With 133,000 staff in 61 countries, Société Générale, one of Europe’s leading financial services groups and a major economic player for more than 150 years, supports 30 million customers each day.
The group draws on its European roots to develop its activities internationally. Its unique geographic positioning connects Europe, Russia and Africa with major global financial centers in Asia and America. The group combines financial strength, innovative power and a sustainable growth strategy with the goal of creating value for all stakeholders. It is a trusted partner in the projects of those building tomorrow’s world, today.
This commitment informs the group’s mission to protect and manage savings, finance projects, protect customers in their daily lives and their business dealings, safeguard transactions and provide the best technological solutions.
Technology and innovation for the benefit of the customer are the two key drivers behind the acceleration of the digital transformation launched by Société Générale several years ago. New technologies accelerate innovation to improve support for customers and their ever-changing needs and habits. As a conventional bank, Société Générale had to transform its technological response, adapting its architecture towards greater scalability and openness and enabling its infrastructure to adopt a hybrid cloud (private and public). These advances provide a real competitive advantage.
Société Générale’s innovative culture and entrepreneurial spirit has also been crucial to its successful digital transformation, stimulating ideas and change. For example, one of the bank’s strategies is to set up modern workstations capable of being managed remotely and accessing virtualized applications or web apps. This operation is in progress and by the end of the year, 20,000 workstations will operate this way.
Now focused on scaling up and moving towards the full integration of digitalization across the business, the bank is harnessing its full potential in alternative business areas such as Boursorama (France’s leading online bank), automating data and AI (Artificial Intelligence) trials, adopting an ‘open innovation’ approach and developing its ‘Banking as a Platform’ and ‘Banking as a Service’ approach.
To respond successfully to this broad range of needs, Société Générale turned to Citrix, its long-standing partner of 20 years, which has supported the group with its own solutions and also integrated them into the bank’s pre-existing structures. Adapting Citrix solutions within ‘other’ environments alongside its unrivalled customer support has been key to the successful implementation of many of Société Générale’s projects and its move towards a ‘Virtual Desktop Workplace’. Under this global initiative, Société Générale has now adopted Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and Citrix ADC to provide its collaborators with secure access to their apps and data.
Société Générale has worked on integrating office tools, video conferencing and multi-factor authentication. The objective is to implement new technologies that provide both ergonomics and increased security for the user.
The bank is now planning to adopt a ‘Zero Trust’ security approach, in which access is granted according to a dynamic evaluation of users who are authorised according to models based on identity, time and device posture. This strengthens access security while giving users the freedom to choose their device and applications. As a result, Citrix is keeping pace with and adapting to each of the bank’s digital transformations, whatever the circumstances.
All these solutions are requested by the different branches of the bank. In line with digital transformation, one of the major strategies will address CSR (corporate social responsibility) standards.
The COVID-19 crisis has forced the majority of the world’s businesses to adapt. The same is true for Société Générale. The bank has supported its customers by rapidly reconfiguring its products and services to meet their immediate digital needs. A further priority was to protect the group’s employees and maintain business continuity during the simultaneous rollout of remote working across the globe. Against a backdrop of the mass rollout of remote working, peaks in customers’ digital consumption, and an increase in cybercrime, the group was able to rely on the effective performance of its IT systems throughout the world.
The crisis has been a genuine global stress test for Société Générale. However, the speed at which the company was able to adapt has demonstrated the significance of its digital transformation and innovation strategy and its ‘Digital Workplace’.
During lockdown, this allowed 100,000 remote employees across 61 countries to continue working. During the first two weeks, 5,000 PCs and tablets were distributed, remote access capacities were increased fivefold within 15 days and 15,000 chatbot conversations took place each day.
These are considerable advantages, the fruit of a global strategy established by the group in order to respond reliably, quickly and securely to the needs of its customers in France and internationally.
Société Générale’s purpose, cemented before the COVID-19 crisis, is now taking on its full meaning, in a world that is experiencing a rapid acceleration in terms of technology due to the crisis but also urgency concerning environmental and social issues and the worsening economic outlook.
The bank’s teams are working on the upcoming strategic plan, which focuses on customer centricity, responsible and efficient finance and building lasting commercial and financial competitiveness. Innovation and technology will again be the key drivers in the following areas:
Technology and innovation have long been part of Société Générale’s DNA and the group is intent on continuing its pursuit of digital transformation. Its ultimate aim is to further enhance the user experience through intelligent workspaces, the public and private cloud and enhanced security. To address these challenges, Citrix will continue to partner with the bank and play an active role in supporting the bank to best deliver its transformational projects.
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