Interview with Silvano Sansoni, Vice President Enterprise & Commercial, IBM France

Silvano Sansoni

Published at 26/09/2018

Q1. Silvano Sansoni, why are SMEs a priority for IBM?

IBM is the preferred partner of companies that rely on innovation to differentiate themselves. This is the case for the vast majority of SMEs. For us, this is a growing market with strong development potential. Innovative SMEs in all economic sectors are looking to expand internationally to promote their know-how. Their challenge is to be able to adapt to the different markets they encounter by being active and daring enough.

Our main commitment to them is to accompany them in this effort. We have tailored offerings and the support of a large network of several thousand partners. They allow us to encapsulate technologies in fast-to-deploy managed service offerings. These services are focused on functional issues such as customer experience, lead management, and retention. What we guarantee is an almost immediate ”time to market”.

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We also provide them with innovative working environments. Our Design Studio makes it easy to set up work teams with them that are adapted to their needs. They can benefit from our specialized skills on a wide range of technologies. For the youngest among them, we have also created a start-up incubator, the Scale Zone. We encourage them to integrate industrialization platforms into the heart of their development strategy.

Q2. In your opinion, is the digital transformation of SMEs a key factor for success, especially internationally? If so, why?

Digital transformation is essential for SMEs. When they expand internationally, they must market their innovation to the different types of consumers they encounter. At IBM, we are convinced that every company is a learner. They must learn quickly and continuously. Whether it's in terms of technology, design, or services, digitizing their processes allows them to better understand their markets.

Faced with sometimes ambitious technological challenges, such as artificial intelligence, SME managers do not always find the necessary expertise in their immediate environment. We make sure that they take ownership of these subjects in their business processes. Some artificial intelligence projects can be quickly industrialized and offer a high automation capacity.

Q3.What do you expect from the Francophone Business Meetings that will be held on November 8 at the Maison de la Mutualité? What message(s) would you like to convey to the business leaders and economic decision-makers who will be attending?

IBM is a global company. It is present in more than 170 countries, and more than 124 languages are spoken. Our company has a particular attachment to the French-speaking world, if only because of the long history that links us with France. We have been established there for 100 years. Our company has grown up adhering to the principles of the French-speaking world, its culture, as well as the values that are carried there.

The leading technologies of tomorrow, such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, or artificial intelligence on the cloud, allow for more connections within geographically dispersed communities. Many French-speaking territories in Africa, for example, are growing markets and sources of talent. There are some very nice achievements by our partners. This is the case of emlyon, for whom the notion of a learning community serves to train innovative entrepreneurs who are fully in the world of augmented intelligence.

We are proud to support SMEs internationally because it is French innovation that they export. When you attend an event like CES in the United States, with a large French delegation, you can see how important this ecosystem effect is. We are convinced that new business models are possible through market platforms or ecosystems. They involve a new kind of collaboration between large companies, SMEs and startups.

We contribute to the diffusion of French innovation and we want to continue this commitment. We have the technological know-how as well as recognized international capabilities. We accompany our customers throughout their development, that is our DNA. The new evolution of intelligence that we are experiencing requires agility for all its actors, first and foremost the SMEs.