Building your data ecosystem with French solutions

Webinar Empirik Building your data ecosystem with French solutions

With the current health crisis, many people have started looking into the benefits of relocating strategic industries to Europe. But what about the data and digital marketing sectors – both of which are highly dependent on the US tech giants? Here are the views of four leading French players in the data sector: AB Tasty, AT Internet, Commanders Act and Reeport. 

The dangers of the GAFA monopoly 

The GAFA have successfully invaded and colonised the European digital sector, particularly in the data value chain. In the process, they have made many companies dependent on their tools.  

Here are the risks of US monopolies for Europe and its citizens – and why it’s vital to relocate the data. 

The Internet was designed to be open and decentralised. The GAFA’s objective is to close off the entire digital ecosystem around their offers.

Mathieu Llorens, AT Internet 

Mathieu Llorens, CEO of AT Internet, explains how the GAFA monopoly is an insidious problem – “Data is the raw material of the economy, and we leave the majority of this data intelligence (marketing, customer knowledge, etc.) in the hands of the GAFA. It is important to remember that the Internet was designed to be open and decentralised, and the GAFA’s objective is to close off the entire digital ecosystem around their respective offers. Google made its position perfectly clear during the implementation of the GDPR. The US company refuses to accept any responsibility in its general terms and conditions, it enforces its terms and conditions and passes on the responsibility of the related consent to its customers. And its approach is ‘take it or leave it’.” 

Digitalisation is not a neutral topic. It is at the centre of major societal, economic and political issues. 

Michael Froment, Commanders Act 

According to Michael Froment, CEO of Commanders Act, there is a possible danger to the security of states and companies if the data is no longer circulating due to potential political issues.  
“Digitalisation is not a neutral topic… It is at the centre of strong societal, economic and political issues (protection of privacy, freedom of the press, democracy, etc.). All of our businesses in the data sector rely on data-based decision support. If they are no longer controlled or if their access is blocked, the danger for our economy is real.” 

Rémi Aubert, president and co-founder of AB Tasty, points out the dominance of some GAFA in specific areas – “Although they have a strong monopoly on advertising for example, there is a distinction between Google, which has all the customer data, and Microsoft, which is more of a technology provider.” 

Etienne Gautheron, product and operations director at Reeport, highlights Google’s role as judge and jury – “The marketer must always have a clear understanding of their provider’s business model. Without transparency, and if we rely simply on figures, we can lose autonomy and decision-making quality.” 

On issue of impartiality, Mathieu Llorens also raises the problem of the statistical bias of Google Analytics – “GA selectively reassigns a share of traffic to itself, encouraging brands to invest more in… Google, while blocking the direct traffic of the biggest advertisers.”

The advantages of Made in France 

With the current crisis, many people have been calling for French and European alternatives to Google and other US publishers. But is the Made in France approach feasible and sustainable for brands that use data and data marketing solutions? 

The main advantage of French solution providers is their high quality.  

Etienne Gautheron, Reeport 

Reeport’s Etienne Gautheron didn’t really see a strong trend for Made in France during this crisis. Nevertheless, he highlights the “general awareness of data protection with the implementation of the GDPR, and the conservation of data in Europe.” He also mentions the need to “listen very specifically to French customers, who want to understand and be involved in their solution provider’s roadmap,” and that “the advantage of French solution providers is their high quality.” 

The customer relationship with French suppliers is different – it is far closer and there is more dialogue.  

Rémi Aubert, AB Tasty 

AB Tasty’s Rémi Aubert doesn’t believe in a Made in France approach to strategic issues other than health and defence – “Made in France does not necessarily win over the customer… In the field of data, we must first compete on a technological level.” He explains that “the advantages of the AB Tasty personalisation solution are that it can provide both quantitative and qualitative analyses (which its US competitors do not necessarily do)… There is also a different customer relationship when it comes from a French or European player, which is far closer and involves more dialogue. And the crisis has highlighted these differences with the US players, who tend to put the customer in the background in terms of their direct relationship.” 

Michael Froment points out that the French solutions (mentioned here) are successful and are capable of penetrating international markets. “Made in US is not necessarily a guarantee of superior quality. Obviously, there needs to be an equivalent value proposition in terms of French players’ functionalities – it’s important to note that that some American brands also trust European solutions.” 

If the data is strategic, you cannot work with a biased and one-sided solution.

Mathieu Llorens, AT Internet

“When the data is truly strategic, you cannot work with a biased and one-sided solution. When the entry level is free, you need to position yourself on a more advanced and more qualitative offer which is aimed at mature companies in terms of data use,” explains Mathieu Llorens. “ French players do not have the marketing power of the GAFA – it is not Made in France that makes the difference, and these players can only develop based the quality of their functional offer and their expertise. Only the product can make the difference.” 

The illusion of free access and solution integration 

What is the positioning of French solutions in the face of competition from Google, which offers free and fully integrated tools? 

According to Etienne Gautheron “the free Google Data Studio was not particularly bad news for Reeport. Indeed, it has helped to evangelize the market. 90% of Reeport’s users are former Google Data Studio users. Reeport’s offer is aimed at complex organisations that inevitably have more advanced needs in terms of governance and compliance with legislation, which Google does not meet. The interconnection of data solutions is also an essential requirement and must be very simple, as it is the case today with AT Internet or Content Square. The national or European framework naturally places constraints, but from constraints comes innovation. It is therefore an opportunity to learn how to adapt and be pragmatic in order to address very specific uses.” 

Google’s built-in tools are not up to standard, and that’s why we exist. 

Rémi Aubert, AB Tasty 

For Rémi Aubert, Google’s integrated tools are not up to standard, which is why French solutions are present and gaining market share – “The problem with the free service is that it shifts contract signatures to less mature customers… there is also a need to put human (and therefore financial) resources into a data tool to achieve efficiency. However, if companies do not put resources into the tool, they will not put them into the human resources. When it comes to integration, it is the role of players such as AB Tasty, AT Internet, etc. to make it as fluid and simple as possible.” 

Free access often leads to a problem of data ownership.  

Mathieu Llorens, AT Internet 

Mathieu Llorens explains that “as far as the analytical part is concerned, being free of charge is relative. The Google Premium service (offer equivalent to AT Internet’s), for small audience volumes, is 10 times more expensive. In other words, you need to have a solid basis for comparison. The free service also leads to a problem of ownership of the data. In its general conditions, Google mentions that it can reuse the data for its own purposes, which is contrary to the entire spirit of GDPR.” He highlights that “free access is often only temporary in order to ensnare the user in a closed ecosystem and destroy any competition before imposing a paid solution. Take the example of Google Maps, which wiped out most of its competitors with an almost free offer, before multiplying its prices by 50 in a few weeks. As for the integration of Google tools, when it excludes third party tools, it raises a legal problem of vertical integration, which is called abuse of dominant position.” 

According to Michael Froment, the technical integration of French solutions is not even an issue – “Technically, the interconnections are already simple and efficient. The main challenge is to make these connectors known to users. It is therefore more of a marketing challenge than a technological one.” 

The end of cookies? 

With the announced end of cookies on Chrome, Google is threatening the data players who use them in their technologies. It promises to be able to combine paths and measure conversion with an alternative to cookies. However, are there any particular concerns?

Google’s strategy is to monopolise the information it is simply supposed to organise.   

Michael Froment, Commanders Act 

“The market is gradually shrinking,” explains Michael Froment. “First there was a ban on third party cookies on Google’s network, then the deletion of natural keywords in the search engine, and now the removal of the standard cookie. Google’s strategy is basically to gain access to the information that it is simply supposed to organise. The market will probably change with the emergence of players who will want to make the link between the brand’s information (cookies first) and those in the advertising ecosystem (Google and Facebook).” 

On the issue of cookies and to compensate for their removal, Rémi Aubert says “it will be important to work on user intention algorithms. With consumer behaviour being instantaneous, the lack of information for path reconciliation does not necessarily represent a genuine challenge.” 

We are reaching a tipping point, but there are still reasons to be optimistic.

Mathieu Llorens, AT Internet 

Mathieu Llorens talks about a tipping point – “With the end of cookies, data control is about to be entirely in the hands of Google. The American company has managed to hijack the GDPR in favour of its Chrome browser and its logged universes. Nevertheless, there is still reason for optimism, as almost all US states have filed complaints related to these privacy and abuse of dominance issues. The entire digital ecosystem, in France and elsewhere, has an interest in keeping the Internet open and free of cartels, for healthy competition that promotes the development of businesses.”

A brave new world 

How can we reverse the trend of an Internet that is closing down? How will French solutions be able to conquer new market segments? What strategies should be put in place and what can be expected from public policies for the data sector? 

French technology is well developed, but we need to be able to better market our know-how.

Rémi Aubert, AB Tasty 

Rémi Aubert looks at the specific nature of the US market, which is much larger than the European market – “Europe is not sufficiently incorporated in legal and business terms. A global alignment of European markets would be a good basis for the expansion of companies in the digital and data sector. European technology is state-of-the-art, but the point of improvement is in marketing to be able to better sell our know-how.” 

“French companies are well supported by the State,” explains Mathieu Llorens. “I do not expect national economic favouritism, but existing laws should be enforced, especially in terms of international taxation.” 

We need a European label for technology, to unify the market and gain recognition.

Michael Froment, Commanders Act

Michael Froment believes in the establishment of a European label for tech, which would unify the market and ensure that French solutions are recognised in all countries – “The notion of industrial policy and the planning of the tools that are lacking (an alternative to Zoom, for example) must also be brought back to the forefront. In certain areas, Europe is absent, which inevitably leaves room for US alternatives.” 

So, is it possible? 

Is it possible to build a data ecosystem with French solutions? 

For Michael Froment, it is both possible, desirable, and indeed necessary in some cases – “The way in which we communicate about the interconnectivity of solutions is key. The other important point is to have buyers of our French solutions, which would allow us to build a real digital industrial sector.” 

Mathieu Llorens is convinced that the choice of French solutions is safer (for all the reasons mentioned above), and ultimately more economical – “It is also essential to raise awareness and improve communication about connectors between solutions.” 

Etienne Gautheron refers to the diversity of solutions that can meet multiple needs – “The people-centred culture of the French players is necessary and a genuine advantage.” 

To round off, Rémy Aubert underlines the international aspect of the French and European players. “Our strength lies in our ability to address markets all over the world in compliance with legal rules.” 

Article Building your data ecosystem with French solutions first appeared on Digital Analytics Blog.

Source by analyticsweekpick

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