This is a question that must be asked. A set of concordant elements allow us to doubt the collective game in the interest of our digital sovereignty. This is a crucial subject, if we do not manage to establish a collaboration of all the economic actors, it will be complicated. But we must recognize that the marketing and lobbying power of the #gafam is not to be boasted anymore!
Troubled links of NSEs with gafams
The Digital Services Companies (DSC), formerly called SSII, are consulting and service companies in information technology. In France, large groups in this sector, such as Cap Gemini and Sopra Steria, have been formed and after consolidation have absorbed many other entities…
These large groups were built on technical skills that were very much focused on American technologies, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, then Amazon and Google. They have rather disdained free software technologies (open source) which, however, in terms of infrastructure, made sense (Linux, etc.), preferring Microsoft, etc…
Moreover, their business model is also based on privileged partnerships (Golden Partners) with these editors, partnerships that probably ensure them an ease to find customers but also the skills to deploy these technologies. But being a “Gold Partner” has to be bought (directly or indirectly via training to reach the required technical level) and you have to make your investment profitable!
And in my opinion, this is where the problem lies. Indeed, when these large groups are selected by large industrial groups to think about their IS (Information System) or digital transformation strategy, the consultancy is not independent. They will obviously put forward the solutions that will be the most beneficial for them, and this for two reasons. For the technical mastery of the proposed solutions and the support associated with the implementation of these solutions.
We saw it in the famous scandal of the choice of #Microsoft as the cloud solution for the Health Data Hub, there again the choice was made by the influence of a consulting firm affiliated with the three American cloud providers which not only disqualified any French solution but led to the selection of #Microsoft without any tender! (articles : 1, 2, 3, 4 )
Indeed, in addition to these biased advices, it is necessary to recognize that the Directions of the Information Systems (DSI) calling upon their service are not inclined to take risks. It is therefore better to take a known and recognized solution #gafam, even if it does not fully meet the need and presents problems than to take any risk, we have never seen a CIO be fired because Microsoft has bugs for example …
SYNTEC in all this?
The SYNTEC is the professional union gathering all the actors of the digital industry, ESN and software publishers. However, it is essentially dominated by the ESN, and the orientations taken are in favor of these companies. In the governance of Syntec we can mention Laurent Giovachini, its current president who is also the CEO of Sopra Steria, Hubert Giraud, member of the board of Cap Gemini, and Godefroy de Bentzmann, head of Devoteam … This is for the most emblematic, others are in different activities related to consulting not necessarily in the IS sector. Of the 14 members of SYNTEC’s governance, I did not find a single representative from the software publishing world. How can we be surprised by the positions taken by Syntec, such as this statement by Godefroy de Bentzmann: “French solutions have many qualities but are not at the same level: it is because the American cloud Azure from Microsoft allows the activation of AI algorithms that French companies do not allow that it was chosen for the Health Data Hub”, an unproven assertion.
Fortunately, there is a ray of hope, the French digital actors have gathered in the collective PlayFrtanceDigital, in order to make their voice heard and to carry the colors of the French digital industry. I hope that this collective will be a real itching tool not only for our government but also for Syntec, which does not know how to defend the French interests. Maybe the software editors will…
As we can see, the fight for a new digital sovereignty is an unceasing and sometimes fratricidal battle. Indeed, our political decision-makers are under the influence of American lobbies, but also of the big French ESNs that have built their economic model on partnerships with American giants, all the more so as they do not understand the stakes and the technology sufficiently, if at all.
In addition, the anti-commercial and dumping actions of American solutions, mean that the French educational system is infiltrated by them, especially the grandes écoles, giving our young heads the habit of using these solutions. And we know that change is a real challenge.
We have to wake up! The CNIL’s recommendation to move away from American solutions in the education and research space is a step in the right direction.
Initiatives like PlayFranceDigitale are also a source of hope. As for software publishers, perhaps they should consider creating their own professional union, but excessive structuring can lead to a loss of the necessary fighting spirit.
Finally, perhaps software publishers should organize themselves with small ESNs, which are probably still quite independent of American solutions, to bring a real breath of fresh air to the IT consulting profession.