Ensuring a positive impact for digital transformation – the leitmotif of the 2022 Orange Business Summit

The fourth Orange Business Summit, held on September 27th this year at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris and online, was the latest presentation of the annual meeting and exchange between Orange Business Services, its business customers and certified partners. Here is a review of the highlights of this day dedicated to the digital transformation and its role as a driver for sustainable growth.

A decisive moment for the digital sector

The 2022 Orange Business Summit was opened by Christel Heydemann, the CEO of Orange Group, alongside Aliette Mousnier-Lompré, the CEO of Orange Business Services. It was Mousnier-Lompré who set the mood for the day by declaring it a “decisive moment” for the digital sector. Companies wishing to drive their transformation and growth today are faced with real challenges, intensified by the series of ongoing emergencies. “As well as being financial and technological, these challenges are also environmental and ethical. We must consider the digital transformation from a standpoint of positive impact on organizations, their teams and society as a whole,” she asserted.

Throughout the day, these concerns fueled discussions in a variety of formats, from formal and informal meetings and speeches by Orange Business Services experts supported by customers and partners, to technology demos in specially set-up areas. The goal was to provide concrete answers to the major challenges of digital transformation, on which Orange Business Services has based its five strategic value proposals:

  • Creating protected digital networks with the Evolution Platform
  • Bringing value to data with Analytics & AI
  • Rethinking office spaces with Workplace Together
  • Fostering a closer relationship with our customers with Augmented Customer Experience
  • Rising to the challenges of Industry 4.0 with Smart Industries

Reconciling the digital transformation with climate concerns

“We are the final generation able to change the trajectory of climate change,” affirmed Christel Heydemann as she held an opening round table with several Orange Business Services partners, including La Poste, Elior, Safran, La Mutuelle Générale and AXA. “We are all impacted and must work together, and I hope that the take-away from today is confidence and co-innovation,” she added. Reducing carbon emissions is one of the major priorities in the digital transformation of the various sectors in attendance.

Discussions quickly turned to data management. For the food service provider group Elior, data is a source of efficiency: “We serve four million meals per day, and although the food itself is physical, it yields information that can be analyzed to allow us to fight against waste,” explained Joanne Deval, Chief Information & Digital Officer.

The approach is naturally different for an insurance provider such as AXA, the main role of which involves handling colossal amounts of data. They therefore elected to set up a data governance protocol based around reduced-energy databases. Giovanni D’Aniello, AXA Chief Information Officer, did not hesitate to emphasize the “digital paradox of a tool designed to reduce carbon emissions which itself results in carbon emissions.”

The key role of networks

It was precisely this paradox that was addressed by Michaël Trabbia, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer of Orange Group, who pointed out that it is, above all, network access that represents the biggest increase in carbon emission. This is why many players, Orange first and foremost, have made strong commitments in this area to increase the lifespan of equipment, both devices and infrastructures, and are integrating environmental design and the circular economy into their strategies. These same commitments are found at the Orange Business Services level with its Green Act.

Although developing networks is a crucial goal, fostering innovation to reduce their energy consumption also remains a priority. “We are facing a period of restrictions, which can be seen as both an emergency and an opportunity,” stated Wassila Zitoune-Dumontet, Chief Operating Officer of Orange Business Services. The commitments made by the Group, such as the 50% reduction in energy costs in its data centers, are reflected in its ability to support customers in their own energy transitions. The experiment on Wi-Fi networks in partnership with Cisco attests to this: “The tests performed in the Orange Vélodrome stadium in Marseille proved that changing from ‘always on’ to ‘on/off’ reduces energy use by 40%.”

Blockchain, a guarantee of ecosystems that are secure...and sustainable?

The issue of blockchain comes up regularly in discussions on the environmental impact of technology. In his presentation on immersive technologies, such as the Metaverse, Antoine Maisonneuve, Blockchain Program Manager at Orange Business Services, explained that we have to understand blockchain as a network of proof exchanges: “If you are conversing with your bank in a virtual reality environment, it is crucial for you to be able to authenticate the avatar in front of you to make sure that it is actually your bank advisor.”

Apart from virtual reality, this use is already common in sectors such as agriculture. For example, the European agricultural data-sharing platform Agdatahub uses blockchain technology to ensure that third-party access is secure. “It is a simple solution to exchange certificates and bring value to production in a completely secure manner,” explained Sébastien Picardat, CEO of the platform. In addition to optimizing the management of paper documents, the information shared by the platform requires only a few kilobytes, replacing transfers of terabytes’ worth of digital documents. The ensuing energy savings are therefore considerable. The ongoing experiment with the cryptocurrency Ethereum, which intends to reduce its energy consumption by up to 99%, is a further example of this trend.

Talent at the heart of it all

Participants did unite around one topic, which is the challenge of finding talent currently faced by all organizations. Aliette Mousnier-Lompré drew a parallel between Orange Business Services and all companies in attendance by highlighting the lack of new talent holding back the digital sector in a setting where more people than ever are out of work: “Companies need to consider training as a driver for value creation on both a business and a societal level. We also need to change our recruitment practices, focusing more on potential rather than on endless searches for a golden goose that ticks every box,” she added.

Bruno Bailly, CEO of the SME Merem Electronique, went further: “5G and immersive technologies are key drivers for our transformation, but the heart of the movement remains our human resources. We can build the factory of the future, but to ensure recruitment, we also need to build bridges with educational institutions. We need to think more of a generational bridge than a generational gap. If we listen to students and offer them a dynamic, open path, they will want to join us.”

Motivating people, inspiring them...these goals were perhaps considered secondary in the past, but they have become clear priorities today. The quest for talent is more than ever rooted in shared values, which are key to bringing people together and allowing companies to complete their digital transformation – a process for which Orange Business Services, as a network-based digital services provider, is a key partner.