A data strategy, what for?


For over a year, Societe Generale's Global Transaction Banking activities have been implementing an ambitious data roadmap. This is based on a conviction: the abundant data generated by our flow activity will enable us to better understand our clients and better meet their needs, but also to simplify the lives of our employees, whether they are salespeople, control teams, business experts or back office operators. The health crisis has only reinforced the relevance of this approach.

This roadmap is in line with the ambition we have had for several years: to be a relationship banker for working capital needs. It focuses on specific use cases and has led to the creation of an organisational community dedicated to data. We devote a budget of ten to twenty million euros to this every year.

To strengthen the client relationship
Throughout the bank, data is intended to become a lever for strengthening client relations, in particular by enabling the creation of homogenous digital paths, the creation of new services, the strengthening of our advisory capacities, etc. It also opens the door to a reflection on platform models and new economic agents. All of this is designed to better meet the needs of our clients.

As far as Global Transaction Banking is concerned, client expectations are particularly numerous and sometimes difficult to reconcile: the fight against fraud, cyber-security, predictability, reliability of information, real-time, transparency, simplicity and self-care, as well as personalised (human) support... However, we are convinced that data will enable us to better respond to each of these challenges.

To strengthen our role as experts and our capacity for innovation

In a context where the world of payments is changing and their pricing is falling sharply, data allows us to move up the value chain and strengthen our role as an expert and our capacity for innovation. Using the right algorithms and models, we develop predictive tools for risk analysis in the field of factoring, for example, or for cash management thanks to benchmarking tools from our clients' working capital. We can create more effective fraud detection solutions. We design consolidated dashboards so that our clients can have a complete view of their business. For example, our teams are developing a Trade transaction tracking solution that will give our back office operators and our clients a shared view in real time of the status of the transaction, thus meeting our clients' need for transparency and information in addition to being a factor of operational efficiency. In the area of correspondent banking, our web banking portal enables clients to view their payments in real time with SWIFT gpi, including all SWIFT information, payment and processing time, as well as bank commissions. The field of possibilities is vast and these are only a few use cases of data in our business.

In order to make rapid progress towards a data-driven business model, a special effort has been made to train and support business teams. Of course, data is based on application solutions and technical infrastructures, but data is just as much a business issue, to which everyone must be aware and prepared.

To meet the needs of our clients and our teams

Alongside our business teams, new profiles have been brought in to carry out this transformation: data engineers, data scientists, data analysts, artificial intelligence specialists, etc. Our data community now has over 60 professionals, who can draw on the technical resources deployed at Group level, as well as on fruitful exchanges with the other data labs that have been set up in the various business units of Societe Generale. Far from being a new silo, this data community is intended to work as closely as possible with the business teams, to provide a very concrete response to their needs and those of our clients.

In respect of the confidentiality of the data that our clients entrust to us

As a trusted third party, we are obviously extremely concerned about the confidentiality with which we handle the data that clients entrust to us through their transaction banking operations. It is our absolute imperative to respect the regulatory requirements in force in the internal exploitation of data for our clients. We will not monetize the data of our clients. This is also what being a responsible bank is all about.

The data era holds the promise of openness, innovation and the creation of new models with innovative external partners. I have no doubt that this movement will create value for everyone!