When Digital Minds meet: supporting digitalisation in the Belgian public sector

by Vincent Forge - Client Executive - Public Sector
| minute read


At Sopra Steria, we’re strongly committed to putting all things digital to work for our clients. In the Benelux, where public sector clients account for three-quarters of our work, we are very actively involved in the digital transformation of public services in particular. To that end, we have notably been working closely with FPS Policy and Support (BOSA) since 2017.

Helping our customers drive their digital transformation to achieve tangible and sustainable benefits is at the core of our business. Achieving that digital transformation in the public sector is especially rewarding since it potentially benefits not just the government alone but all citizens and businesses.

Digital identity

One of the aims we are helping to achieve through a number of projects in our long-standing partnership with FPS BOSA is to provide every citizen with “digital citizenship” that will allow them to access all online government services. In other words, a unique secure digital identity.

We are proud to have assisted Belgium with the development of its digital identity ecosystem and with the creation of the first version of its Digital Identity Wallet (BDIW). And we look forward to maintaining and developing BOSA services around digital identities and eIDAS trust services in the coming years.

Access to government services

We are also involved in a number of projects that facilitate or optimise “access to all government services”, a key aim for the current Secretary of State for Digitalisation, Mathieu Michel. Probably the best-known project concerns the creation and implementation of an eBox — a secure electronic mailbox or collection point, where each citizen can safely receive, store, and manage all of their government documents digitally.

Another project that improves access to and interaction with government services is the introduction of chatbots or virtual assistants. As the most concrete application to date of AI technologies, virtual assistants not only have the potential to revolutionise the interaction between citizens, businesses, and public services, but they can also allow civil servants to deal with routine requests much more efficiently.

Data transparency

It’s no coincidence that these projects also tally with some of the 10 goals or ambitions that were set out last year by Belgium’s Digital Minds, a group of 22 experts from academia and the business world who are active in the digital realm both in Belgium and abroad. The group was brought together by the current Secretary of State himself, with the ambition of developing a #SmartNation mentality. In this way, Mr. Michel wants to do away with the fragmented landscape that has dogged the digitalisation project in Belgium.

One of the 10 aims put forward by the Digital Minds group states that “Belgium will promote the emergence of a data economy”. More specifically, “Belgium will be at the forefront of data management by making it more innovative, transparent, and controllable for citizens while facilitating its use.” 

This ambition is fast becoming a reality, as the MyData platform — “The largest transparency project ever carried out by the federal government,” according to the Secretary of State himself — is currently being rolled out. You can read more about this important initiative to provide greater data transparency, a core principle of data protection, in a previous blog post.

Sustainable development

The last, but certainly not the least, ambition set out by the Digital Minds group, is that “digital transformation should benefit the environment”. This is another aim that Sopra Steria is determined to help the Belgium government achieve. This one, however, deserves a post all of its own. Make sure to keep an eye out for it!

Curious to find out more about our solutions for digital transformation in the public sector, in Belgium and/or abroad? Don’t hesitate to contact me.