Only in a country asleep (or in a state of shock ) such as ours is it understood that not all the alarms have been raised before a Santander Bank trading at 1.84 euros (data from the day before the announcement of the merger of CaixaBank and Bankia ) , a BBVA at 2.43 or no less than 0.33 euros the Sabadell , a balance price.
Santander presented in 2019 an investment plan for its digitization worth 20,000 million euros over four years, in whose task Microsoft has been directly involved ( Bill Gates himself would have been interested in the process in his capacity as “technological advisor” of the company he founded and of an old acquaintance of the family). But the truth is that the stock market value / number of employees of the entity chaired by Ana Botín is at least four times below that of a banking and technological leader like JP Morgan. Welcome to the technological crack of the Ibex 35!
Although written with the financial sector in mind, our business elite should apply the words of Oliver Wyman’s When Vision and Value Collide report: “Only a quarter of investors are confident that digital transformation strategies will be effective, and almost none believe plans are well articulated. Investors do not understand what companies are investing in or why , whether for efficiency, growth, or operational resilience. They often do not know what the transformation encompassesor where the end of the game is, they don’t see any useful progress metrics, and they are highly suspicious of the cost-benefit case of major technology investments. “Without this analysis, the behavior of stock prices cannot be fully understood. of our locomotive companies.
In one of the last editions of the Cebit fair in Germany, the then Chief Digital Officer of Volkswagen (today at Intel’s Mobileye ), Johann Jungwirth, presented his idea of ”Digital Platform and Ecosystem” with which he considered the companies involved in the future automobile business. It distributed them in three parts: Mobility Store , in which it brought together the winners in logistics, collaborative economy, electricity grid and smart city ; the Automobile Store , with which they would be a benchmark in hardware, software and services; and the Content Store, with entertainment companies (Netflix and Spotify), businesses (Amazon and Ebay), work (Windows) and education. According to Jungwirth, the business around the car would multiply the value of the car itself tenfold. But did any Spanish company appear in that key ecosystem for the industry of the future? No. Welcome to the technological crack of the Ibex 35!
The table that accompanies this information reflects how starkly the market differentiates in times of crisis between producers and consumers of knowledge. As the Nasdaq soars after the outbreak of the pandemic, our benchmark stock index plunges into depression. The echoes of the lament of the Prince of Asturias Avelino Corma are still heard , who has had to sell 80% of his patents outside of Spain because nobody here has wanted to buy them.
Executives from the technology sector operating in Spain are debating these days between satisfaction because digitization has finally come to the fore of economic strategy , both political and business, and uncertainty in the face of the powerful process of creative destruction to which we are going see doomed (to those who asked in Genoa in August why the PP leadership was missing they used to answer that reality itself will do the job of political wear in the coming months).
Everything is going to change in a traumatic way, with SMEs as the main victims of the coming digital tsunami , so that everything remains the same, in an imitation of Tomasi di Lampedusa: the shadow of big technology over the economy will be increasingly dominant.
The key is whether Europe will respond to the challenge together or leave each country to its own devices. And it seems that we are focused on the latter. Even the recovery plan designed by the EU seems to be infected with this climate of submission to the global status quo. For example, the budget for aid lines aimed at generating (not strictly buying) knowledge, such as the Horizon Europe 2021-2027 program , those aimed at reinforcing R&D in the productive economy are lowered , for example .
The contrast of this cut with the reality of the program as a whole is devastating. For the first time, the European Commission will go to the capital markets to obtain financing worth 750,000 million euros , the amount of the total recovery plan. The productive fabric will have to wait for the Government to develop a suitable project to request European funds and for Brussels to capture the money from investors to distribute it. The financial economy is the great winner in this process and the technological leaders the lever.