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SocGen chief innovation officer on the Covid-19 response

SocGen chief innovation officer on the Covid-19 response

Societe Generale is the latest bank to offer an insight into how it is coping during the Covid-19 lockdown, using technology to ensure remote workers are on top of their briefs and keeping their spirits up.

Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs CTO Atte Lahtiranta outlined the technical steps taken to adapt at breakneck speed to a world where the vast majority of its tens of thousands of employees have to work remotely.

Now, Societe Generale chief innovation officer Claire Calmejane has provided a more human-oriented take on how her team is adapting to the situation.

In a LinkedIn post, Calmejane sets out how after moving to remote working in a single day, the innovation unit, "following some initial glitches", found its "rhythm and our rituals".

Each day, she explains, begins with a short 'check-in', using collaborative tools to "create conversations". At 4:00pm there’s a 'Tea Time & Learn' session via videoconference to learn more about a topic. Once a week, the entire team logs on for a 'weekly stand-up' to review progress towards the long-term mission.

By ensuring regular contact, Calmejane writes that "despite the tense and sometimes anxiety-provoking context, I have seen that the team’s sense of humour is still intact".

As for the actual work, some projects have been prioritised and others mothballed during the lockdown. For example, an observatory was quickly set up to pull together information on new digital practices - among workers and customers.

On customer behaviour, mobile usage is "skyrocketing" and contactless payments are becoming the norm, trends that are likely to continue post-crisis as digital disruption that was already underway accelerates.

"It is too early to foresee the extent of the coming changes, but it is fair to presume that, with the surge in Cloud services, digital sovereignty and data security issues will remain at the very heart of people’s concerns for a long time to come. Interest in crypto-assets and virtual currencies could also intensify," writes Calmejane.

Comments: (1)

Mark Boyd
Mark Boyd - Platformable - Barcelona 19 April, 2020, 20:19Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hmm... its admirable to see SocGen starting to think about this, but there is a lot more banks could do. The FSG model in the US has some great ideas about how corporations can think about their COVID-19 response. In particular, they can analyse who is most effected in their customer base, workforce and suppliers and look at what they can do. For example, can they pay smaller suppliers faster than NET 60 (or whatever they have in place) to help with cashflows? Can they work with government to ensure faster processing of stimulus payments? Also, the forecast of coming changes points to one big thing i think: APIs will be needed by banks in greater numbers. Both internal APIs to speed up product development and extyernal facing ones to create more innovative products for customers who need access to a greater range of financial services via mobile now.