Equinox Consulting

Analysis – Digital transformation: a common challenge across the whole company

Mathilde ARLOT at 2015-08-24 in Décryptage

What is « Digital Transformation »?

Some definitions from some executives are given below:

« Digital transformation is primarily driven by the customer. It is no coincidence that trade, sales and marketing have been the most advanced activities in this domain. Today, this approach extends to companies as a whole and impacts everyone. And it is for this reason that Executive Committees are taking hold of this subject ».

Patrick Hoffstetter (CDO and Digital Factory Director at Renault)

Source : Article JDN

« Digital technology is a fundamental requirement of our transformation, both for our clients and our employees. This collective requirement impacts all our processes. We must open the bank even more so as to better communicate with the innovation ecosystem ».

Françoise Mercadal-Delasalles. Head of Corporate Resources and Innovation at Societe Generale

Source : Article JDN

More than 80% of French companies claim to have undertaken a digital transformation process¹.In practice, what is the actual situation?

Based on the study « Being Digital Fast Forward« , more than half of the directors do not yet have an enterprise-level digital strategy to support their corporate strategy. Even more striking is the fact that these same business leaders doubt the digital competencies of their teams: half of them consider that the digital incompetence of their employees is a barrier to the digital transformation of their company.

Who is to blame? Is it not digital technology itself that has shaken up the practices of employees and executives and created such a gap in the company? Pointing fingers at « the digital incompetence » of directors or employees will not help in moving ahead with this issue, firstly, the company must build a vision.

Before anything else, the company must understand the digital challenges and the changes in its core business. Only by reviewing its strategy and applying digital technology to its business model, as a lever for transformation, would it be in a position to transform its organisation and employees, and finally develop its « digital culture ».

Societe Generale has raised this awareness of digital integration in its operating strategy, and now it wishes to improve it with the help of its teams, by « digitalising » them.

How are HR Managers and Employees dealing with digital transformation?

The TNS Sofres study²  « Vécu, perceptions & attentes Regards croisés RH – opérationnels » (experience, perception, expectations – a cross perspective from HR and operations) highlights the diverging opinions between employees and HR managers on digital transformation. For employees, support from the HR manager is still unclear:  more than half of the employees surveyed are not convinced by the training offered by the Human Resources Department. Even worse, this opinion is shared by half of the HR managers themselves.

According to this study, only 61% of HR managers believe in the confident mindset of their employees, while more than 85% of the operations staff feels confident about this digital transformation.

Employees do not doubt the spin-off of digital transformation on their profession but have concerns about their own competencies in this domain: hardly 1/3 of employees feel « totally comfortable with new digital practices ».

TransfoDigitale1Source : Infography, study completed online TNS SOFRES for Abilways Digital

Some figures illustrate both the differences of perceptions of this change and the necessity for the HR manager to reinforce its support towards employees.

The HR manager has an essential role to play in guiding employees, particularly on issues concerning the transformation of the managerial model, which is both a result of this digital transformation and a prerequisite for its success. It reinforces the need for ramping up the skills of the entire HR function on digital technology. An essential approach, so that it can become a credible « business partner » for employees and other divisions.

Societe Generale’s « Digital for All » program, or digital assimilation through reverse mentoring.

At Societe Generale, the digital transition has started: « Digital technology is an true lever for transformation of the customer-bank relationship and banker profession” explains the bank.

It now wants to involve all of its employees in this approach and align this differentiation strategy with the company’s HR policy in particular. This is demonstrated by the launch of its global program « Digital For All » and the signing of a global agreement with Microsoft, last September, to equip all employees with collaborative tools and digital tablets.


The objective of this operation that uses « reverse mentoring » is to train 70,000 employees before 2015 end. This new concept consists in assigning a young employee mastering new technologies to senior employees as a mentor, so as to encourage the adoption of these new tools and ways of working in the company. A program to be closely monitored!

Plus :

  • Digital for All program on twitter #digitalforall : link
  • Digital for All program as seen by Journal du Net : link
  • Infography of TNS SOFRES study : link
  • Corporate strategies in terms of digital transformation positioning : link


1 Poll 2015 « Digital & Social » – 3rd edition – IDAOS Lab

2 « Online study from november 25th to december 7th 2014, for Abilways Digital, on a sample of 273 employees from companies of 200+ employees (108 salariés RH, 165 opérationnels). National sample representative of companies of 200+ employees »



Mathilde ARLOT   Mathilde

Senior Consultant

RH & Change

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