Perspectives: What is your vision for European Tech in 2021? #3 - European Champions Alliance
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Perspectives: What is your vision for European Tech in 2021? #3

Perspectives: What is your vision for European Tech in 2021? #3

I had the privilege to interview Didier Carré, President of the G9+ Institute, co-founder of the Alliance, we discussed the issues of European tech in 2021. We focused our interrogations around European collaboration, their competitors, the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic among other European issues. I recommend you sincerely to read his interesting perspective.
Emma Neige – Strategic Partnerships and Communication at the ECA

What is your vision for European Tech in 2021?

Regarding European tech lately, companies are engaging a numeric transition moving away from a world where the gap between IT infrastructures and users is enormous.

On one hand, we have large information systems and on the other hand, people only using Microsoft Office or similar desktop software. This is not possible anymore especially since the need to respond to accelerating customers’ demands. Long-term crises such as climate change or short-term crises like the Covid-19 pandemic are forcing companies to be more reactive. In addition, the competition whether it is external or internal through off-shored activities is pressuring for better productivity.

Moreover, the world is getting more dynamic and unpredictable, we cannot exclusively rely on our experience and gut feeling anymore. Educated guesses need to be augmented with data.

Two fundamental things have to happen:

First, people have to raise their awareness of the value of data and learn to respect them. Secondly, we need to bridge the gap between desktop tools and legacy information systems in order to gain productivity and value.

How does Europe stand out in the domain?

Well for now, in terms of knowledge and expertise. We can find people who understand data and maths. Although, it is hard to see the European tech champions shine, especially since the USA is much more appealing than Europe in the domain. We have lost a few battles. For example, the fully autonomous car won’t be European. Is it a problem? Not really because the mobility infrastructure and public transportation systems are much better in Europe than in the USA. European autonomous vehicle development will rely on synergy with the infrastructures and public transport.

Furthermore, Europe stands out if we are able to share our data, if the data is kept secret, it loses all its value. The launch of the European initiative  Gaia-X is impressive, the project consists of a shared data protocol between companies organised in data spaces. Thus, this cooperative infrastructure will help Europe to recover the value of its data from the international “hyperscalers”.

Two things are still missing from Europe’s tech: not seeing BIG enough through worldwide business development for instance, but also weak Merge & Acquisition dynamics compared to the USA.

M&A dominated by the large American banks is a real opportunity for Europe although lacking funding and culture for the growth of the firms. Thus, Europe has to get more ambitious and increase M&A activities.

Europe Tech ecosystem is essentially national (“French” tech) when not local (regional funded “pole de compétitivité) and suffers from an insufficient critical mass compared to American ecosystems. The Alliance objective is to bridge all these valuable regional and national ecosystems across Europe

Creating the Alliance, we were dreaming of giants European Champions, we are building a European ecosystem of passionate entrepreneurs. Our diversity has been a weakness, let’s be our complementarity our strength: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Didier CARRE is president of Mines digital and Institut G9+ and is a member of the executive committee of the Alliance. The Institute is co-founder of the European Champions Alliance.  The “Champions numérique européen co-funded by Roland Berger, BPIfrance, Croissance Plus, and the Institut G9+, has identified 5 “ideas” synthesis of more than 70k contributions in France and Germany. The vote of the audience of the restitution of the campaign on 2021-02-11 has legitimised the creation of the European Champions Alliance.

Andrea Vaugan