On Wednesday, SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott delivered keynote remarks at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s (NVTC) annual banquet, TechCelebration. The event took place at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., and featured a cavalcade of guests from the tech business community.
As has been a trend in recent months, McDermott chose to make his speech about the up-and-coming “greatest generation”, the millennial generation. While millennials will become about 75 percent of the world’s workforce by 2020, several leaders in the business and technology communities do not yet understand them as a consumer base, nor as a potential workforce. McDermott talked about how the technology industry must channel millennials’ passions and energies, and engage them as consumers as well as workers.
“The fact is, when President Kennedy made a vision in 1961 to put a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth, that workforce of engineers had an average age of 26 years old,” McDermott said in an interview before his speech. “So I think we’re now going back to where we should have been all along, where young people with new breakthrough innovative ideas – completely unencumbered by the past – can forge our way to the future.”
McDermott’s remarks were well received at NVTC’s banquet, as several leaders within the tech industry are still trying to understand millennials, and McDermott’s call to “unleash” the millennial generation resonated, especially in regards to mobile technology. McDermott’s speech was preceded by a SAP-produced video that featured several millennials, including SAP interns in New York City and their friends, which gave insight into what millennials want from their work and their workplace.
This is an excellent theme that McDermott has rightfully chosen to focus on in the past few months, and will likely continue to do so throughout the next few years as SAP remains committed to interacting and engaging with the millennial generation. Just recently, McDermott also focused on millennials in a piece he wrote for Reuters, saying that, “[Millennials] are the very same consumers who care more about purpose than packaging or price. They are concerned, creative and impatient for opportunities to make a difference. Their terms are crystal clear: innovate business models around making the world run better and improving people’s lives.”
NVTC is a membership and trade association for the technology community in Northern Virginia and the largest technology council in the United States. The group serves nearly 1,000 companies and organizations from all sectors of the technology industry – including universities and foreign embassies – and represents about 300,000 employees in the region.