By Ross Kohan
October 13, 2016

Bill McDermott is on a mission to fix the American health care system. The CEO of SAP is not a health care expert. His German-based company supplies software that is used to run the operations of many of the world’s largest companies. But he is motivated to take on the problems in healthcare because of his own experience as a patient. He suffered an accidental fall that resulted in multiple surgeries, but ultimately he lost his left eye.

McDermott tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib that SAP has plans to fix health care using software to allow medical professionals and individuals to share personal data in an easy-to-use open system. “To help the world run better is what I think our technology should do,” he says. “But to improve people’s lives is really to think about not just the technology impact on an enterprise, but actually the people who work in an enterprise.”

SAP’s new strategy is part of a trend called “leading with purpose”— corporations stepping up to solve society’s problems. CEOs tell Fortune that integrating social good into their companies’ purpose is also good for business. The interviews were conducted in partnership with The Aspen Institute Business and Society Program (

As McDermott puts it, “We really get our high out of making our customers get their high. But I do think we have to do a better job of sharing and expressing how what we do touches that end consumer in a really powerful, digital way because that drives opportunity for all.”


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