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Sopra Steria’s Digital Enablers Program: Increased Adoption & AI in Mind

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While Sopra Steria may be known for its execution excellence and its investment in delivery industrialization, it had not really invested in creating accelerators and IP. Then, early last year it launched its Digital Enablers program with accelerators in mind.

The company followed a slightly different approach to some of its peers in India, and initially focused on providing its developers and employees with the tools for creating accelerators. This blog looks at the progress made by the company in the past year, the level of adoption, and how usage is expanding.

Providing the tools for creating accelerators

The first step for Sopra Steria was to provide tools for creating accelerators. The company has used the Inner Source collaboration approach, used by the open source communities (e.g. Apache Foundation, Linux Foundation) and several large organizations to drive software development. Using Inner Source, Sopra Steria is providing software tools such as defect management; wikis; repositories (Gitlab); its development workbench, Continuous Development Kit (CDK); and a container-based deployment software (Red Hat’s OpenShift).

The Digital Enablers program wants to provide further cloud-hosted accelerators. It has, in the past year, developed a SSON-based authentication service, and a RedHat OpenShift-based Kubernetes (“container as a service”) offering. Looking ahead, Sopra Steria is working on providing a micro-service creation workbench based on open source tools including Kafka and Istio.

Inner Source adoption is accelerating

Sopra Steria highlights that adoption is accelerating. It currently has 6k registered users working on 4.2k projects, up from 2.1k registered users and 1k projects in progress at end March 2017. The company estimates that a third of its application services personnel are now registered. Adoption is expanding in particular across France, U.K., Norway, Germany, Spain, and India.

Use cases are also changing. With Digital Enablers, Sopra Steria initially targeted its developers, on an individual basis. Adoption is now spreading to the project level. And several clients are asking Sopra Steria to accompany them in similar projects, e.g. around jumpstarting portals for collecting ideas (“Digibox” IP), and bringing the right tools to their developers. Digital Enablers is also driving some level of revenue, with several clients buying virtual agents/bots that were created using Digital Enablers’ accelerators. Accordingly, Sopra Steria is getting organized and is systematically driving the creation of sales guidelines, along with technical documentation, for each IP created on its tools.

AI next on the horizon

Sopra Steria continues to expand its range of supporting tools for its developers, and has created a methodology and a technology framework for training on ML technology, focusing initially on image recognition and virtual agents.

The company’s immediate priority is to keep up the adoption of Digital Enablers, further accelerating its bottom-up approach. The company has found that Digital Enablers is attractive to millennials that are eager to develop accelerators in new fields and gain more experience. The cost of this approach is relatively limited, and Digital Enablers is finding that it is awarded budgets for creating new accelerators relatively easily.

At the corporate level, Sopra Steria is keen to invest in the Digital Enablers initiative. It is finding the business case worth it, and that Digital Enablers is helping the company to shift its portfolio to AI and micro-services, while promoting reuse and quality, both internally and with clients.

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