Paolo Del Noce
CEO BU France
Could you please introduce yourself and describe your role at AKKA?
I’m Paolo De Noce, I started working at AKKA in 2014 and I’m currently the CEO of AKKA BU France.
What would you say digital transformation means for today’s business leaders?
I think digital transformation is one of the biggest challenges our industry has been facing for decades. Our customers are adding a lot of new services and innovations powered by new technologies to their products. Of course they continue to develop cars, aircraft, trains, and so on. Now they also develop additional features and services, which result in the creation of vast amounts of data, that will then need to be managed and enhanced. This is really new and dealing with this data optimally requires a completely different range of skillsets than before.
Our relationship with our customers is also evolving as their needs evolve. We are complementing our legacy skills in mechanical engineering, design, embedded system etc., with IT and digital skills. We need to have both to get us to where we need to be, as we now operate in a new market which is in the middle of “legacy” engineering and IT engineering.
AKKA is one of the few service companies with these unique hybrid skillsets, which boosts our ability to drive the digital transformation of our customers. Naturally, we have accelerated our own transformation to reinforce our positioning to address these evolving trends and needs.
As CEO of BU France, what strategies are you implementing to enhance the digital transformation at AKKA?
The strategies are multiple and rely on several pillars, starting with the repositioning our internal competencies. As such, we launched an ambitious reskilling program to train our consultants on new competencies, new skills, new technologies. We have reskilled 500 engineers so far, and we are confident that number will rise to about 1,000 by the end of the year.
Secondly, to enhance the digital transformation, we obviously need to transform our go to market. This second strategy is split into two parts. Firstly, here again it is about transforming the skills of our Business Managers. To date, 70 Business Managers have already followed a training course to develop their skills in selling digital offers, and our ambition is to train all of our 300 Business Managers within the next few quarters. We also need to recruit people; new business managers with different backgrounds, with experience in IT business companies, who know what it takes to sell IT offers.
These actions put together will enable us to convince our customers that we are the right partner to work with on their digital transformation needs. In doing so we need to take into account the fact that some of our customers are dealing with new areas of engineering, of innovation, with new technologies, and they count on us to accompany them on this journey. They trust us, as they have for years, when developing their products.
Automotive and aerospace are the two largest sectors in BU France. How do you think new digital skills drive transformation in those sectors?
Digital skills will drive transformation in many ways. Automotive and aerospace represent a significant weight in our business mix and are both facing headwinds currently. However, it does not mean that investments in those sectors have come to a complete stop. Of course, while there aren’t many new programs being developed, the industrial players continue to invest in their transformation.
Many industrial players are working on the transformation of their factories and need partners to digitalize their production. For example, the aeronautics companies are looking to build aircraft in a quicker and cheaper manner but are lacking manufacturing engineering skills. They need to invest in the digital continuity from product development to after-sales assistance, for example by using a single 3D System through the entire product life-cycle. They’re currently not doing that, and AKKA can help them in developing some of these solutions, that would result in cost efficiencies for them.
In one such instance, we leveraged our internal competencies to create a new offer in manufacturing engineering to develop a system named 3D Jump. This system allows the user to display all the characteristics of each component of a product without using heavy hardware. We used this system in the development of Airbus Beluga, the big aircraft the company uses to move aircraft parts across Europe. Our solutions brought huge costs benefits, to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros to Airbus.
In the automotive sector, OEMs are facing a huge need to accelerate the transition to electric and autonomous cars. On top of the usual skillsets required to build a car, they need new competencies to develop batteries, software to manage these batteries as well as enhanced connectivity. In addition, they need to have connected after-sales services if ever the client needs to manage a fleet of vehicles.
For all these types of offers, you need both legacy competencies and new competencies. AKKA is putting all that together to address the evolving needs of its customers, in a way that’s more efficient than ever.