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Thursday, September 27, 2018

R&D Forces Shaping A New World Order: Altran's Fabrice Boyer at Exec Forum

September 26, 2018. Shanghai – As part of the Executive Forum series, CEIBS today welcomed Altran China & East Asia CEO Fabrice Boyer to our Shanghai campus today to deliver a special lecture entitled “R&D Forces Shaping a New World Order.” In opening the session, Boyer explained that with the development of new technologies, people now rely more on mobile and other intelligent devices such as smartphones, tablets, and smart home systems, to facilitate the efficiency of daily life and lead more convenient, easy, and enriched lives.
Research and development, along with technological innovation, are often crucial factors in the survival of a company due to fierce competition and the evolving preferences of consumers. In a global industrial landscape things change quickly and firms must continually focus on core competencies that demonstrate the value of the company and the brand. Moreover, Boyer points out that companies need to realise that R&D is shaping a new world order in several ways.
First, by engaging in R&D, a company can further integrate and extend its product portfolio to premium market niches to meet different customers’ preferences and previously unmet needs. High technology can also help shorten development time required for new products. In the auto industry, for example, this was, on average, 51 months in 1990, but dropped to 14 months by 2015. This type of change could largely increase a company’s productivity and lower overall costs.
Second, statistics show that the value of software as part of the brand experience is booming. For automobile-related equipment and medical devices, for example, value increased from 15% to 55% and 65%, respectively, between 2012 and 2016. This trend has brought about more cross-sector cooperation, provided better customer user experience, and boosted overall economic development. All businesses are now going digital. In the automotive industry alone, Boyer claims that new digital services will represent 20% of overall revenue by 2030.
In driving technological breakthroughs in industries such as aerospace, automotive, artificial intelligence, telecom, and medicine, R&D steers us towards future-oriented, longer-term activities, and a more fantastic and brilliant world. In general, a positive correlation has been found between R&D and firm productivity across all sectors. Boyer also points out that the success of R&D depends on the talent of millions of cultivated engineering graduates worldwide. Moreover, the practices and innovations of experts have been shown to be more significant than how much money a department receives, which in turn suggests that companies need to focus their best resources on rare expertise or technology accelerators.
Last but not least, Boyer emphasises the importance of collaboration, engagement in partnerships, and ecosystems in accessing technologies. In the information age, companies, especially those in the automotive industry, are collaborating more to make themselves more diversified and competitive. 85% of executives agree that the digital ecosystem will generate more revenue in the automotive value chain than the car will itself. China is embracing this technological trend and encouraging innovation vigorously. Under strict regulations on carbon dioxide emissions, R&D seems even more necessary and urgent for all countries.
As for Altran, Boyer says with confidence, the firm is active in most engineering domains, particularly in electronics and IT technology. In 2018, Altran announced its "The High Road, Altran 2022" plan. This plan includes an ambitious 14.5% profit margin and 4 billion euros in turnover by 2022 by betting on technological breakthroughs.

Iris Wan
Thede, Michael Donald