The history of L'Atelier: 30 years of tracking information technologies

Les 25 ans de L'Atelier 

Since its creation within Compagnie Bancaire (a precursor to BNP Paribas) in 1978, L'Atelier's purpose has been to bring innovative ideas to various sectors of the industry and help them identify key trends in their business.

L'Atelier has become a place for people to meet and exchange ideas, an innovation tracking centre open not only to customers and partners of the banking Group but also to other businesses and individuals. L'Atelier provides insights into the implications of information technology development and how companies can apply these innovations in a profitable manner.

BNP Paribas tracking unit

L'Atelier continues to track ongoing changes and spot new opportunities, both from a technical and usage perspective. For example, L'Atelier was very quick to identify the competitive advantages offered by telematics in the finance sector. This enabled Cetelem to gain a decisive advantage over its competitors back in the 1980s by bringing together rating techniques and the Minitel system to create a ‘tele-credit' service with the Auroracard. A subsidiary of BNP Paribas «The bank for a changing world», L'Atelier is today the Group's tracking and analysis centre for high technology. It is part of the Group Communications function and is under the direction of the Head of Communications.

Three core activities, three continents

L'Atelier's purpose is to track innovative ideas and disseminate them through various channels – highlighting them via online media and radio; stimulating discussion through events and conferences; and helping to integrate them into business practices, through its consulting services.
This three-pronged approach is matched by a geographical triangle: L'Atelier is present in Paris, San Franciscoand Shanghaiand so is able to track ongoing experiments in environments as widely varied as Silicon Valley, the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, Indiaand China), Europeand Africa.

Key dates

1978 L'Atelier, a tracking centre for emerging technologies, is set up within Compagnie Bancaire with the basic mission of catalysing the culture internally
1983 L'Atelier introduces first-ever online financial service in Francefor the Group and its clients
1987 L'Atelier begins to act as a catalyst outside the financial community with the publication of Le Journal de L'Atelier, a printed newsletter on innovation and new technologies aimed at professionals in finance, consulting, IT, distribution, marketing, the energy sector et al. To improve tracking, a number of study trips are arranged to the United States, Japanand all over Europe
1993 L'Atelier establishes its own electronic bulletin board system, attracting over 10,000 « early adopters »
1994 L'Atelier launches a French website,, one of the first of its kind in France. [See the various stages of evolution of the website between 1994 and 2008]
1997 L'Atelier launches Lettre de L'Atelier, an electronic newsletter on high-tech innovations
1998 L'Atelier creates Canal Atelier, the first French-language video-streaming channel devoted to new technology. The same year, L'Atelier becomes part of Paribas
2000 L'Atelier takes on its current full name following the merger of BNP and Paribas, which creates one of the world's major banking and financial services groups
2002 Post-merger, L'Atelier is under new management. Olivier Dulac becomes President and Louis Treussard Managing Director and Head of Communication at BNP Paribas.

L'Atelier extends its tracking to social and business trends and opens up to other sectors characterised by innovative activity, including, transport, luxury goods and services, health care, etc)

2004 L'Atelier begins broadcasting a weekly radio programme on new ICTs - L'Atelier Digital on BFM - via a partnership with business radio channel BFM
2005 L'Atelier celebrates its 25th birthday and opens an office in San Francisco
2006 L'Atelier unveils an English-language website, , and begins to roll out its model in China and the rest of Asia, and on Second Life
2007 L'Atelier BNPParibas sets up in Shanghai, China's business capital
2008 L'Atelier sets up a page on Facebook and Netvibes. 23 July sees launch of (L'Atelier), aka Les Parenthèses de L'Atelier (L'Atelier in Parenthesis), covering such topics as company management, and ‘cleantech'
2009 The tracking teams publish their reports and interact with readers and listeners on Twitter. @ateliernetwork takes over all publications, @latelier disseminates statistics with a bearing on the market for new technologies, @atelierfusion tracks mergers & acquisitions, @ateliernumerik picks up on various topics and interesting remarks during recording of L'Atelier Digital
2010 Launch of "Les Thémas" conferences based on ideas emerging from L'Atelier tracking work.

The offices in Chinaand the USbecome wholly-owned subsidiaries

The Avignon Forum sees L'Atelier BNP-Paribas set out the achievements of the first ten years of the 21st century, detailing new products, new services and new approaches


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