-Mr. Sunil Goyal, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sopra Steria India

1. Self and Company Introduction.

My name is Sunil Goyal and I am the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Sopra Steria India, which is a part of the €5.1 billion Sopra Steria Group, headquartered in Paris. Sopra Steria Group is one of the top 3 IT Services companies in France having a strength of 55,000 professionals worldwide operating from 30 countries.

As part of Sopra Steria India, I have the privilege of managing the India operations, which today is spread across 4 locations and 5 sites. We have more than 6300 people at Sopra Steria India and Sopra Banking Software. I have been associated with the organization for more than three decades now and I must admit that it has been an incredible journey. I am delighted to be a part of an organisation that not only nurtures a ‘people-first and entrepreneurial’ culture but also constantly strives for excellence in providing cutting-edge IT solutions and services to our clients.

Our presence in India is marked by our state-of-the-art centres located in Noida, Chennai, Pune and Bengaluru, where we have built a strong team of over 6300+ talented colleagues. Our diverse workforce is the driving force behind our success, and my passion has always been centered on nurturing and empowering people to excel in their roles.

I take great pride in having contributed to the establishment of High Trust, High Performance' culture at Sopra Steria India, where innovation, collaboration, and customer-centricity thrive

2. What are the business and investment opportunities you see between India and France?

I can identify several business and investment opportunities between India and France. In fact, both countries are already working closely across technology, defense, aerospace, energy, infrastructure, digital payments, and tourism sectors. Both countries have unique strengths and complement each other. Here are some potential areas for collaboration and growth:

a. Information Technology (IT) and Digital Services: India is renowned for its robust IT industry, while France is a hub for innovation and digital transformation. Collaboration between Indian IT firms and French companies can lead to cutting-edge solutions, software development, and digital services that cater to a global market. France and India have agreed to further deepen their cooperation to promote research partnerships and technologies, which are essential to ensure our countries’ self-reliance.

b. Research and Development (R&D) Partnerships: India's growing emphasis on research and development, coupled with France's strong focus on innovation, presents an excellent opportunity for joint R&D projects. These partnerships can foster advancements in sectors like healthcare, renewable energy, aerospace, and more. France and India have also planned to increase funding for the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR/CEFIPRA) to fund new projects together.

c. Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technologies: India's commitment to renewable energy and France's expertise in sustainable technologies create a favorable C2 - Restricted use environment for investment and joint ventures in areas such as solar power, wind energy, and energy-efficient solutions.

d. Education and Skill Development: India's large and young population provides an excellent market for French educational institutions and training organizations. Partnerships in skill development and vocational training can help address the talent gap and foster economic growth. Recently, there has been signing of two MoUs between the Institut Polytechnique de Paris (IPP), and IIT Delhi and IIT Madras.

A few additional points for consideration:-

  • France, which relies heavily on nuclear power and is a major exporter of nuclear technology, is expected to sign a deal that would allow it to provide nuclear fuel to India.
  • India is looking to buy 2,000 commercial aircraft in the next 10 years and there is a huge opportunity to make commercial aircraft in India to meet domestic and international demand. With the purchase of Rafale and the recent Airbus order, more value has been added to this partnership
  • Collaboration discussed across key sectors - such as agriculture, tourism, defence, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and aerospace
  • With Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserting that defence ties are the basic pillar of India’s bilateral relationship with France, the two countries agreed on the construction of three additional submarines and the co-development of fighter jet engines. However, both sides remained silent on the sale of additional 26 Rafale-M fighter jet planes.
  • Safran will also finalise a roadmap with DRDO before the end of 2023 for defence cooperation in the joint development of a combat aircraft engine.
  • The other notable defence deals were for the transfer of technology of forging and casting for the Shakti engine and MoU for collaboration of surface ships.
  • With the two countries also working on a roadmap for defence industrial cooperation and to service the other deals, DRDO will set up a Technical office at the Indian embassy in Paris.

3. What are some of the key challenges faced by your industry in the Indian market as well as by your company specifically? Can you describe some of the strategies you’ve implemented to overcome these challenges? – NA (We are not a sales geography in India)

4. What have been the biggest accomplishments of your company in the last few years?

a. The company has invested in employee development programs, resulting in a skilled and motivated workforce, while also retaining top talent in the competitive IT industry.

b. Sopra Steria India has received industry accolades, awards, and certifications, recognizing its excellence in service delivery, innovation, and corporate social C2 - Restricted use responsibility. To name a few are GPTW, ET Best Brands, Best Workplace in Health & Wellness etc.

c. The company has forged strategic partnerships and collaborations with other global organizations, facilitating knowledge exchange and access to new markets. Our strategic partnerships with Business France, IFCCI, BBG, EBG. IGCC, NASSCOM have played a significant role in expanding our network of industry experts and fostered cross-cultural understanding.

d. Sopra Steria India has been actively involved in social impact and CSR initiatives, contributing to the welfare of the community, and demonstrating its commitment to sustainability.

5. How has IFCCI added value to your organization in India?

a. Sopra Steria India is a member of the IFCCI, which allows us to participate in the chamber's activities, events, and networking opportunities and provides access to a network of business professionals, knowledge-sharing platforms, and business support services.

b. Sopra Steria India has participated in networking events organized by the IFCCI, such as seminars, conferences, business forums, and industry-specific gatherings. These events provide opportunities for companies to connect with potential clients, partners, and stakeholders from both India and France.

c. Sopra Steria India has collaborated with IFCCI on various projects aimed at promoting trade and investment between India and France. These collaborations involve sharing expertise, resources, and best practices to facilitate business growth and innovation.

d. Sopra Steria India has contributed to the IFCCI's knowledge-sharing initiatives by sharing insights, research, and expertise in areas such as digital transformation, IT consulting, and technology trends. This includes speaking opportunities, varied engagements, publications, and participation in panel discussions.

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