ORLANDO, Fla. -- At the closing keynote for day one of SAP's Sapphire Now conference here, co-CEO Bill McDermott stepped out into the inky darkness of the sprawling stage, looked into a sea of 10,000 faces staring back at him, and began proselytizing.
"A revolution is underway," he said. "It's a consumer revolution that's remaking the entire landscape."
He stopped. Took a step to his right. Peered into more inky darkness.
"It's a revolution led by billions of individuals and business consumers everywhere, from the world's established to just-emerging purchasing and earning classes."
"Right now more people own mobile phones than toothbrushes."
"If you're 18 to 24, you're far more likely to have a smartphone than a job."
"Three quarters of all companies have a bring your own device policy."
"There are already 3 billion social media profiles online, soon to surpass e-mail accounts."
"In the U.S. alone, companies store enough data each year to store 10,000 Libraries of Congress."
"Cycles of innovation are telescoping. For every five years, we now have a 15-month cycle. It's gone down that much."
The trends of mobility and consumerization have hit enterprises hard and fast, McDermott said. Executives have to reinvent their business models and rethink their consumer experiences. Inspired enterprises can "move and use technology for the greater speed of the future," he said. "In these times of seismic change, there is a seismic opportunity for us all: the opportunity to power the economy while empowering [society]."
"Business has a chance to spur widespread productivity and growth," far beyond enterprise borders, he said. "We can take the consumer, customer experience to a remarkable next level."
"We believe SAP is a platform destination for partnering and collaborating, so together we can innovate in this new consumer revolution," he said. "We can lead the intelligent economy."
The keynote presentation had three distinct sections: first, McDermott's address to his constituents; second, a fireside chat between him and MSNBC "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski; and a roundtable discussion with customers.
During his address, McDermott sought to reaffirm the company's position as a partner for business innovation. But during his interview with Brzezinski, McDermott sought to connect that high-flying mission with its actions on the ground.
Their talk was chatty, wide-ranging, nonlinear and occasionally amusing -- a bubbly Brzezinski professed such attraction to McDermott's hair that she eventually stood up to touch it -- but McDermott did say a few things of interest.
Interested in the final part of the presentation? It was too much to put here, so we moved it to another post. Read on!
Photo: Tom Raftery