Constantine Kamaras Vice-Chairman of the BoD

Sometimes it's good to be a veteran - sure, there is a price to pay for being an old timer, usually in meetings where sprightly young things not only speak of new technologies and innovations but also actually demonstrate practically how these work, often producing a test prototype for a client. It can be hard to immediately grasp every detail - but so be it, for there is an immense benefit to being, pushing mid-50s, ATCOM's oldest member of the team: the sense of perspective.

One would be likely to think that this is referring to Greece's lost decade in the 2010s, an almost startling contrast to our country's current economic performance - admittedly it was the toughest of times though the tech sector did manage to be one of the few that kept business going and spirits high; and we at ATCOM certainly did our bit and more.  However, the gift of perspective goes further back, at the early days of the century when, even under (what seemed then) benign economic conditions, the gap between Greece and western, more mature markets seemed immense.  One only needed to attend an industry conference to confirm the obvious: the "greek market" part of the program was confined at the very end of the event, way after international keynotes, and it only conferred a lingering sense of frustration, mixed with understandable envy. 

Fast forwarding to today, to say that the difference is stark is to seriously understate the matter: Greece is a leading EU state in digital government and multinationals are queuing to invest in our economy, say by setting up data centres and transforming our infrastructure.  Creeping envy has given way to a sense of pride as the gap has narrowed drastically, if not withered - take the case of e-commerce, the dominant (pandemic fuelled, admittedly) megatrend of the last five years: in a like for like comparison (namely discounting size of market and available resources), companies in Greece -be they purely greek or local operations of multinationals- have been excelling in developing new services for users and delivering a superior digital experience. This is no simple observation - for us at ATCOM it is everyday reality as A-commerce, our groundbreaking platform and a leader in its kind, has been adopted by several major companies to enhance and transform not only their current endeavours but, crucially, their digital future. 

Truth be told, there are areas where our country could and should do better: for instance, investing in education and boosting training to ensure that skills and talent are abundantly available and well rewarded remains a major and pressing priority, as is the acceleration in the adoption of AI - not only the new, generative kind but also the more fundamental elements (say, machine learning) which can be a springboard for growth and facilitate the evolution towards more complex and powerful models.  Still, there is plenty to be cheerful, optimistic and proud about - especially if one has an old timer's perspective: some of us have been readers of the Economist since the 80s and would have never imagined, even in our wildest dreams, that one day it would name Greece as its "country of the year".  To some this is the dull, technocratic equivalent of winning the Euro in 2004; after all, goals can be scored - and achieved.

Happy new year. Happy new era.