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Sopra Steria Launches Digital Enablers Program to Complement Solution Businesses & Attract Millennial Talent

 

We recently met with Sopra Steria to discuss the broad topic of intellectual capital and accelerators. We came away impressed with Sopra Steria’s approach that is both very new (launched early 2017) and also broader in focus than technical accelerators.

Earlier this year Sopra Steria launched its Digital Enablers initiative. Digital Enablers has several aspects: creating API-based/-like micro-services for external clients, for internal needs, and for creating a sense of a community internally focusing on digital, based on Inner Source principles.

Micro-services/web services

Sopra Steria’s micro-services approach has two main elements: one is based on the historic focus of Sopra to create software products (“solutions”, with core banking, real estate, and HR software products, and through its ISV subsidiary Axway); the other on the understanding that new ways of programming based on open source software, APIs, and web services require new software services. Those new software service will co-exist with software product.

The company is investing in creating new services focusing initially on horizontal activities. Those new services will become the IP of Sopra Steria, with an intent to create reusable products or services. As an example: Sopra Steria is currently finalizing a SSON service that targets custom applications development activities, with the intent of providing an authentication service off-the-shelf, maintained by Sopra Steria over the life of the application, and public cloud-hosted.

Sopra Steria is working on application container security, expecting Docker-like application container technology usage to expand. As part of this adoption of Docker, Sopra Steria will commit on the security of container layers, as part of its security SLAs.  

Another initiative in progress is in the use of AI-based chat bots for service desk activities.

Sopra Steria plans to release one new service per quarter, relying on volunteers that share their time between client projects and those new services. The team size for each new service ranges from five to ten personnel, as part of a virtual API development factory.

Adoption of Inner Source Principles

Sopra Steria’s intellectual capital initiative goes beyond its micro-service approach. The company is promoting internally the principles of Inner Source. Inner Source is a collaboration approach used by the open source software communities (e.g. Apache Software Foundation, Linux Foundation) and several large organizations, to drive open communication, collaboration, and software quality.

Sopra Steria’s initial step was to make internally available tools for open communication (code, documentation, defect management, and more importantly reliance on all volunteering contributors), and for software quality (code reviews). The company is using open source defect management, wiki, and repository manager GitLab, Red Hat’s OpenShift, for container based software deployment, as well as an internal Sopra Steria agile/DevOps software development workbench named, continuous development kit (CDK).

The intent of the Inner Source approach is to bring together volunteers on the topics they are interested in. Topics range from mainstream technical accelerators (e.g. around Java, SAP, and .NET technologies) and new areas (blockchain demos or data science algorithms). Sopra Steria is keeping a loose handle on topic selection, and allows developers to work on what their topics of interest.

The company launched its Inner Source initiative on March 30, and already had ~1k projects in progress, with 2.1k registered users. Given Sopra Steria’s size, this is rapid early take up of the Inner Source program.

So, where does Digital Enablers fit within Sopra Steria’s overall corporate strategy? Digital Enablers is considered to be of strategic importance, not just because of its potential to create a source of revenue in the long-term, but also in driving career interest and making the company attractive to millennial talent. We will be monitoring the progress of Digital Enablers in the coming quarters.

Comments to this post:

  • Great article, and it is the beginning only ☺

    Sep 21, 2017, by GEORGES J-F

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