Few startups can say they have a background like Eviden. A new carve out of French multinational information technology service and consulting company Atos, Eviden’s mission is to help its clients accelerate their digital future.
As Daniel Sinni, Global Head of Innovation and Digital Transformation at Eviden’s Financial Services & Insurance business, explains, the purpose of Eviden is to be the leader in data-driven, trusted, and sustainable digital transformation.
Speaking with Sinni just two weeks after the official launch of Eviden, his enthusiasm is clear. “We just learned the name Eviden,” he says. “Eviden evokes this response of creating new paths forward, transforming possibility into reality, and that's really what the company is going to drive. We are all super excited to go!”
“It's rare that you can say you're part of a €5bn startup, but that's what Eviden is,” Sinni adds. “We have nearly 60,000 people and 2,100 patents. It is purpose-built to take our clients into the next world of digital transformation, which includes digital integration. Our clients are really struggling with their amalgamation of heritage systems, processes etc and integrating with the highly disruptive technologies, ecosystems and operation models that drive value. That's where a lot of the problems need to be solved, and I'm really proud to be part of that solution.”
Helping financial services and insurance institutions realise digital transformation
As Sinni describes, his team helps financial services and insurance customers realise the benefits of digital transformation. Central to this journey is the creation of a new operating model. “You can't do that without a team of really passionate experts in those different domains,” Sinni explains. “And then you need a company that is laser focused on that outcome, which Eviden is, as well as having the capability and knowledge of those heritage systems. This is essential to success, tying it all together”
When you take a company the size of Eviden and combine it with the resources of Atos, it’d be difficult to dream up many other companies, globally, that have as much expertise at scale when it comes to enabling digital transformations.
“Many of the companies that we deal with – specifically in the case of financial services and insurance – they've been around for 100 years, and have heritage systems and regulatory constraints that are really heavy,” Sinni explains. “If they were born today, they would be a FinTech company and they would be fast and agile, but they're not; they're a monolithic enterprise aspiring (but often failing) for digital change.
“There are not many companies in the world that can help bridge the two,” Sinni adds. “We understand the heritage systems, and now we're bringing them into the new world of these operating models and these disruptive technologies. That's what makes my group really unique and special – because we have that DNA and we have been there done that….”
From digital transformation to digital integration
Central to the aim of Eviden is to help organisations on their journey from digital transformation to one of digital integration at scale.
“The pandemic made it really clear that the world has fully embraced digital,” he explains. “We've learned that technology is a massive enabler if used the right way, and if you integrate it into your operating model, into the way that you do business and connect with your customers - that’s extremely powerful.”
With startups using platforms such as blockchain as well as new generative AI capabilities, the question of how best to integrate them into legacy operating models and heavily invested systems is an ongoing challenge. This is often new territory for most companies and they struggle holistically to get their arms around how best to tackle this disruptive change. Not to mention the evolving global regulatory and compliance landscape.
“You'd be surprised how many mission critical things still run on a mainframe,” Sinni comments. “Yes, these systems are known to be reliable but also a major barrier to new opportunities and often very expensive. Not to mention those folks are retiring, and those skill sets are going away fast. The question today is how we fix that in a way that doesn't break the bank and increase risk, yet drives the agility and the new opportunities all companies want to accelerate. You need to have domain expertise on both sides of the coin here to win.
“That is digital integration, and that's where we are right now. That's what's painful, that's what's hard. That's what can be expensive and high risk. And to achieve that, you need an experienced partner. At Eviden, we can be your trusted partner in this journey end-to-end.”
However, as Sinni warns, there is no “silver bullet solution” when it comes to digital integration.
“Lift and shift something into the cloud is arguably straightforward,” he says, “but making that work with low toil, making it compliant, and making it tie into the hermitage systems with low friction is very, very hard.”
The five ‘S’s of migrating from legacy platforms
When it comes to migrating from legacy platforms, digital transformation or strategic innovation, Sinni describes the five ‘S’s: speed to market, stability, security, scalability, and savings. As he explains, technology for the sake of technology should be avoided.
“The first S is speed to market. Can you get to the market faster than your competitors? Can you use technology as a competitive weapon?
“The second,” he adds, “is stability. There are a lot of challenges in technology around the stability of systems. They're often duct-taped together... When things are unstable, customers can't get into systems, things don't work well. You must have consistent and reliable platform stability at scale.
The third is advanced security postures. “Security has to be the cornerstone,” Sinni explains. “Companies don't tend to exist when they're breached and trust is compromised.
“The fourth thing is scalability. Can you meet your customer's demand at scale? You need cloud-like scalability, you need elastic services around that. You need resilient automation of those things to be able to scale, to meet the demands so that you can continue to service your customer’s needs.
“And, then, last is really savings,” he explains. “Ultimately, there's always an investment or sometimes they pay for themselves. If you do rapid smaller projects, you get success and you build on top of that - it becomes infectious in an organization. Business funding becomes more accessible. That's ideally the approach - to have things pay for themselves by earning the right to the next phase and continuality winning as a team.
Key to all of this is using technology based on business outcomes. “If you don't have those five S's, then you probably shouldn’t move forward with certain initiatives,” Sinni asserts. “There are pieces of technology everywhere, but it doesn't make sense unless it accelerates your business. Tech tinkering without the support and collaboration of the business is often a fool's errand.”
Partnerships: the importance of co-innovation
Working with companies like Google, Microsoft, VMware, Eviden benefits from its relationships with a number of large and small partners. One such partnership, with ByzGen, is particularly special.
FALKOR – ByzGen's Blockchain platform – streamlines data exchange by empowering decision-makers with a safe and secure process to share sensitive information.
Blockchain is often aligned with only cryptocurrency, which has seen its share of hype and fraud these past years. But as Sinni explains, thinking of blockchain as an infrastructure and a decentralised ecosystem can be very powerful and can solve important enterprise challenges.
“ByzGen’s FALKOR platform is built for system integrators like Atos/Eviden,” Sinni explains. “Our partnership with ByzGen is a perfect example of why it is important to work with a proven partner who understands how they can help you as a progressive digital transformation partner.
“We'll give them use cases, they give us use cases, and we iterate on that together. We have trust together built through successful projects with our clients. We'll go to market with them, they'll go to market with us, and we co-innovate together to be able to drive these outcomes with our clients. ByzGen is also part of our Eviden and Atos innovation programs that we call Scaler and Horizons.
“It's a very special relationship; it's one that's been very successful, and we're going to continue to build on that with Eviden.”
The role of AI and Web3 technologies
With the accelerated capabilities of AI taking off in recent years, this topic will continue to dominate as organisations learn more about how they can harness its potential.
“There are some amazing use cases that are coming out – banks and firms and institutions are already modifying their operating models to utilise AI,” Sinni comments. “Those use cases are going to expand as the models become more intelligent and integration will be critical to success. I also think that there's going to be some consolidation in fintechs, which could be an opportunity for Eviden.”
Sinni also predicts that usage of Web3 technologies like blockchain and IoT technology will continue to increase. “Juvenile crypto projects and fraud will decrease and successful projects with true utility will be further advanced given strong developer and user communities,” he says. “Financial services companies are already using blockchain as digital asset infrastructure. But blockchain can also be used as customer loyalty solutions to create new opportunities, democratise data, and enhance brand loyalty. The convergence of these new technologies, use cases and challenges is exciting to be a part of.”
Fundamentally, when it comes to regulation, taking a balanced approach is key so as to not impede innovation but provide proper guard rails. “AI will be one of the most disruptive technologies in many industries and as a society we need to ensure its nefarious capabilities are mitigated,” Sinni asserts. “If we can do that, we will unlock these new possibilities that will be driving the next amazing discoveries and opportunities.
“Those things excite me, and that's going to be happening at a rapid pace. The digital content and breakthroughs will be built from a lot of these newer technologies. It will be one hell of a ride!”
The future of Eviden
As Sinni explains, the near future will be one of promoting and proselytising Eviden as the business launches.
“We're going to be showcasing all of these really cool digital projects, evangelising them and innovating with customers to help them accelerate their digital ambitions,” he says. “I'm really happy to be part of that because, in the past six or seven months, we have worked hard to assemble the right teams and go-to-market - we're more than ready to go.
“I have an amazing global team; we're all very passionate in our domains, to work with our customers and build some amazing outcomes, but just as important, to get involved in some really great partnerships. I'm super pumped to help build Eviden!
“It's going to be super busy,” he concludes. “It's going to be a lot of fun. It's going to be a little chaotic, but I think we're all going to benefit – especially our clients.”