© Crédit Agricole Atlantique Vendée

With the approach of the Digital Director’s Night on 21 June, the Head of Digital at Crédit Agricole Atlantique Vendée looks back on his roadmap.

JDN. What is your most innovative project in 2016?

© Crédit Agricole Atlantique Vendée

Victor Bernard, Head of Digital Development at Crédit Agricole Atlantique Vendée. © Crédit Agricole Atlantique Vendée

Victor Bernard. We have relied on the employees of the regional fund that are developing an appetite for digital technology to set up reverse mentoring. This may not seem very innovative as many companies are doing it. But we started this initiative with management, including the CEO and the President. A total of ten members of the Executive Board held informal discussions on topics we had listed. This project was successful because they were able to ask questions they didn’t necessarily dare to ask or were comforted on certain ideas. The employees were able to see how the management was working and therefore got closer to it. Once this test was validated, we offered the 40 senior managers of the regional fund to participate on a voluntary basis. In the end, 28 were present. They themselves determined the themes to be addressed. Some traded once, others more than five times.

And the most strategic for your group?

We conducted a major project that began in 2015 and continued until the beginning of this year. It has two components. The first is the implementation of a new agency concept. We wanted to adapt the furniture of our 200 points of sale to the expectations of our customers by installing more wifi, digital tools, dynamic displays… Our employees also swapped their individual offices for an open space. This provision made it possible to speed up the digitisation of working methods since the exchange of good practice was more natural. In addition, having an open branch allows you to be visible to customers. Their feedback has been very positive. The second part was to review our distribution model. On the one hand, we are experiencing a 7% annual decline in attendance. On the other hand, we are facing an intensification of the relationship with our customers via digital channels such as email. We have opened a chat on the site and are working on a video conferencing project.

How have you transformed Crédit Agricole Atlantique Vendée since your arrival?

At the end of the year, all of the projects we are working on will be dispatched to the following departments

Since 2013, there has been a desire to create a digital structure and to centralize resources. Several actions were being carried out but they were neither coordinated nor prioritized. And no one was acting as a control tower. Some topics were even left out due to lack of resources and technical expertise. I arrived in 2014 to set up a digital entity of about twenty people, determine the scope of this team, define and implement a roadmap. We decided at that time to create an ephemeral structure. The team created in 2015 will be disbanded in 2017. We believe that digital should be everywhere and should not be in the hands of a centralized team. The main advantage of an ephemeral structure is that the investment in energy required from the regional fund and more specifically from the digital team is completely different from that of a structure registered in the hard core. In three years, we have had a constant sense of urgency, a stimulus that has led us to act quickly and shorten the decision-making and project implementation circuits. At the end of the year, all the projects we are working on will be dispatched to the departments. For example, since reverse mentoring was validated and implemented, the training department has been brought into the loop. He is now in charge of pursuing the initiative with senior managers.

How important is data to Crédit Agricole Atlantique Vendée? How do you use it in your projects?

In 2017, we will set up a data management platform in order to cross-reference data from our different channels.

In the bank, data is key. We have a lot of it, but we can’t necessarily exploit it. Either because it is not necessarily exploitable or because we do not take the time to value it. There has been a growing awareness of this issue for several years because we need to be more proactive towards our clients and more relevant in the offers we make to them. We have a data centre management business unit that works on data for all 39 regional mutuals. We are therefore fortunate to have a precise vision of the Crédit Agricole Group’s target. In 2017, we will set up a data management platform to cross-reference data from our different channels.

How has your action enabled Crédit Agricole Atlantique Vendée to continue its digital transformation in 2016?

We set our roadmap for 2015. The projects planned for 2016 were therefore already scheduled. However, we continued with the projects that we did not have time to finish. Especially the one on human capital, which took longer than expected as it concerns 2,200 employees and 1,000 directors. It’s not easy to get everyone moving. I have also carried out new projects in 2016, knowing that I make very regular assessments of the digital actions in progress. Every year, we update our roadmap to clarify the roles of the various regional caisse services and prepare for the end of the structure. In 2016, the digital team consisted of about 20 people, it now has 15.

For the third consecutive year, the JDN will be holding an event on 21 June to reward the best chief digital officers in France. Read more:Digital Director’s Night.