The mood was cautiously optimistic at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Heads of government, CEOs, central bankers, thought leaders and celebrities gathered in the snow-covered town to discuss how to make the world a better place amidst turmoil and uncertainty in major regions. SAP's Um-e-Kulsoom and Ada Yang reported on the event.
Growth, youth unemployment and disruptive technologies were some of the big topics in Davos. Participants agreed that while risks remain in some markets, the outlook is actually better than in previous years.
One reason for hope is the emergence of millennials, who will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025. SAP co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe hosted a breakfast with young global leaders and social entrepreneurs to talk about their hopes and aspirations. “What we want to do is unleash their spirit and entrepreneurship and bring them in the company and learn from them to help us grow,” said McDermott.
Another topic of discussion at Davos was how technology can help re-shape the world. Participants voiced concern regarding privacy and security of data. Hagemann Snabe believes that SAP can play an important role here, given its experience over the years in managing mission critical data securely for companies and networks.
For the co-CEOs, the World Economic Forum was an opportunity to interact with fellow CEOs and understand the issues that matter to them, be it over dinner, in one-on-one meetings or on panels with other leaders. This year, many participating CEOs said that a main problem is dealing with complex systems.
“Complexity is an intractable business issue to any CEO I talked to. If we can simplify everything so that they can do anything, we win,” said McDermott.
Millennials can also contribute simplification, given their comfort with using technology to make life better. For SAP, the problems plaguing the world today – from youth unemployment to economic risk – present an opportunity. “Now is the moment for SAP to show that we can make the world a better place and improve people’s lives,” said Hagemann Snabe.