Foundation for digital transformation of industrial sectors


In 2020, under the impetus of AFNeT, an association that has been boosting and accompanying French industry in its Digital Transformation for more than 40 years, the 4 multi-sectoral pre-standardization associations, AFNeT, AIF, MINnD and AFIS are setting up the ATLAS Program They set up the ATLAS program in answer to the Government's call for projects on the issue of "Mutualization of resources at the service of industries and digital platforms of industries", managed by the SGPI, the DGE, the MTES and the BPI included in the Recovery Plan.


The ATLAS program, winner of the call for tenders, received a budget of €10.5 million, financed half by the industrial sectors and half by the public authorities (BPI), and established its planning over 3 years (2020-2023) with one goal: to serve as a foundation for the Digital Transformation and the Ecological Transition of the industrial sectors industrielles.

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For the biggest industrial companies, more than 70% of products or services value is realized by the suppliers, mostly SMEs. Competitiveness is now played out between extended enterprises. Digital technology is essential in the company and to operate as an extended enterprise with its partners, to innovate, to reduce costs and lead times and to export.

To support these companies in their Digital Transition, the ATLAS objectives have been defined as follows:

  • To serve as a foundation for the Digital Transformation of industrial sectors, across the entire value chain: System Engineering, PLM, Industry of the Future, Logistics, Maintenance, Digital Twinning, Data and Infrastructure, BIM.
  • Facilitate digital continuity and interoperability with standards Create the ATLAS French Team (AFNeT, AIF, AFIS, MINnD) of Norms and Standards, in partnership with AFNOR
  • Pooling the efforts of all companies and industrial sectors
  • Putting the Digital Transition at the service of the Ecological Transition
  • Ensuring our Digital Sovereignty and Security
  • Create a sustainable business support structure, AFNeT Services, controlled by industrial investors
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The project is certainly ambitious but absolutely necessary in the face of the health and ecological emergency that we are all now facing. ATLAS is not a utopia, the system was tested and approved by the Aeronautics and Construction sectors before the birth of the program, which is therefore rooted in these success stories:

"ATLAS should be seen as a project factory: projects are grouped by Domains that cover the entire product life cycle. These domains have been chosen by the sectors themselves as their priorities for their Digital and Ecological Transformation. ATLAS is in fact an extension of the actions carried out in previous years with the Aeronautics and Construction sectors, which have been working for several years in "project mode", in other words with concrete business objectives, governance, schedules, budgets, deadlines, deliverables and above all operational results for manufacturers. Between them, they had a budget of almost one million euros each year to finance ATLAS-type work, so finally we are moving from two to fifteen channels. What's more, we are extending to 8 areas what we were doing mainly in the PLM, System Engineering, Logistics, Maintenance, and BIM* areas.
Pierre Faure
Pierre Faure
President of AFNeT, Co-President and Director of the ATLAS Program, Former Director of e-business and CRM at Dassault Aviation, Founder and first CEO of the European Digital Aeronautics Hub BoostAeroSpace

Le système ATLAS : Un système qui a fait ses preuves dans L'AÉRONAUTIQUE ET LA CONSTRUCTION

The ATLAS system is inspired by the leitmotiv that its Co-President and Program Director has been applying for over 40 years «"Playing collectively, to win together"and thus creating a virtuous circle from which all industry will soon benefit:

Company X has a need and can dedicate 100K€ to it; it confronts it with the needs of companies B, C and D which are part of its sector of activity, have the same need and also have 100K€ to dedicate. The ATLAS expert teams then allow them to better define this need and to find, if necessary, other sectors of activity confronted with the same subject in order to make it an "ATLAS project".

In the diagram above, the 8 ATLAS domains are distributed over the life cycle of an industrial product, the square root showing that the life of a product is longer than its design and manufacture, the maintenance being able to extend to infinity.

Once the project is defined, ATLAS has the capacity not only to integrate it quickly into its roadmap, but also to double the "start-up" money thanks to the Public Authorities. Therefore, if the companies had 100 K€ each to invest, they benefit from an additional 400 K€, and a total budget of 800 K€, a dedicated work team and the support of ATLAS.

Thanks to this system, some 40 projects have already been funded this year and the ATLAS teams expect 20 more before the end of the year.

"We can see that a lot of results of our work are themselves inputs that will be used for other projects, whether in terms of technology, orientation or strategy. It will enable us to define the standards we need to develop tomorrow, and the methods we use will of course be shared with the various players. The objective is really to evolve together."
Jean Brangé
Jean Brangé
Scientific and Technical Director of the ATLAS Program

And for Pierre Faure, this is just the beginning: "ATLAS is simply the beginning of a great collective dynamic that will continue beyond 2023 with the industrial sectors and the help of AFNeT Services, which is the linchpin of ATLAS today and will remain the linchpin of standards and interoperability after 2023."

The idea is to finance and launch projects for France to be able to meet industrial needs in all fields and at the international level, as is already the case in PLM and Construction, where France is in close cooperation with the United States and Germany.

AFNeT has already integrated European projects into ATLAS by co-leading the Gaïa-X Smart Manufacturing working group with AIF and CEA, and by playing a major role in Gaïa-X governance, in particular by making its human and financial resources available to Gaïa-X's industrial and ecological working groups.


In its governance, ATLAS also wants to be transverse

The diagram below explains the governance of ATLAS which starts from its core: the projects.
These projects are divided into 8 domains, themselves chaired by an industrialist (Airbus for PLM, Bouygues Construction for BIM, Schneider Electric for the Production of the Future, THALES for the Digital Twin, etc.) and managed by an ATLAS partner (AFNeT being responsible for a majority of domains). This responsibility translates into program management and the provision of technical coordinators, experts in their field, who orchestrate and feed the work.

The ATLAS Program is by definition transverse since its goal is to promote cross-fertilization. Its Program Committee is representative of this transversality. It ensures the overall cohesion of ATLAS, in particular by balancing funding and ensuring all transverse coordination.

Finally, the Strategic Committee, made up of funders (industrial sectors and public authorities), partners and domain presidents, is in charge of the major strategic orientations, the mobilization of sectors, to give maximum means and visibility to the program. This organization is implemented in collaboration with AFNOR, to ensure that the results of this work are promoted and put into service within the French industry, but also internationally, at ISO or CEN.


Today, 34 projects have already been funded with a goal of 50 by the end of the year, the program's 8 domain committees are in battle order, our teams are being strengthened with the hiring of 4 people, including 3 domain technical coordinators, and and the governance is effective