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Sporting parallels

Sporting parallels

Fifteen ways rugby has inspired Capgemini

Rugby has a special place in Capgemini’s heart. Our founder, Serge Kampf, loved the sport and devoted much time and energy to supporting it. A rugby team has 7 or 15 players – since we couldn’t stop ourselves after just 7, here are 15 examples that illustrate Capgemini’s relationship with the game.

Capgemini is proud to support men’s and women’s rugby. Serge Kampf, founder of Capgemini, was always passionate about rugby’s core ideals. He loved reminding people how much the sport’s values are linked to those that have guided Capgemini since 1967, such as leadership, competitiveness, boldness, and innovation.

England’s Abigail Brown and Australia’s Evania Pelite compete in a kick off on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2019 in Glendale on 21 October, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

In 2018, Capgemini became the Global Innovation Partner of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. Throughout this partnership, Capgemini has contributed its expertise in digital innovation to enhance the fan experience and contribute to World Rugby’s digital transformation.

Serge played rugby briefly in his youth. Later, in the 1960s, when he was a young regional manager at a French telecoms company, Bull, he would invite some of his most important clients to rugby tournaments and attend matches all over the world at his own expense.

One of rugby’s core ideals is fair play, which aligns with a key Capgemini value – Honesty. Today, Capgemini is recognized worldwide for its exemplary practices. In 2020, the company was named among the World’s Most Ethical Companies for the eighth year running.

The best rugby players know when to take risks. In 1967, at the age of 33, Serge created Sogeti, the first IT services company in France. Sogeti eventually became the globally successful Capgemini Group. Serge proved that in order to get the future you want, you have to be bold.

Serge discreetly offered financial help to numerous French rugby clubs, such as those in Biarritz, Grenoble, and Bourgoin-Jallieu, often making interventions at key moments. In doing so, he earned the nickname of the “Grand Treasurer” of rugby.

Capgemini took its passion for rugby onto the international stage in 2007 by sponsoring the Rugby World Cup. We have also partnered with Biarritz Olympique and sponsored the French Barbarians, while Sogeti has supported the Grenoble rugby club.

Reflecting on Serge’s contribution to the sport, Serge Blanco, known by French fans as “Rugby’s Pelé,” said: “For us, he was the sixteenth player on the French rugby team. He was our friend.” Blanco combined flair, pace, and strategic vision to win 93 caps for France.

For the 2019–20 World Rugby Sevens season, Capgemini worked together with World Rugby to develop the Momentum Tracker, which aggregates match data to analyze a team’s performance and ability to improve through the campaign.

Serge continued to support rugby players after they finished their professional careers, with some even joining Capgemini as employees. In this way, Serge helped to create a better future for these players and the company.

In business, as in rugby, a team has to be prepared to fight in order to win, according to Serge. “One of the essential values to the company’s success is this fighting spirit, the desire to battle it out, engage, take risks and to win,” he said.

New Zealand’s Salesi Rayasi breaks through the USA defense on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Paris on 10th June, 2018. Photo credit: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

Rugby Sevens perfectly represents our worldwide reach and ambition because it is diverse, growing rapidly, and pioneering. Taking advantage of the expertise of the Capgemini Group, we bring the latest innovations to the rugby experience, from VR to image analytics.

Jean-Pierre Rives, who captained the French rugby team on 34 occasions, said of Capgemini’s founder: “Rugby was like a third family for Serge, apart from his own family and Capgemini. He was a leader who watched over the sport with love and kindness.”

Despite achieving so much, Serge remained a modest person and often attended matches as a regular supporter. He was sometimes embarrassed by the recognition he received for his support of rugby, such as when Biarritz Olympique named one of their stands after him.

One of Serge’s mantras was: “Rugby is a team sport in which you can’t accomplish anything without the rest of your teammates. The guy who scores a try doesn’t think he’s king of the world, because he knows it’s the result of teamwork.”

Here at Capgemini, we continue to believe that in business, as in rugby, teamwork is more important than individualism. This has been at the heart of our success in building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with customers, business partners, employees, and other stakeholders. And, as our company continues to grow and innovate, we believe Serge would be proud to see that Capgemini’s winning relationship with rugby is stronger than ever.

“The guy who scores a try in rugby doesn’t think he’s king of the world, because he knows it’s the result of teamwork” – Serge Kampf