This Is What SAP's CEO Has to Say About the Economy
And the outlook for 2016
As you know, the stock market has been doing better recently. And so this is making a lot of people more positive about the economy. What's your take on the economy? Well, again, I think in technology, it's a value-based economy. If you look at certain pockets of the economy, they're worrisome. I mean, you look at Latin America, Brazil in particular, it's worrisome. There are issues in every theater. If you look in the United Kingdom, you've got the Brexit issue. If you look at the United States, it's OK. It's slow growth. It's not what it once was. But it's solid, and the stock market's holding its own. There's a lot of questions about China out there. I'm very bullish on China. So I'm bold on China. I'm bold on India. I think overall, the global economy is pretty solid. And for technology companies that innovate and help companies do things that they couldn't do without you, you'll be around for a while. Talk to us a little bit about China. I know you were there not long ago. Are things as bad as everybody is saying, or is it just exaggerated? Most of the people that are a little bit reluctant on China, ask them when the last time they actually took a trip to China was. It's generally not recently. All the people I know that are on the ground in China, whether they're dealing with state-owned enterprises or entrepreneurial young businesses dealing with the rising middle class and all the opportunity that goes along with that, feel very, very good about China. And I'm one of them. I'm very bullish on China. SAP has something like-- what is it, 300,000 customers in a whole bunch of different businesses. You operate in something like 200 countries. As you've traveled the globe, and you're talking to your customers, what is their attitude about the global economy and the business environment? What are they telling you? They're under a lot of pressure. The regulatory environment is too complicated. The tax system is not what it needs to be to spur on business. You have this concern about debt loads on the overall global economy. You have concerns about how a customer or a company can evolve its business model to keep pace with the nimble competitors, particularly that come up with a technology advantage they don't have. So yes, they're concerned. One of the ways that you can see that concern play out is the fastest-growing job category in the world today is temporary workers. They're getting hired in temporary, mission-critical projects, as opposed to full-time employment. When you and I first got our job, we knew who we were working for. And we were like, yeah, let's put something in the 401(k). Maybe someday we'll need it. These kids are coming in on 5, 6, 10-month contracts to do a certain mission. And then they'll figure out where they're going to go work next. It's a different world.