opinion | Presidential: Data management should be part of the debate

By Fabrice Haccoun (General Manager France in charge of Keyrus Development and Operations)

While we are evolving in a world where large public and private organizations need to transform their models to meet new economic, environmental and social challenges, the exploitation and valuation of data effectively is proving, however, eminently strategic. . It is even one of the pillars of our sovereignty. It’s not enough to declare yourself a Start-up Nation, create labels, or feel proud of a few tech nuggets called unicorns to make France a nation of the future.

Badly mastered topic at the highest level

We have embarked on an intangible industrial revolution: that of data, which is at the heart of the transformation of economic and social models around the world. To generate additional business, reduce costs, improve processes, but also fight fraud and terrorism, mastery of data is essential. Its assessment is as easy to understand as it is strategic. Everything must now be done so that our organizations and institutions are able to harness the power of digital technology.

Therefore, the question of sovereignty arises. How can we imagine the year 2022 to let such a crucial element for economic life and that of people in general be managed by non-European actors? When we learn that the DGSI uses US analytical systems to manage its data, we understand how badly the subject is mastered, and this, at the highest level.

We break the silos

It is true that we have a digital ministry, but it acts in a silo, unrelated to others, while its influence should irrigate all public decisions. Take the example of education. Although algorithmic science becomes predominant, we can only observe a real regression in the level of mathematics students. If tomorrow we have no one to program algorithms, France will be reduced in an essential area and, above all, dependent on foreign powers. The threat is serious. The Prime Minister’s reflection this weekend on the possibility of reintegrating mathematics into the common ground of first and last year lessons therefore seems at least right! It’s even a little late, because in this field you have to “train” the mind from a very young age.

Especially because we have all the potential in France: the best engineering schools, the best training. Here, too, things need to be improved, and in particular the conditions of exchange between universities and the economic world, to provide the market with the vital and operational forces that our companies so desperately need.

We develop innovation in our country!

At the same time, it is essential to create an environment conducive to innovation to help our companies fight on an equal footing against their foreign competitors. Our top engineers and designers must want to do business in France. How many Snowflakes and Shopmium, two thriving French-created digital companies now developing under the American flag, will we have to “deplore” even before we react? And we eliminate this argument that, as a superpower, the United States has more means than France to support innovation. Israel, a young country with a population of 7 million, now has 140 companies listed on the Nasdaq, when our country has only 3!

Similarly, as we are a Jacobin and centralizing country, the administration tends to close its doors to innovative French SMEs and ETIs. It is time to intervene to combat this phenomenon that establishes an unfair system and a distortion of competition. We need to loosen the administrative and ideological shackles to release energy. It also means entrusting the political responsibility of data subjects to those who truly understand their pros and cons. Digital means 500,000 jobs created each year in France and 8% growth! So what are we waiting for?

All areas affected

As we did with nuclear power to achieve energy independence in the 1970s, we are now launching a grand digital plan. Let’s be clear, all areas are affected. For example, there will be no ecological revolution or improvement in hospital care without data. If we want to move forward, it is clear that we will have to take our hands and put the media in the right place, and that starts with awareness at the highest level in the state. So, yes, there are reasons to worry about the total absence of this issue in the presidential campaign, because while our candidates are hesitant, as in the Byzantine Empire, about the sex of the angels, companies around the world patent life and assume a right to the processing of our data with the immeasurable and disturbing power that this gives them over our lives.

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