ECONOMY

Theodosis Michalopoulos: Technology as the foundation of recovery

theodosis-michalopoulos-technology-as-the-foundation-of-recovery

MICROSOFT

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke of two years of digital transformation in two months. However, during the pandemic it would not be an exaggeration to say that in Greece we saw five years of digital transformation in two months.

During this time we have had to both manage multiple and unprecedented challenges at the state, business and society level and ensure the continuity of our activities, especially in key areas such as the health system and education. Both in the wider public sector and in the private sector, organizations have understood the catalytic role played by technology in the economy and society, as well as its importance as a means of facilitating people’s daily lives.

THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

The world around us is changing rapidly. The experience of the pandemic has expedited the integration of technology into daily activities such as business meetings, which have been transferred to the Teams environment, or the integration of remote working as a key model for many businesses. The acceleration of digital transformation was a first step in the right direction, but it requires proper management and strategy for the day after. The times demand that we change the way we think about digital transformation and realize that our investment in it must become a long-term and lasting commitment.

It is a fact that companies and organizations that have built on the pillar of innovation and technological integration have charted a path to success in the midst of a crisis. There are many such examples, but I would like to point out the case of the Greek startup Softomotive, which became a leading company in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and was recently purchased by Microsoft.

Moreover, artificial intelligence can be a growth lever for many businesses. In this context, we are currently conducting a major survey with BCG in order to understand at an initial phase whether Greek companies use AI applications. We spoke with more than 30 entrepreneurs and top executives from Greece and found more than 35 case studies that – to various degrees – demonstrated that companies are actively considering how to gain value from AI.

Studying these 35 cases, we saw very positive data:

• 80% of case studies were developed to solve a specific business problem.

• 100% use cloud services, which lays the proper groundwork in terms of computing power and growth speed.

But at the same time, we also ascertained a deficit that highlights a huge opportunity, as the vast majority of companies do not have a systematic, strategic way to take full advantage of what AI can offer. The above conclusions will be the subject of our proposal. We believe that technology is certainly the foundation of recovery for Greece, but it’s our human resources that will undertake to build the future and we must ensure that they have the best building materials at their disposal, modernizing education and entrenching a culture of innovation. Microsoft Greece, Cyprus and Malta is available to the state and businesses to assist with support services and know-how. Most of all, however, it is available to the people of the country, supporting programs and initiatives for the development of digital skills that are more necessary than ever in the digital transition of the country.

THE COMPANY AT A GLANCE

“Microsoft Greece, Cyprus and Malta has been operating in Greece since 1992 and currently employs 220 employees at the local office. Microsoft Greece’s vision is to make technology accessible to all Greeks.”