Centricity of technology and talent: Atos keeps growing in North America

New Artificial Intelligence Lab in Texas will facilitate Atos’ collaborative innovation work with clients

On Oct. 3 Atos held a ceremony for the launch of its new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab in partnership with Google Cloud (Nasdaq: GOOGL). The Atos AI Lab, so far the largest of Atos’ labs, is located on the first floor of Atos’ office building in Irving, Texas, and joins a global network of labs, the rest of which are located in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Munich. The lab will work with clients in North America to build clients’ understanding around AI and define use cases for data analytics and machine learning with the goal of improving their business performance. Collaborating with Atos and Google, clients will be able to jointly develop solutions that are specific to their business and industry needs. TBR noted that the lab is a very bright, flexible and laid-back environment that enables ideation and creative thinking by combining digital experience and design thinking methodology. Another thing that stood out during our discussions with Atos’ North America leadership team is that North America is becoming a region for the company’s innovation. Atos is instilling a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and creative thinking in North America and creating intellectual property that is brought back to Europe to be utilized with clients in Atos’ main geography. Because these kinds of collaborative centers play an important role in vendors’, including Atos’, ability to groom talent and leadership, the proper messaging about specific technology capabilities, such as around Google, will help Atos stay abreast of the next wave of partnership models. According to TBR’s Digital Transformation Insights Report: Cross Vendor, published in September 2019, partnerships will also evolve in the long term, as in their current form, the technology diminishes differentiation among all parties. This evolution could create siloed, federated-like model enterprises, which bring a different set of challenges. However, with the expectations coming from the advent of open data standards amplified through blockchain, TBR anticipates such hurdles will be easy to overcome.

Establishing a talent base will improve Atos’ ability to generate IP in North America

Early in the event, Walsh spoke of the “centricity of technology and talent” summarizing Atos’ view of itself, its clients and its ecosystem — a sentiment echoed repeatedly by Atos executives throughout the day. In TBR’s view, Atos recognizes that its strength lies not in strategy consulting but instead in staying centered on technology while trying to help clients solve business problems. Atos also recognizes that talent, not technology, will differentiate consultancies and IT services vendors from each other as everyone pursues digital transformation. On multiple occasions during the event, as both part of the formal presentations and in side-bar discussions, Atos executives stressed the company’s commitment to training, reskilling, developing and retaining top talent across all of its lines of business (and geographies, although most of the event centered on North America). Wagner’s description of purpose-built, SAP-centric teams around consulting, Google Cloud Platform and the CTO was as much about the talent Atos needed to recruit and develop as it was about the organizational changes Atos needed to make and the SAP capabilities it needed to acquire.

In all, the Texas event confirmed to TBR that Atos’ strategy and execution in North America have shifted into a substantially higher gear, as the company accelerates its push to bring U.S.-led initiatives to the front of this very European company. One small indication: According to Walsh, Atos North America now generates more IP to share with Atos Europe than Europe develops to send to the U.S. TBR does not expect Atos’ U.S. headquarters in Irving to replace Atos’ global headquarters near Paris any time soon, but the gravitational pull of success will make the next few years interesting for Atos. 

Supporting its strategy to expand in North America, France-based digital transformation company Atos held its second annual North America industry analyst event at its North America headquarters in Irving, Texas. The event took place in Atos’ Business Technology Innovation Center (BTIC), which is part of a network of nine BTICs that Atos uses as a platform for hands-on innovation with customers and partners. Using a balanced mix of presentations, innovation showcases set up at the BTIC, one-on-one sessions, and North America client examples — one of which, a public sector organization, was presented live on stage — Atos showed the industry analyst community that its expansion in the region is accelerating. Atos is using acquisitions, such as that of Syntel, to expand its portfolio and resources, improve its service delivery model, and drive profitable growth in North America.

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