Digital innovation: a driving force for positive transformation

Innovation and digital transformation building the bank of tomorrow

While our customers' use of digital tools isin full development, accelerated by the COVID-19 health crisis, commitment to constantly improving customer relations and customer experience is at the heart of Societe Generale’s innovation and digital transformation strategy.

In keeping with its DNA, the Group is committed to shaping sustainable and responsible business models and banking infrastructures in order to make a positive contribution to the development and transformation of economies and societies. In a word, to be the trusted partner of those who are building the world of tomorrow today.

To offer an ever-more fluid, adapted and secure customer experience, the Group has opened itself up to the Fintech ecosystem and has forged close and lasting relationships with these “new” players.

New growth drivers have thus opened up for Societe Generale, which capitalises on its role as a trusted third party and its network of qualified experts.

Today, 117,000 members of staff, including 23,000 IT specialists, and dozens of fintech and startup partners are helping transform business lines to satisfy and protect 25 million customers in 66 countries.

  • 62%

    of retail banking customers in Europe (France and Europe) use digital channels for the consumption of banking services

  • € 230m

    to detect and invest in disruptive models of the banking sector since 2015

  • 33

    startups and fintechs in the portfolio of Societe Generale Ventures, dedicated to innovation fund

Today, Societe Generale supports the builders of the world of tomorrow 

Societe Generale is constantly developing its Open Innovation policy and multiplies and intensifies its relations with startups and fintechs. This continuous immersion alongside thousands of innovative players around the world enables us to identify wich actors bring the highest level of value to the Group for the benefit of clients.

To do this, Societe Generale has identified priority areas: services for SMEs, open banking, payments and e-commerce, credit and real estate, insurtech, global markets, cybersecurity and regtech (regulatory technology), blockchain and cryptoassets.

These relationships with innovative players take many forms.
New strategic and commercial partnerships are forged between the Group’s businesses and a wide variety of startups.

Societe Generale also invests in certain promising startups and fintechs, in connection with its activities, through minority equity investments or acquisitions. ALD Automotive, Group subsidiary, recently announced the acquisition of share capital in Skipr, a Belgian Mobility startup.

An Open Innovation platform available to all 

Startups dream up tomorrow's disruptive solutions. Societe Generale helps make these solutions a reality through its products and services. In its constant search for new partners, the Group has set up an Open Innovation platform. It connects more than 60 innovation leaders from all businesses with startups operating in one of the priority areas selected by the Group. 

To develop a POC (Proof of Concept) or create new partnerships with the Group's businesses, visit Societe Generale's Open Innovation platform.

Societe Generale Ventures: a fund dedicated to innovation

Societe Generale Ventures brings together all the Group’s investments in startups and fintechs since 2015. The objective of Societe Generale Ventures is to generate value for customers through the launch of new services or products, but also to shorten time-to-market and improve operational efficiency.

By creating an investment portfolio, it accelerates the Group’s digital transformation and develops new business models to bring responsible and innovative financial solutions to customers.

The societe Generale Ventures portfolio now consists of more than 30 companies, attracting a total investment of 230 million euros since 2015.

The sectors of intervention are linked to the areas of business at the bank, from retail banking to investment banking, insurance and mobility, across all the geographical areas where the Group is present. Today, new models around open banking, data-driven lending, crypto-assets, mobility-as-a-service and responsible savings are being studied in particular.

Find out more on the Societe Generale Ventures website
Discover innovative startups in video via the Innovation Stories 

Global Markets Incubator: a pioneering platform for FinTechs dedicated to financial markets

Launched in 2018, Global Markets Incubator, supported by Societe Generale Corporate & Investment Banking, is the incubation program dedicated to market activities. Each year it hosts, for six months, six fintechs from all over the world. On the agenda convert the best innovations into viable solutions for financial market operators. It has been unique opportunity for startups and Societe Generale experts to innovate together. The Group’s partner Le Swave - Paris&Co welcomes the teams in the immediate vicinity of Societe Generale’s headquarters in La Défense, France.

Two years after is launch, the Global Markets Incubator program is now expanding into the Asia-Pacific region.

Find out more about Societe Generale's Global Markets Incubator

Societe Generale - Forge: the subsidiary creating blockchain solutions

Societe Generale - Forge is a subsidiary of the Group dedicated to cryptoassets and is experimenting with various disruptive solutions based on blockchain technology in order to develop new business in the capital markets. On 15 April 2021, Societe Generale issued the first structured product in the "Security Token" format directly registered on the public blockchain Tezos. These securities were fully subscribed by Societe Generale Assurances.

This transaction validates a new stage in the development of Societe Generale - Forge, which has become a regulated subsidiary of the Societe Generale Group, and whose objective is to provide structuring, issuing, exchange and crypto-asset protection services to the Group’s professional clients from 2022 onwards.

The launch of Forge follows a first EUR 100 million bond issue of “Security Tokens” on the Ethereum blockchain, settled in euros in April 2019, and a second EUR 40 million bond issue of “Security Tokens”, this time settled in Banque Centrale Digital Currency (MDBC) issued by the Banque de France in May 2020.

To know more about Societe Generale - Forge, read the interview in  Innovation Insider
Read the Blockchain and cryptoassets overview by Societe Generale

Open Banking to increase client satisfaction

To meet new client expectations and satisfy their need for interaction, the way in which banks do business is changing. Societe Generale is partnering with innovative actors by opening up its IT systems via Application Programming Interfaces(APIs), without, of course, compromising security, compliance or regulations. 
This open approach makes it possible to offer increasingly innovative and personalised servicesto our clients.

The Group is rolling out two major open banking models.

The first is the Bank as a Platform model, which consists of offering innovative solutions from external partners to Societe Generale's clients. For example, if accompanying clients throughout their real estate project, this could mean anything from finding accomodation to communicating with artisans, in addition to providing credit and insurance services.

The second is the Bank as a Service model, which provides partners –whether actors in e-commerce, neobanks or fintechs – with Societe Generale products and services for their clients, such as online payment, insurance products, etc.

Digital at the heart of transformation

Having started its digital transformation process in the 2010s, the Group has equipped itself with the necessary means to build the bank of tomorrow.

This far-reaching transformation has enabled all of the Group’s businesses and functions to accelerate their conversion to digital solutions, with the aim of providing better services to their clients. 

In order to maintain or even increase its digital leadership, the Group is now committed to modernising its information systems, as well as pooling and industrialising innovative digital solutions. The objective: bring value to our customers and employees faster, by combining the best of digital technology and human expertise, in a responsible way.

The platforms helping systems to communicate

The platforms are technological proof that future innovation is only possible nthrough co-construction, in an environment open to the outside world. Societe Generale has more than 4,000 Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in production in its catalogue. These APIs are the connection points between the various information systems through which data and functions pass. These technological building blocks make it possible to open up the bank to partners and to share digital services both within the Group and externally, making open banking a reality while always maintaining a high level of security.

Data and Artificial Intelligence: tools of increased value

Data is a constant theme in all of the Group's businesses, with more than 330 use cases in production. Of these use cases, 170 incorporate Artificial Intelligence (AI) and are "self-learning" (Machine Learning) and/or "communicating" (Natural Language Processing, NLP). All projects share the same objectives: to add value to client relationships and increase operational efficiency.

To fully leverage the potential of data in a responsible manner, the Group has introduced robust governance systems. The Group Data Office centrally monitors the entire life cycle of data, from creation to deletion, and guarantees its quality. It heads a community of more than 1,000 experts and 65 Chief Data Officers (CDOs) in the Group’s Business Units and Service Units. These CDOs help businesses implement their data strategy. Interoperability between the Group's two main data lakes and a data catalogue enable the accelerated adoption of new practices, while the DataGo solution – a ‘permit’ for data use – guarantees compliance with regulations. In addition, discussions are under way to limit the environmental impact of the Group’s data and to guarantee trustworthy Artificial Intelligence.

  • 330

    Artificial Intelligence/Data use cases in production

  • 1

    central Group Data Office

  • 65

    Chief Data Officers working in the Group’s Business Units and Service Units

Societe Generale: a Cloud banking pioneer

Driven by its Cloud-first strategy, the Group has migrated a significant portion of its servers to a hybrid public/private Cloud platform. This transition process is making its IT architectures more resilient, more flexible and more readily scalable.

The Group’s ambition is to make even greater use of Cloud in the coming years to reap all the benefits, with the target of using 75% of the “second generation” Cloud, including 25% of the public Cloud, by 2025. The data of French customers remains stored on the private Cloud.

This provides Societe Generale with a quicker way of designing the most innovative, fluid and personalised services and making them available to clients.

  • 80%

    of Societe Generale's servers hosted in the Cloud at end 2020

Cybersecurity: a key issue

To deal with industrialised cybercrime, Societe Generale continues to invest heavily in cybersecurity, the cornerstone of its clients' trust.

The Group is increasing the fight against ransomware, the detection of potential intrusions and the protection of its key assets. It is testing its ability to quickly resume its business to serve customers in the event of an attack.

It also pays particular attention to the security and resilience of its suppliers and works closely with the cybersecurity ecosystem, particularly ANSSI, the French national information systems security agency. The Group is an associate member of the Cyber Campus launched by the French government to bring together all stakeholders around innovative security projects.

For a sustainable IT

As a signatory to the Sustainable IT Charter for the French Institute for Sustainable IT (INR) in 2019, the Group launched an ambitious program to limit the negative impacts of digital technology on the environment and society.

The Group plans to reduce its IT carbon footprint by 50% by 2025. To this end, it has launched numerous initiatives that are monitored and measured: transformation of its data centers, recycling and reuse of IT equipment, better data management, equipping and training IT experts in eco-design and e-accessibility, and raising awareness of these practices for future generations…

In addition, the Group IT Function is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment, with two main priorities for 2025: to reach at least 30% of women and 30% of international profiles in senior positions and more than 30% of employees with disabilities in the IT workforce in France.

Open Source at all levels

The philosophy of Open Source (free access to the source code of programs and applications) is based on a collective and collaborative intelligence approach, a powerful driver of innovation.

In response to strong demand from developers, Societe Generale has put in place an Open Source first strategy based on three key areas: making use of Open-Source technologies (USE), contributing to communities (CONTRIBUTE) and attracting IT talent (ATTRACT).

Open Source is inseparable from Open Banking and accelerates the Group's digital transformation while ensuring the same level of security as ‘proprietary’ technologies.

Agile@Scale: a shared and agile method

For its technology projects, the Group has applied the Agile method in continuous delivery mode. The aim is to minimise the time between the initial stage of an idea and its conception, implementation and delivery in usable form. This approach is characterised by its consideration of the needs of the end user from the outset, whether that user is a client, a member of staff or any other stakeholder. With the Agile method, Societe Generale is able to regularly deliver new digital services without compromising security or full compliance with regulations.

"@Scale" means Group-wide: 70% of IT teams are currently working in Agile mode with the Group’s businesses.