As the year draws to a close, we asked Dirk Osstyn, our new Business & Community Director, to give us his highlights from the past year.
In 2023, our former product manager, Dirk Osstyn, became the Director of the Business & Community team. His role is to manage the various aspects of this important unit that plays a role in shaping the customer journey.
For Dirk, the name itself, Business & Community, is not insignificant: "The innovation unit at the heart of Belnet, marketing and communications, product management, business units and service delivery are all part of the new Business & Community team.
Of course, we want to do business with our partners, but the most important thing is to foster collaboration and the communities we represent."
With 2024 just around the corner, it's only natural that we should ask Dirk Osstyn a few questions about the main challenges and highlights of the past year. He also reveals some of the major projects for 2024.
What have been the major challenges of 2023?
"This year, Belnet celebrated its 30th anniversary, and we want to prepare ourselves for at least another 30 years. So we've been laying the foundations for a new business model from 2021.
The introduction of this new business model is particularly evident in the Business & Community organisation. We want to focus more on innovation, we want a specific approach for each of our different customer groups (Business units) and we want to excel in delivery. Changing an organisation takes time, but we've already made great progress in 2023!"
What do you see as the highlights and main achievements of 2023?
"This year, we introduced a mindset of continuous improvement (with monthly monitoring). This has led to many improvements in the way we work on a daily basis.
Another major achievement in 2023 was the launch of the FedWAN programme. PMO has done an excellent job of establishing good governance and working closely with suppliers and customers. As a result, we will be able to announce the first savings for our federal institutions as early as 2024.
Yes, business is about money, but it's also about savings for our customers! This programme is the fruit of close collaboration between the various project managers, the technical specialists in our Networks and Services department, HR, Purchasing, Business & Community, and last but not least, our customers."
Which services do you think will be most important in 2024?
FedWAN and WAN Connectivity
"For our Federal Business Unit, it will undoubtedly be the FedWAN and FedMAN networks. For FedWAN, we've reached our cruising speed and will be working on a large number of WAN sites for our country's major federal institutions."
"Generally speaking, there will be a greater emphasis on open science and cybersecurity in 2024. As far as open science is concerned, we're launching a project called FedOSC, which will create new capacities for putting open science into practice.
Data is increasingly important, but it's reuse and interchangeability that will become ever more important when it comes to international collaboration between scientists."
"In terms of cybersecurity, and with the NIS2 Directive in mind, Belnet will be working on more security solutions for our customers.
In 2023, we renewed our anti-DDoS solution, we have a DNS Anycast service in the pipeline that will be launched in early 2024, and we've set up a co-creation working group on the topic of SOC/SIEM with various universities and higher education institutions that will certainly lead to some tangible results in 2024."
What message would you like to pass on to the various customer communities for 2024?
"In 2023, we launched our new business model, and we want to make sure that every community we deliver can benefit from it. We're looking forward to building on our momentum in 2024. So if you have a problem that's not been resolved, please don't hesitate to contact us — we're here to help and to think along in search of solutions."