Cigref's activity report 2018-2019

Publié le vendredi 29 novembre 2019

On the eve of its fiftieth birthday, Cigref is putting itself in a position to meet the challenges facing each of its members, in an ever more uncertain environment, focusing on achieving digital success, with the ultimate aim of entering a new age, for a better or at least a controlled future, an age of reason.

French version

Digital technology that is sustainable, responsible and trusted!

Our association’s activities over the past 12 months have confirmed our assessment of the digital transformations under way in the major companies and public administrations which are members of Cigref. These changes are showing no signs of slowing down; indeed they are accelerating and have reached a kind of cruising speed. Whatever analogy we choose to use, this observation appears to be shared widely by our community of digital technology practitioners. Not because we are short of perspectives on technology: we are all involved in digital transformation projects that are turning conventional practice on its head in numerous business sectors. And in the years to come we will have to come to terms with all their consequences for business models, technical architectures and the very nature of our organisations, along with numerous topics such as the arrival of 5G, the “platformisation” of our activities, the emergence of edge computing as a counterpoint to cloud computing, and in the longer term the first manifestations of quantum computing.

But an increasing number of us are seeing the emergence of a new demand: that we question the very foundations of the transformation projects we are leading, take a critical view of their promises of value creation for our organisations, and confront the ethical repercussions of what might be termed a technological sheep mentality. In the current context, we will not be neglecting these discussions. The challenges to meet are immense if we are to play leading roles in the move towards a sustainable, responsible, trusted form of digital technology, while the key functions of our large organisations and the overwhelming majority of their processes are now driven by digital systems; this situation is only becoming more pronounced.

Sustainable

As news story after news story reminds us every day, the predictions of the climate’s future are gloomy indeed. It seems increasingly unlikely that humankind will manage to escape the painful consequences of climate change unless we step back from our growth model. While science and technology are being harnessed in the search for possible solutions, in themselves they will not be enough to prevent the most pessimistic scenarios from coming to pass. It appears more and more likely that we will have to face up to the need to think in completely new ways, and change our lifestyles and business practices. Our digital technology businesses will also have to confront this requirement.

Responsible

Faced with vendors of digital solutions and services who are developing an increasingly varied offering, increasingly seductive marketing and increasingly aggressive business practices, we have three responsibilities. Firstly, to step back from the bandwagon and refocus our projects on value creation for the organisation. Next, to think through the social consequences of technological decisions and to anticipate, or even avert, them. Lastly, although this is nothing new, to guarantee the continuity of the digital services that underpin business activity, and master them in all their technical and organisational complexity.

Trusted

If we are not careful, we could find ourselves facing a serious crisis of trust in the digital services that are available to our companies, employees and customers. We have already laid some of the groundwork by implementing the General Data Protection Regulation in our organisations. But we will need to do more. Many companies are regularly targeted by cyberattacks the origin and perpetrators of which are always hard to determine. As attempted fraud, destabilisation activities and economic warfare proliferate, trust crumbles away. What’s more, the regulatory provisions adopted by some national governments are imposing serious legal uncertainty on European businesses as they protect their strategic data. Against this backdrop, initiatives such as the Appel de Paris, backed by Cigref in January 2019, and which seek to develop a body of international public law governing cyberspace, point in the right direction. But there remains much to do to restore the trust without which digital technology cannot develop harmoniously and promote economic growth and the modernisation of society.

A new strategic approach

To meet these many challenges, Cigref is developing a new framework for strategic discussion to shed light on the path to follow if we are to pass the tests of the “pari numérique” (digital gamble), a play on the title of the book written in 1968 by Pierre Lhermitte, Founder-President of Cigref, entitled “Le Pari informatique” (the IT gamble). This new methodological approach will help us to steer the work we need to undertake in the coming years. The time was right to bring more dynamism and agility to Cigref’s strategic thinking.

On the eve of its fiftieth birthday, Cigref is putting itself in a position to meet the challenges facing each of its members, in an ever more uncertain environment, focusing on achieving digital success, with the ultimate aim of entering a new age, for a better or at least a controlled future, an age of reason.

Bernard Duverneuil
Cigref’s Chairman

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