Société Générale Banks on Digital Transformation
- Maintain the momentum created by the GTS group during its first five years
- Keep abreast of fast-changing technologies in financial services
- Focus on three key areas: cloud, mobility continuous improvement
- Create a private cloud and become a broker of cloud services
- Wide adoption of mobile computing tablets
- Strengthen relations with vendors, and develop offshore resources
- New global strategy presented by CSC and accepted by Société Générale managers
- Private cloud up and running, with 1,000+ virtual environments
- Microsoft partnership equips employees with Office 365, groupware and 90,000 tablets
Société Générale is one of the largest European financial services groups, serving 32 million customers daily in more than 75 countries. In an industry undergoing great transitions, driven by profound economic, regulatory and technological changes, Société Générale is boosting the pace of its business transformation to deliver growth and profitability for its stakeholders.
To do so, Société Générale’s Global Technology Services (GTS) unit has embarked on a new three-year plan, which has been organized along three lines: cloud computing, mobility and continuous improvement. For each, the bank has sought to understand what customers want, what IT vendors can offer, and how competitors are responding. “We’re living in a world where technology is changing a lot — and very fast,” says GTS director Bertrand Lemarignier. “We call it ‘digital transformation,’ and we wanted to understand how it could impact the bank.”
Rather than going it alone, Société Générale is getting crucial assistance from the IT Advisory & Cloud Consulting experts at CSC. “We chose CSC for three reasons,” Lemarignier explains. “First, they are a big, global organization with a strong knowledge of IT and infrastructure. Second, they work in countries where the technology trends are coming from, such as the United States. And third, they presented us with a great team.”
The cloud as new standard
When it comes to digital transformation, Société Générale has plenty of experience. Lemarignier’s GTS unit, formed in 2009 as part of a company-wide operational efficiency plan, originally provided a shared services platform for the company’s IT infrastructures.
Today, GTS serves and supports IT for all of Société Générale’s main business lines. Collectively, these businesses use more than 160,000 workstations, 35,000 servers, 200,000 telephones, and all corresponding networks and services. To handle these responsibilities, Lemarignier relies on a workforce of some 4,000 professionals.
Recent GTS projects have included the consolidation of disparate email systems, which lowered Société Générale’s annual email costs; halving the number of the company’s data centers; and the creation of partnerships with vendors.
CSC IT Advisory & Cloud Consulting teams have helped the GTS unit set the goals of the three-year transformation strategy, in part by organizing more than 100 workshops across Société Générale, then synthesizing the results for the group’s leaders. CSC has also conducted a competitive analysis on Société Générale’s behalf. It then presented a series of IT strategic initiatives to both the senior leadership and the GTS unit. CSC also helped shape Société Générale’s transformation business case and got its CIOs and strategic committee to buy in and go forward with the plan.
As part of the accepted recommendations, Lemarignier’s team is now promoting the cloud as the company-wide standard for both development and production environments. In essence, GTS is acting as a broker of both private and hybrid clouds. On the mobile front, Société Générale has opted to standardize on computing tablets. And for continuous improvement, the bank will rework its partnerships with major vendors and increase its use of offshore facilities in both India and Eastern Europe.
Partnerships for progress
Société Générale isn’t just planning; it’s also moving ahead. The GTS unit now has a private cloud up and running that contains more than 1,000 virtual environments. One big advantage is speed. Creating a new virtual environment takes its IT developers less than one hour; in the previous setup, the same task took five to six days, says Lemarignier. Looking ahead, he expects at least a third of all Société Générale IT systems to be in the cloud by 2017.
Microsoft is also playing a role in Société Générale’s digital transformation. A strategic partnership, announced in September 2014, will soon provide employees with both the company’s cloud-based Office 365 office applications and groupware that includes instant messaging, videoconferencing and document management. Also included will be 90,000 Windows-based touch-screen tablets to be rolled out in early 2015.
“CSC has helped us a lot,” Lemarignier says. “At the end of the day, they were able to have global strategies designed for us, with us, and at a very high level.”