The digital sector has surreptitiously but comprehensively made communication easier, simplified our lives and broadened our horizons. At La Poste, we have decided to view this change as an opportunity and use it to transform the future of the Group and its customers, while helping to implement public policy in the digital field.
The digital business unit created in 2014 is proof of our commitment. It sets out Le Groupe La Poste's digital strategy, embodying the vision of a company aiming to serve as many people as possible, while being aware of the challenges it faces as it modernises.
With the ambition of being the biggest service company with a local presence, La Poste aspires to become the universal operator for in-person and digital communications. The digital business unit offers support in two main areas, simplifying life for employees and customers by adapting to the needs of as many people as possible and creating new tools which add value to the Group.
It is certainly true that less post is being sent. However, other types of communication are experiencing a boom. More and more parcels are being transported, online marketing is making headway and connected objects are becoming more accessible. La Poste is anticipating emerging needs to enable employees to respond appropriately to the needs of customers.
The Group’s digital transformation
La Poste has trained 253,000 staff employees in how to use new digital tools, with some even being taught how to code. Hundreds of digital specialists have been recruited, such as developers and data scientists. An internal company social network has been set up. Postmen and women have been encouraged to use Facteo mobile devices and post office customer advisors are using Smartéo mobile terminals. The Group has also made its first foray into artificial intelligence by acquiring the ProbaYes start-up. The digital business unit drives and supports all such transformation across the Group.
Transformation also involves implementing an active innovation policy. Within a context of open innovation, this policy helps inspiring start-ups develop by giving them support from Le Groupe La Poste experts. Active innovation also involves three special bodies: the Start’in’Post start-up accelerator, the French IoT support programme and the Yellow Innovation ideas lab. Since 2015, La Poste has been invited to the biggest international new technology trade fair: CES in Las Vegas. It also participates in the Viva Technology trade show: the European gathering for those working in innovation. On these occasions, the company presents the Group’s latest digital innovations which have been created to make good use of technology and simplify life in future.
The employee oath includes a section on respecting the confidentiality of customers’ digital correspondence.
This drive has also lead to technical infrastructure emerging which creates a more relevant service. One example is the Digital Hub, whose role is to manage all connected objects developed by the Group and its partners in one place. The unique customer account improves our understanding of the thousands of customers who come into contact with the Group every day via postmen and women, post offices, terminals, the online store, apps and customer service staff. The data collected helps us identify each customer at these locations and suggest the products and services they need as quickly as possible. This data is collected in a data lake and combined with artificial intelligence to observe trends and see customer behaviour emerge. This innovative tool enables us to invent new products and tailor our relationship with customers, such as by improving parcel flow forecasting and detecting fraudulent card transactions.
However, La Poste would not be trusted by customers if it did not guarantee that their digital communications and information would remain secure - to a greater extent than is required by law. To prove our commitment, we created a Data Charter in 2016 for example. In addition, the employee oath includes a section on respecting the confidentiality of customers’ digital correspondence.
Digital tools for everyone
By taking itself through this digital transformation, La Poste is doing all it can to retain the French people’s trust. This is also the case with Digiposte+, the digital safe hosted in France. This “personal assistant” stores and manages important documents (payslips, invoices, quotes, contracts, bank statements, tax returns, school exam certificates, etc.). Because La Poste is a trusted third party making digital tools easier to understand and use, it is developing new services like L’Identité Numérique La Poste [La Poste Digital ID] which is linked to the state FranceConnect portal.
We are also trusted by professional bodies: our Docapost subsidiary has been chosen by the French National Pharmacists’ Association to manage and develop the “Dossier Pharmaceutique”, a tool healthcare professionals can use to find out which medicines a patient has been issued in recent months. Soon, customers will have a real digital healthcare space at their disposal. It will be connected to accredited smart healthcare objects (thermometers, blood pressure monitors, scales, etc.), healthcare professionals will be given access and individuals will be able to track their health day-to-day on this secure platform.
An online post office counter
The digital business unit is also an online store (laposte.fr) with products and services to suit customer needs, including stamps, tracked items, envelopes, boxes and service subscriptions (mail redirection, keeping mail safe while customers are away, Colissimo Pass subscriptions, etc.). And it works: with an average of 13.6 million unique visitors a month in 2017 (generating a total revenue of 181 million euros), the site came sixteenth in the list of the top 100 French e-commerce sites . The app receives 2.8 million visits a month.
The Group is always looking to the future. In spring 2019, it will be launching Ma French Bank. This new online-only platform will provide access to a range of innovative and accessible banking and financial services.
These initiatives show how digital tools are being used across the Group's five business units and how La Poste is continuing to adapt to our perpetually evolving lifestyles.
(1): See Registration document 2017, page 64.