Francois D’Anselme (ATOS): The ATOS journey has evolved from ZeroEmail over Social Collaboration to Well Being at Work!

As one of our international case studies we are proud to have Francois D’Anselme, Head of Social Collaboration & Knowledge Sharing at Atos, speaking at the IOM SUMMIT. He is part of the internal transformation initiative at ATOS that started with the overall well-perceived „ZeroEmail“ campaign and then embarked towards a more profound culture shift at Atos. At IOM SUMMIT Francois will give an overview of the „journey“ – as he characterizes the initiative at Atos. For our IOM SUMMIT interview series he has answered some questions in advance.


1. Francois – you are speaking at our IOM SUMMIT on Sept 30 in Cologne about the latest update of the social collaboration practices and the transformation of work at ATOS. What are the three tags that you can label your talk with?

I am very honored by your invitation to the Cologne IOM Summit. I remember that previous Enterprise 2.0 Summit editions were very inspiring for me and source of knowledge sharing from experts and digital leaders.

The 3 tags that I wish to highlight during my talk will be the following:

#ZeroEmail TM: by creating a strong sense of urgency such as “Zero Email™ ambition, desired by our CEO Thierry Breton in 2011, we alerted and stimulated in-depth enterprise cultural changes.

Atos recognized that email was a key hurdle for collaborative transformation. And the replacement of internal emails with collaborative technologies has resulted in a profound cultural shift at Atos. The working culture has evolved from one based on hierarchies and command-and-control to a more open environment in which all employees and leaders can engage with each other more quickly and easily thanks to many online communities.

Reducing internal email was a “big plus” for employees who were suffering from email overload, from now Social Collaboration is our key objective unleashing significant winnings by :

  • creating added value and more revenue
  • increasing project team productivity
  • accelerating our sales time to market
  • improving our customer satisfaction
  • generating collective innovation and ideation

We are taking advantage of a new connected team culture and our goal is to generalize this culture for all Atos current and future businesses.

Social Collaboration transformation demands big commitment and continuous big investment internally. And we see that it’s our best catalyst an asset for Atos digital transformation .

As a consequence, we strengthened our Wellbeing at Work initiatives, because there is a positive correlation between collaboration productivity and employee engagement.

2. In 2013 there was quite some media coverage about the Zero Email program at ATOS. What have been the results? Did ATOS succeed in eliminating emails?

Our aim was to change and improve the way we work so we are more collaborative and efficient, at the same time tackling this email overload and freeing up time for our employees to spend on projects.
Atos Zero EmailTM initiative was very ambitious and we are still impressed with the way everyone within the company has responded to the challenge to radically change our way of working and the progress we have made together – in three years we have reduced internal emails by 70% (from 100 internal emails per week in 2011 to 30 emails in 2014 in average). Reducing internal email are a great outcome from better use of collaborative tools and new behaviors.

3. What is the follow-up of the Zero Email program? Have you completed your transformation journey?

Our Digital transformation journey continues and our focus is now on further unlocking Social Collaboration business potential to the benefit of our clients, employees and investors.
Honestly transforming towards a collaborative enterprise is a long term marathon. Not really a “journey” without goal, but a kind of “relay race” in which we regularly welcome newcomers.
Over the past 3 years, we have laid a solid foundation to now reap the benefits of our efforts and increasingly we are using the right tools for the right job; from our social business network blueKiwi to Sharepoint for document management, Lync for communication, online meetings and chat and e-mail for external contacts and formal communications.

4. What have been or still are the biggest challenges for transformation process at ATOS?

We have made good progress to become a truly social and collaborative business. Our current challenges are mainly to:

  • Increase community engagement. 97,000 employees are now organized into 7500 communities of which 40 % are considered fully collaborative (achieving 3 KPIs of 5) . These communities can be cross-departmental, permanent, or temporary. They can focus on projects – bringing together disparate team members, services providing a social discussion platform to solve problems faster than ever before, or what we call “ideation” – uncovering ideas and suggestions to improve the way we work. The next step is to ensure communities are all healthy and animated, and working together in communities becomes our natural way of working.
  • Move from a traditional hierarchy based organization to a collaborative, community led organization. Without the limitations of country borders or business unit silos, we are bringing together very diverse teams to unlock our creative and innovation power for a successful future business.
    In this continuity, we are simplifying our leadership model to become more agile, customers communities oriented, fully networked and Digital compatible organization; mainly because high number of our knowledge workers are moving from a traditional pyramidal model to a collaborative networked community model with less complexity and more crowd collaboration

5. ATOS is a case study with a strong top management buy-in for the initiative by your CEO Thierry Breton. Was this reason enough for your senior management to immediately support the transformation process? Or what else has been done to get the senior management in line with the objectives of the initiative?

In addition to the shared ambition to reduce our emails pollution, we have implemented many changes and internal communications initiative’s to address some confusions, middle management resistance or fears.
Our change strategy was mainly to :

  1. Educate the organization about why we need to change and how culture is changed in order to gather support for cultural change across the organization (5000 managers completed dedicated training for leadership in a collaborative environment)
  2. Develop a comprehensive communications and training plan that includes all the cultural levers that create change across the organization (we promoted company values in dedicated campaign and also fun training personas videos)
  3. Enhance employee engagement, by applying effective change management principles by involving employees in the change process; (we record email addict testimonies stories to recognize their challenges and path to liberation)
  4. Mobilize senior leaders to be accountable for the Collaborative culture they create in their areas with dedicated bonus targets (first target with their own social network usages and second target with their community health achievements)

The key success factor is especially to start with strong Change influencer’s network with support of few seniors’ leaders to create business exemplarity.

6. What are the future plans for the initiative?

To accelerate our Communities way of working, unleashing significant benefits and cultural changes. For the management this Future of Work will go through cultural adaptation to Digital trends like the rise of authenticity, transparency, crowd-collaboration, flexibility , less bureaucracy, and an effective leadership by exemplary.

7. We have invited you to share your lessons learned at IOM SUMMIT in Cologne as one of our international case study. What are your expectations?

Firstly share our Atos story, how it was unique in term of process and scale of transformation, generating many community success stories.

Secondly listen to others testimonials and case studies from company leaders and digital experts which help us to understand the future of work challenges.

We are very much looking forward to the participation of Francois D’Anselme at the IOM SUMMIT. If you are interested in the agenda and the attendance at this unique learning experience – don’t miss to save you ticket now!

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