales, and signed a multi-year partnership with Nasdaq to help build out its cloud infrastructure.

None of this would be possible without our customers, partners and people across the Americas and around the world. Thank you for your support and encouragement throughout the year.

Have a happy and safe holiday season, and may your glass be filled to the top in 2022.

 

 

[1] “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry 2022 Predictions,” October 2021, Doc #US48312921
[ii] “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Digital Transformation 2022 Predictions,” October 2021, Doc #US47115521

[iii] “Webcast: IDC FutureScape: Worldwide IT Industry,” Rick Villars, October 2021