France has worldwide leaders in civil engineering, luxury goods, aerospace, and nuclear industry for civil and military applications. But when it comes to cyber security editors and public safety technologies, there is usually a tendency to only look for Anglo-Saxon products. Here is why governments and corporations should have a deeper look at the French technologies.
1. French customers are challenging
French large accounts are amongst the toughest to deal with. They have very strict technical requirements coming from the French engineering culture, they have complex and stringent purchase processes because of their size, and they are reluctant to change, another key attribute of the French culture. So, a SME company which manages to go through such hurdles with numerous large French accounts is worthwhile contacting.
2. French independence and engagement
France has allies and also has its own agenda when it comes to its security. It is perhaps now the largest military force in Europe. The French foreign policy is always very involved in all the international organizations. Be involved and remain independent. At the tech level, it is the same thing. The engineers will look for independent ways to solve problems. It is sometimes longer to develop but it really calls for new approaches.
3. Employees have true commitment
Workers in the French private sector are usually hard workers and have a clear commitment to their company. Such involvement is important for tech companies because customers need to be in relation with committed technicians with deep understanding of their needs and extensive know-how on the technologies sold.
4. French companies have to export
France is a medium size country. Its high-tech companies cannot afford to only rely on France. Their foreign customers are thus essential to their success. Such dependency toward exportations provides some power to the foreign customers, who can influence the roadmap and obtain true commitment from the French companies.
5. Innovation at the heart of SMEs
Easy to say: SMEs are known to innovate more than their larger counterparts. But, the French ones seem to be special. Indeed, in 2015, Cisco and Microsoft, two huge American high-tech corporations, decided to invest more than 100M$ each in French start-ups.
6. Cooperation and clusters create value
Rapid development comes from leadership, innovation and collaboration between the stakeholders. France has a long tradition of creating cooperative bodies. It is also the case in cybersecurity and public safety. Just to name a few organizations: Hexatrust (+25 editors in cyber security), EDEN (200 SME in Defense and Public Safety), MEITO (200 companies in Electronics, Defense and Cyber in Brittany), etc. Most of these companies work together when it comes to meet larger needs.
7. Governance and ownership
Most of the SMEs belong totally or partially to their management. There is very little room for the agent-principal conflict. The managers have less tendency to quit after a few years. There decisions and actions have direct impact on their wealth. So, they have no choice to be hands-on and committed to fulfill their engagement towards their customers on a long term basis.
8. Strategic infrastructures operators are strongly regulated when it comes to security
France was the first in the world to vote a law to protect its vital infrastructure from cyber-attacks. It was included in a military program law in 2013. It shows the level of awareness and commitment at the highest level of the country. Other countries are now releasing laws and regulations for information sharing and IT security enhancement (EU, US, etc.).
9. Certifications in France are done by the book
In France, laws and regulations are paramount. So, when it comes to certifications, qualifications, and compliance controls, the French companies find some of the toughest control process in the world. It is long, expensive and technically very challenging. So, when a high-tech company has a security certificate from France, is really deserves it.
10. France face important security challenges
France is one of the very few nations with more than 5 simultaneous overseas military operations in parallel. It faces huge challenges within its borders after a catastrophic year 2015 in terms of terrorist attacks. The country is also one of the major targets for cybercriminals. Thus, the French authorities have developed appropriate answers and regularly challenge local high tech companies to help them secure the country and the economy.
By Charles D’Aumale, Founder of Trust & Tech which was launched in 2015 and provides two types of services:
- for High tech companies: marketing, sales, and strategy consulting
- for Funds and VCs: technology reviews and portfolio analysis
- for Corporations: cyber security, digital and telecommunications strategy
- Cyber security
- Public safety
- Homeland security
The opinions expressed by guest bloggers are their views and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Corix Partners.