Philippe Clapin (Sopra Steria Next): "Ethics need to be a key factor influencing the recommendations that consultancies make"
Deputy director of Sopra Steria Next, Philippe Clapin, is at the heart of an international consultancy specializing in digital transformation, one that benefits from the extensive network of parent company Sopra Steria.
Leaders league: What are the defining characteristics of Sopra Steria Next?
Philippe Clapin: We are convinced that a company is defined by the covenant it makes with its clients. This promise doesn’t just concern improving its products, services and customer relations, but revolves around a remolded business model, one that prioritizes a global approach that is not just focused on selling more products and services.
For this to be achieved, we need to break with old ways of thinking, put ourselves in the shoes of the end user or client, the patient, the citizen. For us, the objective is not just to secure a bank loan for a client, but to simplify the process of buying an apartment or a car, so that it is pain-free and thoughtful, in a manner that takes into account the input of all stakeholders.
This new model entails nothing less than the complete transformation of the strategic approach companies employ, in their interactions with customers, the level of autonomy they afford staff, the decision-making process within the company and the way it builds an ecosystem of external partners.
There is the theory of the promise-centric company, where ethics plays a central role. Tell us about it.
The whole notion of the promise-centric company is one that is based on both ethics and performance – and by performance we are talking about more than just economic performance.
A promise-centric company is one that is based on both ethics and performance – and more than just economic performance
A company can only call itself promise-centric if it is committed to making a positive impact on society and on the environment. Furthermore, it incorporates the sovereignty principle, which stipulates that a company should be the master of its own destiny, notably in terms of data and cybersecurity.
What has Sopra Steria Next done to try to stand out in the crowded consultancy market?
The representation we provide is linked to a specific vision that is tied up with our carefully crafted model of what the company of the future will be, i.e. a promise-centric one. Sopra Steria Next is actively engaged with a number of leading French companies and organizations on a host of crucial topics related to the finance, aeronautical, defense, security social welfare, administration, transport, energy, telecoms and retail sectors.
As consultants, our role in to provide clarification to actors in these areas whenever they are unsure of how to advance. And what is clear, from our perspective, is that ethics need to be a key factor influencing the recommendations that consultancies make. All our consultants receive extensive training on ethics as they apply to our deliverables, not least the advice we provide on digital transformation.
A couple of years ago we set up an in-house think tank dedicated to exploring issues such as trust, ethics and responsibility in the corporate world, in order to cultivate, share and promote best practices. We did this by mobilizing a brain trust made up of academics, executives, research institutions and foundations. Together, we want to craft new methods and approaches to business that put ethics at the heart of the decision-making process within companies.
Another initiative launched around the same time, in conjunction with Science Po University, was a research chair on digital sovereignty. The activities of this academic body are freely accessible to all.
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