Big Data & AI Fair, Paris – French companies, gathered within the French Tech Corporate Community, have been working together for several years now on the subject of transformation through data. Issues around skills, valorization and generative AI are addressed collectively.
Maturity is therefore progressing within large groups, to the point where the members of the organization are now collaborating on use cases in terms of data sharing. However, “the levels of maturity are very variable”, notes Guiraude Lame, Chief Data Officer of Natixis and pilot of the FTCC.
Truly strategic data in 5% of companies
Stéphane Bout, head of McKinsey France’s Digital Competence center, confirms this observation. Level 1 of maturity (performance management or decision-making) concerns “the vast majority of companies, if not all”.
55% of organizations have started deploying AI in at least one function. One in two can thus claim maturity level 2. On the other hand, for McKinsey, less than 5% of them can claim to rise to the 3rd echelon.
“We are still focused today on the use of AI to transform the core business,” notes the consultant. Governance, skills, platforms … several of the fundamentals are taken into account.
“On the other hand, the identification of use cases is still very empirical and bottom-up, which can sometimes lead to a fragmentation of investments in AI. Only a few companies have managed to adopt a truly strategic approach with investments focused on a limited number of initiatives,” says Stéphane Bout.
Masterclass for the top management of Suez
How then to switch from fragmentation to strategic? The participants of a round table organized as part of the Big Data & AI Paris show make several recommendations. In the preamble, Claire Mathieu, CEO of Suez, recalls that these transformations take time.
And the complexity of large groups is part of the explanation. “The first lever is acculturation, by targeting the members of the Committee, the managers, the directors. We did this through a training program structured around 4 masterclasses for all members of top management”” she testifies.
To get the messages across, the Data Office invited external stakeholders. It was a few years ago and the results are there. “Acculturation was a trigger to initiate a beginning of transformation.”
This component does not only target the top. The experts of the round table agree to highlight the benefits of a double approach: top-down and bottom-up. To transform, Mick Levy, Director of Business Innovation for B&D, calls on “two great wise men”, an economics teacher and his grandmother.
Data Mesh to be adapted to each business
These two experts were called upon in 2022 to help a CDO convince internally. The economist recalls that the staircase sweeps from the top, either to sensitize the Comex, “by speaking their language, showing the value and illustrating by numerous use cases”.
And granny? She recalls that “if you leave without knowing where you come from, then when you arrive, it’s not there”. Translation: a starting point in the form of a maturity audit is preferable. The meeting of the two wisdoms leading to adapted actions thanks to an “electroshock”.
Mick Levy and Claire Mathieu also promote an approach based on the Data Mesh. Formalized by Zhamak Dehghani, it is based on 4 pillars :
- The division into Data Domains
- The Data as a product
- The Self-service data infrastructure as a platform
- Federated governance.
The Data Mesh is not magic however. It is necessary, first of all, “to adapt to the level of maturity of the business teams.”The value of this approach consists in giving autonomy to the professions, in promoting the appetite for data and thus in encouraging the creation of (shared) Data Products to prevent silos.