The scene takes place a few weeks ago in San Francisco. Simply the best of the American high-tech met Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, Marc Benioff, the founder of Salesforce. com, Paul Maritz, the former CEO of VMware, as well as leaders of Linkedin and those of the company Web Storage Box. com. They all responded to the invitation for a meeting with senior executives of an "old" European IT services company Capgemini. For several days, participants exchange and debate on topics popular in the industry as "cloud computing", the "big data" social networks or mobility issues. Capgemini and its leaders, the goal is clear: it is to raise awareness to the teams that can work with big stars of Silicon Valley and develop common solutions able to support future business.
This is the new strategic challenge of the French IT company, which also poses other industry giants. And it turns out already complex ahead. The European leader in IT services including sales exceeded 10 billion euros in 2012, decided to turn innovation by developing more and more new ranges of solutions for its customers. A new trend that puts intellectual property at the center of the group's concerns. The problem with this position is that it is precisely to contradict the strategy put in place during the previous decade, which led to standardization and commoditization of its offerings, having more use of offshore resources. The great strategic gap is provided. Paul Hermelin itself, the group's CEO, admits: "These two seemingly contradictory trends. But we must nevertheless juggle these issues, because it will determine the future of the IT services industry in the years to come. "
For ten years, Capgemini has accelerated the process of industrialization of its offerings, by progressively moving the center of gravity to India, the new stronghold of the computer world. Since 2009, the continent country became the first group in terms of numbers, followed by France. Today, more than 40. 000 Indian IT services company working for the French and its largest customers, a total of about 120. 000 employees. Capgemini's presence was almost zero ten years ago. The acquisition of Kanbay U.S. in 2006, the majority of teams was based in India, truly launched the offshore strategy. This is expected to continue at the same pace in the coming years. 2015, Capgemini plans to employ 80. 000 IT offshore, 70. 000 in India.
The pursuit of this strategy responds to the intense competition between the giants of IT services and pressure on prices resulting. The economic crisis has accentuated the phenomenon. The services provided in India indeed cost three or four times cheaper than those made by European engineers. Companies like IBM and Accenture also keep one step ahead in the race for competitiveness – the latter now employs two-thirds of its workforce in offshore and recently opened a new platform in the Philippines. No question, however, for Capgemini try to emulate the strategy of Indian giants TCS, Infosys and Wipro. In terms of costs, the battle is already lost. The strategic orientation of the most innovative offerings is a way to differentiate themselves to compete and play positively on margins. External growth remains one of the main levers used to accelerate the transition to more innovative solutions. As such, the acquisition of French Prosody, in 2011, to 382 million euros, was a founding element of the new strategy of Capgemini.
The company, which operates in the border areas of telecommunications and computing, is a specialist in multi-channel relationship, transactional solutions and hosting Web applications. Prosody is also considered one of the best French players of "cloud computing," a substantial future growth market. With this acquisition, Capgemini is also changing its business model. Innovation is not only measured by the integration of new technologies in the IT services offerings. It also has marketing methods: billing services use, popularized by the phenomenon of "cloud" is changing that in the IT services sector and requires to adapt. The novelty also come from changing relationships with customers. Forget the trade negotiations with one (DSI management information systems), all trades in the company (marketing, sales, finance, etc..) Are now capable of making their own needs and order from IT services. The "cloud" facilitates access to technology and services for all.
This new strategic project begins, even another, equally important, ends only. Since the late 2000s, Capgemini trying to limit its dependence on economic cycles. This sensitivity to changing economic conditions is one of the characteristics of IT services. In times of crisis, investments in IT tend to be the first to be sacrificed in business – even if the growing dependence on information systems and new technologies has somewhat evolved practices. The growth of the sector and its leading companies, so that traditionally follows the global GDP. In addition, the main asset of a software company is its human capital, its cost structure remains extremely rigid and leaves little scope to adapt to the economic downturn.
The cyclical nature of Capgemini has increased with the acquisition in 2000 of giant Ernst & Young. This major transaction ($ 11 billion) has certainly allowed the French group acquired a new status in the industry, opening up new prospects with the largest multinationals in the world. But it has also made it more sensitive to macroeconomic fluctuations.
To reduce this dependence, the French group has sought to rebalance its geographical presence. If France remains the historic market Capgemini since its inception in 1967, it is not the largest in terms of revenue: it was surpassed in 2012 by the United States, which are driving growth in two years. SSII also accelerated its investments in emerging markets. It has set foot in Brazil in 2010 with the acquisition of CPM Braxis, and benefits from one of the fastest growing IT markets in the world. Five years ago, the share of the group's business conducted in Europe was 80%. The goal is to bring it to 60% in two years.