On 19 January 2016, l’ACSEL, (Association de l’économie numérique) organised a series of round tables on the role of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Among the speakers at these events were Serge Magdeleine, Marketing & Digital Director for Crédit Agricole Group, Diane Rivière, Head of HR for AXA and Guillaume Dolbeau, Digital Development Director of PMU.
How is the CDO transforming HR? How do they fit into a company’s organisation? How do they contribute to deploying digital culture across the organisation? We got some feedback and tips from these digital experts.
Crédit agricole: detectING SPECIAL digital SKILLS
At banking group Crédit Agricole, the digital transformation is a crucial issue: they’ve spent over €500 million on it in 5 years. For Serge Magdeleine, Marketing & Digital Director, the challenge is “to effect change successfully without too much disruption and by overcoming people’s apprehension about digital.”
For Magdeleine, it’s not about lecturing employees but supporting them: changes are introduced gradually so that the people who undergo changes can bring the rest of the company with them on the transformation.
“Digital is the employees: they’re the ones who dream up their future job. The digital department is just there to provide the toolbox.”
>>> Also on our blog: Digital for all at Societe Generale: giving employees the tools to build the bank of the future <<<
At Crédit Agricole group, the transformation achieves three main objectives: reinventing the customer experience, adopting more agile working methods and anticipating tomorrow’s economic models.
“These days, there’s a real transition to make from the old world to the new. In the old one there are road maps and silo-type organisations, whilst in the new one, there’s agility at every level.”
When he set up the Crédit Agricole’s digital division, Magdeleine noticed that there were “more skills and experience outside the company than inside,” and began to rethink the organisation. When he didn’t find the necessary digital skills, he decided to send an email presenting the project to all his team, and a number of people with special skills – bloggers or new technology fans – came forward.
To complete this multi-disciplinary team, Magdeleine also recruited people who were specially trained in digital. He also set up a digital lab so each employee can develop ideas and projects and implemented an open innovation strategy with the “Le Village by CA” talent pool. One of its current projects is to initiate “5th day of the week,” when employees can work on personal projects.
AXA: data scientists AND Chief Customer Experience Officer TO DRIVE THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
At AXA, the transformation challenges are somewhat different: it’s more about understanding the diversity of their clients, in other words, getting to know them better and sharing this information with the rest of the company so they can adapt their offering, create value by improving the relationship between the policyholder and the general agent and transform the internal organisation by acculturating employees and ensuring best practices are passed on.
For Diane Rivière, Head of HR and Digital, the main problem is “empowering people at every level of the organisation, so they can make decisions that can affect the customer experience.” One of the ways to do this was to set up a Data innovation Lab and a Big Data division where actuaries and data scientists – a new profession in the insurance business – work side by side. The tricky part was recruiting the data scientists, who were essential for the project’s success: they’re notoriously difficult to find and, in Rivière’s words, “rare and expensive.” To her mind, this was one of the major challenges of transforming the insurance industry.
Furthermore, as the distinction between CDO and CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) was complicated, the company created another position that’s central to the digital transformation: the CCEO, or Chief Customer Experience Officer, whose role Rivière describes as “a catalyst to give meaning to the digital driver and reinvent the customer experience.”
PMU: OVERCOMING RELUCTANCE WITH DEMONSTRATIONS
At PMU, (France’s state-run horse-racing organisation, Ed) 17% of business is generated via digital, which represents an annual amount of €1.7 billion. Guillaume Delbeau, Digital Development Director, had to set up the digital division from scratch, and, like Serge Magdeleine, he started by putting together an in-house team before bringing in outside skills. Bit by bit, he got ePMU up and running, which now handles all the company’s digital systems.
When the points of sales started to go digital, PMU had to combine digital and physical teams, which also involved reconciling different working methods and cultures. There are currently 80 people working on digital at PMU, but, for Guillaume Delbeau, it was “really difficult getting them to understand that digital is there to help them.” In the end, it took almost two years to overcome frustrations: certain employees felt helpless, deprived of their power, culture and history.
The Digital Development Director gave the example of the connected horse, whereby horses wear GPS beacons during races. Some employees reacted rather fiercely to the prospect of this project, with many believing that it would “undermine the very spirit of betting.” But once the horse-tracking device was presented to clients, all reservations vanished. All it took to convince people of the purpose and advantages of the device was to show them.
=> Read our interviews with digital and innovation experts: