Top woman Digital Flanders moves to Microsoft

Barbara Van Den Haute resigns as general manager of Digital Flanders. She switches to Microsoft Belgium-Luxembourg.

In recent years, Digitaal Vlaanderen has been in the spotlight with services such as My Citizen Profile and is a strategic partner for governments that want to keep up with the latest digital opportunities. Internationally, Digital Flanders stands out with the Solid data cabinets, in collaboration with Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web. The start-up of Dataforsyningsselskabet, which in the words of Prime Minister Jan Jambons (N-VA) must ‘flow smoothly’, is also getting a lot of attention.

But why is Van Den Haute leaving an organization with around 700 employees to become ‘business development lead’ for the public sector on July 15 in the management of Microsoft Belgium and Luxembourg?

“Most of the work has been done, there is a very strong team, and above all, it is an individual choice to stay sharp and acquire new skills in a new environment,” says 44-year-old Aalsterse. Since she has always been a customer in the IT sector, she thought it was time to get to know the supplier side.

I have always looked for simplification that makes things more robust and efficient.

Barbara Van Den Haute

Retiring General Manager of Digital Flanders

Van Den Haute started his career in the private sector. As a graduate in political science and international law, she became a management trainee at AXA in 2001. During the merger of Ippa Bank and Anhyp into AXA Bank Belgium, she was involved in assembling the IT systems. She found that quite interesting. ‘I’ve always been looking for simplification that makes things more robust and efficient. The fastest way to get there has always been IT and digitization for me. ‘ That would be the common thread in her career.

She then ended up at Home Affairs, where a major program of simplification, process improvement and digitization was underway.

After three years, she moved to the Flemish government, where she provided organizational advice to quickly become department head of the support services for administrative affairs, finance and budget. She was responsible for the digitization of the financial processes, which were later taken over by the entire Flemish government. She became project manager to centralize all support services of the Flemish government. ‘You’re not really making yourself popular by centralizing support services,’ Van Den Haute concluded, but it attracted her attention.

Sometimes the danger is that too much technology or hype is thought of.

Barbara Van Den Haute

Retiring General Manager Digital Flanders

She then had to head the department that managed the major IT framework contracts to become general manager of Digitaal Vlaanderen in 2017, an organization that took shape through many mergers.

Van Den Haute looks at IT and data from a business perspective. ‘Sometimes the danger is that people think too much in terms of technology or hype. But you have to be in love with the problem, not the technical solution. ‘

Digital Flanders focuses on formulating and evaluating policy. Van Den Haute says he has never joined a party. However, she collaborated extensively with Prime Minister Jan Jambon’s cabinet and previously with Minister Liesbeth Homans. ‘Coincidentally twice N-VA. In both cases, there was a lot of attention paid to our practical approach ‘, it reads.

The essence

  • Barbara Van Den Haute, General Manager of Digital Flanders, joins Microsoft Belgium and Luxembourg on July 15.
  • She has a business approach to information technology and data. What problems need to be solved? What challenges await us?
  • Under her leadership, Digitaal Vlaanderen grew into a service with around 700 employees, which is the governments’ strategic partner for digitization.

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