The new department is headed by Damien Pasquinelli, who also becomes Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Advanced Solutions strategic business line. The group is planning around 30 new hires by end-2019, in Paris and Grenoble.

Hardis Group, a consulting firm, digital services company and independent software vendor, has launched a brand-new department within its Advanced Solutions strategic business line (formerly Cloud Platform) to expand its artificial intelligence (AI) offering and value proposition for customers in France and worldwide. The new unit is headed by Damien Pasquinelli, who also becomes Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Advanced Solutions strategic business line. The department's 25-strong workforce is set to increase to around 60 by end-2019.

Developing business-specific cloud solutions, integration services and co-innovation

The new AI department is in keeping with Hardis Group's forthcoming 2019-2021 strategy plan, which aims to step up the pace of transformation across the group's customer base, with new solutions and offerings that harness cutting-edge technologies such as cognitive services, robotic process automation, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), robots, and data intelligence. It marks the culmination of the group's efforts to identify users' needs and use cases across the manufacturing, supply chain, insurance, finance, and service industries. "AI is a potential high-growth market for us. We have already begun working on proofs-of-concept and tangible projects for our customers in areas like cloud technology convergence, IoT, AI and blockchain. We see huge scope for value creation in our target sectors", said Marc Bourgeat, Director of Hardis Group's Business Applications strategic business line.

In his new role, Damien Pasquinelli will be tasked with putting together a suite of AI services, identifying potential new AI use cases and business models, developing new products and services through a process of co-innovation, and launching a roadmap for the development of "cloud-native" business-specific applications for customers in France and worldwide. He will also oversee the production teams, reporting to Karim Ogbi, Director of Hardis Group's Advanced Solutions strategic business line.

Growing internal expertise and hiring new staff

At its launch, the new department will be staffed by a 25-strong team split across the group's sites in Grenoble, Paris, Lyon and Nantes. Hardis Group plans to recruit around 30 new staff by end-2019, mainly in Paris and Grenoble. The new hires will include product owners (to identify use cases and oversee agile development of new products), along with data scientists, data engineers, data analysts and DevOps experts.

"By the end of our 2019-2021 strategic plan period, we want this area of our business to be generating somewhere in the region of €5 million in revenue. We also want to strengthen our value proposition across all our strategic business lines. Moreover, this new unit will give our people a chance to gain new skills and build on their existing competencies in cutting-edge fields", said Nicolas Odet, CEO of Hardis Group.

Damien Pasquinelli - CTO - Hardis GroupDamien Pasquinelli: bio

Damien Pasquinelli, 42, has more than 15 years' experience in the digital services sector, with a strong focus on innovative technologies. He joined Hardis Group in 2014, first as program manager, then as business developer, and latterly as director of the Business Applications agency in Grenoble. In 2015, he was given responsibility for growing the group's data intelligence offering. In July 2018, he was appointed Advanced Solutions Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and head of the Artificial Intelligence department. Before joining Hardis Group, Damien held various positions at Capgemini, Logica, and other digital services companies. He obtained a postgraduate diploma in IT and social sciences from Pierre Mendès-France University in Grenoble in 2001.