SNCF has [selected] the French software company Saaswedo to streamline management of its entire mobile fleet of mobile phones, tablets and other connected devices, numbering over 100,000 mobile devices and SIM cards. SNCF shared with us why the selected Saaswedo and what it found most compelling about this Small Medium Business (SMB)and how this decision has improved its telecom and device operations.
SNCF is famous for its 30,000 km of railway lines providing nationwide coverage in France for the 2 billion passengers who pass through its stations every year … probably fewer for its mobile communication system, although it is one of the biggest in France, with over 100,000 mobile devices deployed for its three industrial and commercial business units. Managing the SNCF telecom system has become quite a challenge, especially now that the Group is racing ahead with a far-reaching digital transformation.
The prestigious railway operator issued a RFP in 2016, when the time came to replace the outsourced mobile management service it had been using since 2007. The expected project benefits go far beyond economic gains. “The objective was clear: to get better acquainted with our users and their daily mobile and data need and to be able to promote future services to support their needs, nothing more or less. This project was an opportunity for us to seriously focus on usage, not only in terms of telecommunications but the entire information system ecosystem,” explained Guillaume Leclerc, the project manager in the IT department.
The mobility requirements at SNCF today is nothing like what it was ten years ago. “Back then, we only had a single in-house client, the Traction business line (editor’s note: all the business lines related to train operations) with a scope of 15,000 single-operator GSM voice lines. Smartphones have now become standard equipment, providing all our departments with entirely new usage needs: the number of multi-operator and multi-entity telecom lines involved has gradually increased to over 100,000. These highly precious mobile resources require upgraded tools, processes and governance,” stated Guillaume Leclerc.
This key task was ultimately entrusted to the French software company, Saaswedo. The decision to opt for a smaller player in the sector might have surprised many, but SNCF is proud of their vendor selection: “We are proud of our commitment to SMB (Small Medium Business) that are at the core of the French economic fabric. And we are especially happy to see that Saaswedo has justified our confidence, not only by displaying technical skills and expertise but also in terms of understanding our expectations and financial needs”, commented Raphaël Perret, head of IT Purchasing at SNCF.
SNCF –Attracted by Saaswedo’s commercial impact and agility
Saaswedo was particularly convincing in facing the challenge of migrating all the business lines to their exhaustive management platform in just 4 short months, while training hundreds of telecom system managers at the same time.
“It’s phenomenal how Saaswedo managed to handle this changeover with over half a dozen entities, each with its own operating needs and model, uniting all of them around a shared tool and starting to standardize the processes” said Guillaume Leclerc. He pointed out that he particularly appreciated the quality of implementation and the flexible approach taken by the software company’s technical and commercial teams, to concurrently develop the processes involved. Such agility is commendable, speaking to Saaswedo’s end-to-end range of products and services, from their software platform to the outsourced central support team that manages users’ requests on a daily basis.
Another reason for SNCF’s satisfaction: the openness of communications. “Saaswedo stood out from its competitors thanks to its transparency. They made it clear to us how much we would have to invest in this contract. They also had a “right to veto” and propose new solutions to solving our problems and supporting our needs. I was also impressed by the financial simulation tool it set up, which gave us a clear picture of the mechanisms that are key to both our companies”, said Raphaël Perret.
The French software company, which has also recently entered the United States market, views its role in the project conducted with SNCF as a catalyst for its unique innovative capabilities. “When submitting our RFP response and proposal, we took the opposite approach from the “cut-and-paste” responses that our competitors typically send to major corporations. We remained transparent and true to our innovation mindset, in terms of our technology, pricing and business model. In addition, since our platform is truly a SaaS offering, everything we created and improved by working together with SNCF now benefits our other clients, too”, explained Gilles Mezari, Co-Founder of Saaswedo.
The new mobile communication management system with SNCF has been in operation several months now, and SNCF business unit users are looking to the future with confidence. SNCE was integrated into the project well in advance, taking part in the presentations and beta testing of our enhanced platform functionality. “They were strongly in favor of the Saaswedo solution and when a company manages to generate this level of enthusiasm, it means you’re already halfway down the road to a successful changeover”, concluded Guillaume Leclerc. The French railway operator succeeded in making its “user experience first” motto a reality. Having laid the groundwork for developing working methods for tomorrow’s users, SNCF can now focus its efforts on other major changes in its digital transformation.