Training, infrastructures, politics, data, innovations ... A BCG study highlights the strengths and
weaknesses of France with regard to digital transformation ...
During the 5th edition of the University of digital technology, the MEDEF, as part of its
commission "Technological changes and societal impacts" chaired by Christian Nibourel, and
the BCG revealed a comprehensive and unprecedented analysis of the digital maturity of
France in todays global competitive economy.
This international study shows that France holds strong positions on several essential
dimensions of digital transformation, but it also reveals real weaknesses ...
The strengths of digital France
This study lists 4 areas in which France ranks among the best in the world:
# 1 - Training
The quality of training of digital talents,with a view in particular to France’s excellent scientific
training courses: France is between 6th and 7th place in the main world rankings;
# 2 - Research
Incentives for research: 20% of businesses R & D is indirectly supported by the government
through incentives, which places France in 3rd position worldwide;
# 3 - Access to data
The availability of public data: according to the OECD, France ranks second in terms of access
to data and third in terms of data availability;
# 4 - Security
State commitment to cybersecurity: France ranks 8th for the Global Cybersecurity Index,
calculated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Weak points to watch out for
France must overcome major weaknesses to stay ahead of the pack before joining the leading
Today, a third of SMEs in France say that digital transformation is not on their agenda this year.
For example, less than one in five companies have adopted Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their
The study shows that there are three main challenges to be met by all political and economic
actors to mobilize and win for the entire French ecosystem:
# 1 - Succeed in keeping your most skilled workers
Although the quality of French training is recognized, the study points to a real quantitative
weakness in terms of digital talent, both for initial training and for continuing training.
The French deficit is estimated at 200,000 people by 2022.
This phenomenon is aggravated by growing desires for expatriation: 76% of French digital
talents would be ready to work abroad, which is nine points higher than the world average.
To retain staff, first actions have been taken (easing of the labor market, "French Tech" visa,
investment plan in skills, draft law Pact), but the battle of brains and skills is just beginning,
regardless of the level of qualification, in a very global digital business market.
# 2 - Facilitate investment
The digitalization of businesses requires access to very highspeed broadband, an essential
issue of regional planning.
While in France, the plan "France Very Broadband" is still incomplete, we must continue the
deployment of fiber and quickly engage 5G.
However, public policies tend to slow investments (competition, productive taxes, license fees).
# 3 - A shy data strategy
On the business side, the report points to a delay in the collection and exploitation of data, due
in particular to a too restrictive application of the legal framework (RGPD in particular).
These constraints weigh in the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications for companies.
The pioneers, who invested early in AI, now have room for maneuver allowing them to
accelerate further and widen the gap: 88% of them have increased their investment AI
compared to last year, against less than two-thirds of the other companies.
In this race against the clock, the United States and China have already spewed: the 20 largest
digital companies are either American or Chinese.
As another example, the United States has 151 unicorns, China 82 and Europe only 34.
Possible pathways for the future
Beyond the purely economic stakes, staying in the leading group is an issue of digital
sovereignty for France.
The authors distinguish three priorities:
Increase by + 60% the talent pool available by 2022;
Evolve the regulations in the telecommunications sector to put in place a competitive policy at
national and European level favoring the investment capacity of operators
Help companies to adopt a data strategy to collect and use data in line with the legal framework,
Article taken from co-marketing news