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At the end of 2013, the transport group set up a “performance department” to which the business lines in particular are attached, but also the entire IT department, which includes the development, support and infrastructure teams. To carry out an SOA project, the entire IT department is called upon. And in order to maintain the existing during the work, a “realistic” two-year schedule was put in place. As for disruptive innovations, they are entrusted to a separate entity: the Transdev Digital Factory.

Yann Leriche – Transdev Performance Director

What is your digital transformation project?

Yann Leriche: We have an ambitious program to transform Transdev ‘s IT architecture into SOA – service-oriented architecture. We are an international group, present in some twenty countries on five continents. And today, our IT architecture is largely decentralized, which is not always optimal.

For example, it is difficult to share a digital innovation from one country to another. Our IT solutions are designed as integrated, non-modular packages that meet the local needs of the entity developing it. It is difficult for another country to get this work. Because it costs as much to unravel the solution as to develop a new service from scratch.
We now want to develop modular solutions, with each module available as an API (Application Programming Interface). These APIs will be collected in a catalog available internationally on the group’s IT infrastructure. This project begins in 2016 and we are giving ourselves two years to complete it.

As Performance Director, you will manage all of the group’s IT departments within the IT Department. How do you organize the collaboration between these teams?

YL : Our IT department is divided into three main departments: IT infrastructure, application development (research department) and support. Our SOA project concerns the entire IT department, so we make sure that all teams work closely together.
Of course, the performance and availability of our information system must be maintained during the work. This is ensured by the same teams working on the SOA project. But in order not to overload them with work, and therefore with pressure, we have given ourselves a realistic timeframe of two years to complete this project. This allows them to organize themselves to maintain the existing while working, step by step, on the SOA project.

Have you had to deal with tensions or even clashes between the “build” and “run” teams?

YL : No, because we have a very good CIO!
I think that the tensions and oppositions you mention are often linked to people and management issues. In a digital transformation project, it is of course necessary to ensure that all the teams concerned are brought into the loop, so that their needs and constraints are taken into account throughout the project. This is achievable with a CIO with real leadership and with teams that communicate.
To facilitate exchanges, our entire IT department is gathered in the same physical location. Secondly, it is a matter of communication. We don’t have any conflicts within ISD, but there are many debates. For example, we ask ourselves many questions around the cloud and our thoughts are fed by feedback from both the infrastructure and the research department.

In the summer of 2015, Transdev also created its Digital Factory, an in-house incubator for disruptive digital innovations. How does this new entity facilitate the work of the IT department in your SOA project?

YL: It relieves the IT department of the most innovative developments, especially those that are not related to our core business. The Transdev Digital Factory is in fact a project incubator dedicated to disruptive innovations. About fifteen people work on very innovative projects, with management and development methods of the start-up type.

We decided not to put the Digital Factory under the responsibility of the IT department so that it could benefit from maximum agility in its projects. It is working on a separate IT infrastructure. While the Digital Factory is developing a project with a global scope, there is a transfer to the IT department for the operational management of this new service. The IT department will work in particular on security and compatibility of the service with our other solutions.
In the end, the Digital Factory teams are our scouts. They work on projects at a very early stage, which may or may not lead to an innovation taken over by the group. But this weight of disruptive innovation does not weigh on the CIO.