Punit Renjen, the designated successor to SAP chairman Hasso Plattner, stated key pointers that are currently weighing on the boards of global corporations. These include geopolitical turmoil, the introduction of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and its use, supply chain disruptions after the Covid pandemic and meeting the expectations of Gen Z employees and customers.
“Boards and corporate houses are increasingly faced with geopolitical challenges. The war in Ukraine certainly had a tremendous impact on the global economy and the people in Ukraine and certainly, the war in Israel is having a profound impact on business. Some of the geopolitical tensions between the US and China play into that,” he said, joining virtually for a fireside chat with Ambarish Dasgupta, senior partner, Intueri Consulting LLP at Infocom 2023.
Second, the emergence of new technologies such as AI and its adoption is an area that corporate houses need to address. “I have experienced reengineering, Y2K, internet and dot com. And frankly what we are experiencing today is a more profound and in longer-term secular trend that companies need to address,” he said.
He said that the expectations of the millennials are different and that needs to be taken into consideration while the boards strategize for the future. The supply chain disruptions following the Covid pandemic has also led to global corporations looking at alternate geographies to China as manufacturing bases.
“The pandemic that we went through in 2020 and 2021 fundamentally changed the way that we conduct business. The supply chain disruption was a great opportunity for countries like India,” he said.
The erstwhile global CEO of Deloitte also said that the focus on bottom line has not changed as social impact obligations are also on the minds of the corporations.
“The focus on generating shareholder return has not changed. But what more evolved businesses have come to realize is that when you have a purpose-driven organisation, that focuses on the entire set of stakeholders, the chances of success are much greater,” he said.