A joyful event for around 200,000 people in more than 40 countries: Capgemini turns 50. In 1967 founder Serge Kampf –who passed away last year – started a company with five colleagues in Grenoble that was going to specialise in IT services, at the time a quasi-unknown craft. The new company was given the name Sogeti (an acronym for “société pour la gestion de la technologie de l’information”) and was renamed Capgemini soon after the takeover of CAP and Gemini Consulting. How can such a small starter eventually develop into a multinational in half a century? Several explanations.
Capgemini is the story of a genuine start-up of several enthusiastic entrepreneurs. This mentality remained over the years and only grew stronger. A healthy dose of common sense is linked to calculated daring and risk. This entrepreneur’s mentality enabled Capgemini to always look ahead and anticipate the market for upcoming trends in the market and in society.
Capgemini is a tale of values. From the beginning, the founders laid down several values the colleagues had to adhere to and work according to: boldness, honesty, fun, team spirit, modesty, freedom and trust. After 50 years these are still at the centre of the strategy and the market approach of the Capgemini employees. These values are a guideline that all major decisions are tested against. In any case, it creates clarity and indicates a specific direction.
Capgemini is the tale of interculturality. The company expanded rapidly from France to outside its borders. In Belgium, a branch was already established in 1970 under the name Computer Engineering and Services NV/SA, whose main client was in that time the Belgian postal services. Today, most Capgemini colleagues can be found in India (approximately 100,000) and the business provides services on all continents. The mentality is fundamentally international, open to all civilised cultures, regardless of religion, political conviction or gender. Diversity is a significant concept in the Capgemini group.
Capgemini is after all the tale of people. Of people with a winners mentality and a close sense of cooperation. This is undoubtedly the company’s DNA: the conviction that you can only win as a team in a competitive and rapidly evolving market. The digital world requires a specific insight into technology and business, and requires dynamic dedication to the increasingly complex demands of customers and colleagues. This is what we are convinced of at Capgemini: results are important, but these can only be achieved with people and their brain and daring.
What remains is the question of how it’s possible that Capgemini developed into an energetic fifty-something who is ready to add at least the same number of years. If you ask us, this is quite easy to explain: the ability to adapt and the will to change for the better. If the employees of Capgemini had worked today as they did five years ago then Capgemini would now be a business in trouble. If the employees had worked today as they did a decade ago then the company would probably be bankrupt.
Alain Olivier, managing director & Kris Poté, vice president Capgemini Belgium, October 2017.