The World Economic Forum’s annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, brings together leaders from the private sector and government to discuss some of the world’s most pressing challenges and biggest opportunities. This year, these include climate change, inflation, geopolitical turmoil, and technological change.
Workflow spoke with ServiceNow Chief Financial Officer Gina Mastantuono, who attended the event along with CEO Bill McDermott, about what she learned and how her conversations in Davos influenced her thinking about the state of the world and business in 2023.
environment, or are they more focused on staying the course and finding opportunities?
The outlook and tone regarding the global economy were a lot less pessimistic than I expected. The leaders whom I spoke with were cautiously optimistic. While a recession may be likely in some regions, many of the fundamentals remain strong. Consumer savings are high, the
banking sector is strong, and the U.S. job market remains healthy, although it may be slowing down. Overall, there was a sense that technology can be a powerful tool for managing macroeconomic uncertainty.
Technology was at the forefront of many conversations at Davos, and digital transformation was at the top of everyone’s mind. Having a solid technology strategy is good business. Organizations have recognized that they can control costs through digital transformation, and because of this, investments in technology will continue. Leaders increasingly understand that their technology strategy is their business strategy.
I attended a session called “Technology for a Resilient World,” and the message is clear that organizations are using technology to make the world cleaner and safer. ESG (environmental, social, and governance) is no longer just a marketing campaign. Smart organizations have understood for some time that taking ESG seriously can have wide-ranging benefits that can help them outperform competitors that are just going through the motions. That’s why I’ve always said that purpose and profit are not mutually exclusive; they go hand in hand. When you layer in technology, it becomes a force multiplier.
There are so many creative people that are passionate about solving workforce shortages and closing the skills gap, especially as digital transformation continues to be a critical business strategy. In Davos, I learned about StepUp.One, an organization that is dedicated to reskilling and empowering refugees to become digital professionals. As these types of programs continue to mature, I’m hopeful they will have an impact on addressing the skills gap while also boosting the economy by developing a skilled workforce.
I’m still energized by all the incredibly inspiring leaders and exchanging of ideas at WEF and the plans that people and companies have in place to address some of the most challenging global issues. If I had to distill what I’m taking away from the event down to one word, it would be “resilience.” Humans are resilient and we’re able to come together and double down on complex issues. We proved it with COVID, we’re proving it with ongoing challenges like supply chain disruptions, as well as global transformations like the new world of work and so on. After experiencing my first trip to Davos, I’m even more convinced that when we come together and dream big, we can truly make the world work better for everyone.