French Multinational Learns Introspection Leads to Innovation

In business as well as technology, nothing stands in place. 

Complacency based on past accomplishments never brings you forward, even if you’ve been defining yourself as the paragon of digital transformation.

So when Atos reevaluated itself a few years ago, it was forced to take a deep look inward and come to terms with the fact that market and customer expectations were changing quickly.

Traditional business models didn’t always work. The new marketplace demanded financial solutions and dynamic engagement — aligning human and digital resources to meet customers’ business and technological needs.

At the same time, Atos had to deliver speed, transparency, and flexibility to cater to the requirements of its employees. After acquiring operations like Siemens’ IT subsidiary and Xerox’s IT outsourcing business — as well as entering a global partnership with Google Cloud to help secure artificial intelligence (AI) systems — Atos was facing the type of inorganic growth that often follows a series of mergers.

It was clear that the multinational IT service and consulting company had to create a new innovation platform. But it couldn’t do it alone. Instead, it turned to a reliable partner to make this vital shift.


Transforming the Ecosystem

From its headquarters in Bezon, France, Atos specializes in cybersecurity, cloud and high-performance computing, and other disciplines, working with businesses in 71 countries and boasting some 107,000 employees.

The company has come a long way since its founding 25 years ago, when its workforce totaled a modest 6,000.

Yet, one relationship remained been unchanged: Atos’ close ties to German software trailblazer SAP.

Over the years, Atos utilized SAP solutions for finance, logistics, payroll, and other functions.

In 2020, it began incorporating SAP Employee Central for human resources, Analytics Cloud, and S/4HANA enterprise resource planning (ERP) software designed specifically for the challenges faced by large enterprises.

The next year, Atos started developing its company-wide platform with a new, flexible, cloud-based ERP solution that played off S/4HANA’s strengths: RISE with SAP for S/4HANA.

It would soon be implemented across the company’s entire business landscape to, among other tasks, contribute to system performance and smooth IT and business transitions.

‘The benefits are clear’

In less than nine months, all 42 of Atos’ business-critical systems, containing more than 500 interfaces, were migrated from the company’s on-premise infrastructure to SAP S/4HANA Cloud — without experiencing a single business interruption.

Among the many features on the platform: Universal Journal, a simplified storage mechanism optimizing financial operations.

In addition to improving the user experience, the company completely reduced its capital expenditure by switching to an OPEX (operating expenditure) system, enabling workers to accurately calculate daily expenses to determine profitability and efficiency.

There was also better oversight of complex closing procedures — the step in the accounting cycle that occurs at the end of each month — across the organization.

With real-time data tailored to each user’s needs, Atos reports a 20% improvement in processing intensive activities.

Since the platform’s establishment, the company says both decision making and time to market — the period between a product’s conception and when it is available for sale — have been accelerated.

Difficulties can now be anticipated in advance, monitored, and controlled, and IT resources have been freed up, allowing technicians to focus on what the company does best: innovate.

As a result, since 2019, internal user satisfaction for IT has increased by 110 points, an unprecedented jump.

“The benefits are clear, not only in terms of streamlined operations, cost optimization, and resource redeployment,” said Frédéric Aubrière, Atos’ group CIO.  “We can be more focused on our clients.”

For offering its employees a revolutionary user experience, Atos was singled out as a finalist at the 2022 SAP Innovation Awards, an annual event honoring organizations utilizing SAP technologies to transform business and society.

And more change may be on the horizon. The platform “ensures that we now have a strong foundation, bringing us speed, flexibility and innovation on which to build and accelerate our own digital transformation,” Aubrière said.

You can read more about Atos’ amazing feat in their SAP Innovation Awards pitch deck.

Digital Transformation