Joe Tucci and I recently returned from our annual trip to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Being there gives us the ability to see and interact with lots of people — a wide variety of customers, partners, and government officials — in one place, in a short amount of time. At Davos, we can see more people in one-on-one meetings in the course of hours than we could in weeks or months travelling the world. And that’s the real draw of the forum.
Meeting people from leading companies from around the world gives us a chance to compare notes about the economic and technology trends we see and our expectations for 2012. In our conversations, everyone was talking about the state of the global economy and what’s happening in the Euro zone. The topic of IT security was also high on people’s radar screen.
More choppiness in the economy is what other people were expecting for 2012, but just how volatile varied depending on the markets where their companies operate. We arrived a day after Joe had released our fourth quarter 2011 results to the street, and there were lots of congratulations to Joe and the whole EMC team for having a very good, strong fourth quarter in 2011. Joe’s a very popular guy walking the halls of Davos. A lot of people there know him and came up to him to say hi.
We had multiple conversations about IT security, the growth of data, and the emerging opportunity in Big Data, which we see as a key part of our strategy and success in 2012 and beyond. People were very interested in our Big Data vision and our view of the industry dynamics and marketplace trends around real-time analytics.
One conversation that stood out for me was meeting with the new Prime Minister of Ireland, Enda Kenny. He just came into office last year. EMC has a big presence in Ireland, with some 2,500 EMC and VMware employees located there. This was my first meeting with a head of state, but he was easy to talk to, and very articulate about his policies and where Ireland is going. He was clear that Ireland intends to maintain a stable tax rate, and he made a persuasive case for why EMC should continue to invest in Ireland. He was very impressive.
Now that we are back at EMC, Joe and I have a number of action items after talking with partners and customers. I have a stack of business cards that I have to follow-up on. For certain relationships, Davos is a great place to keep current initiatives alive and a chance for top level executives to check in with one another quickly. It’s also great opportunity for us to make new contacts and start the conversation about why they should come and work with us at EMC.
Big Data, Big Impact: New Possibilities for International Development