Sanofi has launched a digital accelerator

Gathered in front of the press at the group’s headquarters in Paris on Wednesday, June 8, Sanofi unveiled its transformation plan. The opportunity to officially launch Accelerator, a branch of the company operating as a start-up.

The result Nandito. “Our competitors are ahead of us. We have to change ”, confessed Arnaud Robert, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of Sanofi, at the group’s headquarters located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. The company is therefore no longer skipping to catch up with its digital innovation. “We have a way”, the Canadian leader assured, however remains secretive on the numbers. “All large companies in the pharmaceutical industry are in the same percentage of IT investments.”

This global approach will affect a large part of group activity. “We are aligned with Sanofi’s pay-to-win strategy,” Arnaud Robert said. It is based on the four pillars that are growth, innovation, efficiency and method of manufacture. This will result in the contribution of data and AI to research and development, the digitization of industrial processes or operational efficiency. Agility is also making its debut at Sanofi. “It’s bringing about a very powerful cultural change. We think it will create a unique opportunity,” the CDO said, adding that nearly 16,000 people around the world have already received training on this topic.

The start of this huge project coincided with the arrival of Arnaud Robert in June 2020, from the United States where he worked at Microsoft, Nike and The Walt Disney Company. Since then, many projects have been undertaken. “We deployed in 8 months, a new CRM and marketing system in 18 countries, he said. Sanofi also relied on Microsoft and Amazon to move thousands of servers to the cloud. Many AI-based tools have been implemented to expedite certain R&D analysis or to optimize advertising channels.

The Accelerator, an in-house start-up

“It’s not an incubator, insisted Emmanuel Frenehard, Global Head of Digital Products and head of this Accelerator. Here, ideas are launched and processed until their exploitation is over.” Today, 50 people are part of this group but it is set to grow rapidly. The goal is for 100 employees to be part of the project by the end of the year, with the recruitment of product owners, developers or data analysts. “I repeat in front of my boss, the this goal is difficult to achieve, “he quips in front of Arnaud Robert, adding that 70 people are currently in the recruitment” pipeline “.

Today, there is close parity on the team with 45% women and 55% men of 16 different nationalities. “They’re based in Paris but to serve Sanofi around the world. We’re going to look for talent inside and out,” Emmanuel Frenehard said. A specific partnership program with a primary school will be announced to train Sanofi employees who want to join the project within 4 months.

He also says to “get” profiles from the hottest start-ups like French unicorn Doctolib. Although the Accelerator is an important part of Sanofi, its functionality is very different compared to the multinational. “We work in agile mode. We are structured in teams of 10,” said Emmanuel Frenehard, wearing a black and purple t-shirt, the colors of this project.In connection with a particular operation, the team settled on WeWork co-working space, in the 17th arrondissement of the capital.

“We are focused on the commercial side”, said the group’s digital product manager. In order not to spread, Accelerator chose to work on a topic -specific Dupixent, a drug against severe atopic dermatitis in children. Six digital products are currently underway, “at different maturity”. They are based on data and AI. “The goal is to help identify the disease, but we’re also looking for new ways to engage pediatricians and promote their professions.” The Accelerator is currently focused on three countries: France, Spain and Italy.

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