Digitalization and innovation: Société Générale is building the bank of the future

Société Générale aims for the future by betting 100% on digital

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.

A long-term strategy based on technology and innovation

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.

COVID-19: adapting is the most important thing

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.

Co-constructing the bank of tomorrow

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:

  • Pursuing the adaptation and creation of services that respond to changing customer needs, ensuring they have a high-quality customer experience and a high degree of satisfaction
  • Further developing a range of CSR priorities, including the transition to renewables, responsible employer policies and its trusted third-party role. In particular, the bank is taking action to improve the social impact of new technologies regarding transparency, security and data protection, our changing ways of working, reducing the carbon footprint, digital inclusion and diversity
  • Increasing its processing capacity and speed for its customers’ benefit and developing its internal conformity, control and reporting capabilities by rolling out the use of data and AI across all of the group’s business areas and functions

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.

About Citrix
Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS) is powering a better way to work with unified workspace, networking, and analytics solutions that help organizations unlock innovation, engage customers, and boost productivity, without sacrificing security. With Citrix, users get a seamless work experience and IT has a unified platform to secure, manage, and monitor diverse technologies in complex cloud environments. Citrix solutions are in use by more than 400,000 organizations including 99 percent of the Fortune 100 and 98 percent of the Fortune 500.

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Key Benefits

  • Faster development of hardware and software solutions
  • The ongoing adaptability of Société Générale to its current and future needs thanks to Citrix solutions
  • Enhanced access security designed by the bank and supported by Citrix hardware and software solutions