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The digital transformation of the City of Brussels

It is the story of a city and a vision: a city that would be exemplary, connected and close to its citizens, that would be accessible at the click of a button and also at hand, at any time... It is also a vision of its own transformation towards a centralized and modern administration.

It is the vision of an administration with optimized management of human and financial resources, which multiplies the doors of entry to interact with the citizen and offers a unique and transparent overview of the files in progress. A vision that integrates new work methods, that makes agents more efficient and effective... A vision that creates a true user experience...


Mary-Odile Lognard, General Manager: "In order to support this vision from a technological point of view, the IT master plan has outlined the main lines of the City's transformation over 5 years. As the City's technological partner, I-CITY has orchestrated this digital transformation through two major deliverables: a digital eco-system that allows citizens to interact with their administration wherever and whenever they want, and the technological design of the new Brucity administrative center.

 In order to achieve this complete paradigm shift for the city, i-CITY itself had to undergo a major transformation. First of all, by strengthening its governance, by making profound changes in its organization, its working methods and in its own eco-system. At the time, we defined our new identity and became i-CITY, to anchor our new vision/mission at the very heart of our name."  

We had to quickly build up skills in various fields, define and get budgets and funding validated, design specifications, launch numerous public contracts, find the right talent to support the existing teams. While maintaining the existing application systems, we had to strengthen the infrastructure and IT security.

For the future building, we defined and implemented our new network architecture and chose a Hybrid cloud strategy. We also worked on the data and orchestrated our own dematerialization and the transition to NWoW for all.

We launched the CIRM (Citizen Relationship Management) program and chose the Microsoft Dynamics solution as the technological foundation for digitalization.

At the same time, the "Digital Process Factory" was created, a multidisciplinary team that, in partnership with the City, would allow us to digitize all administrative processes in an agile manner and develop all the functionalities that would allow us to materialize them: payment functionalities, document management, identity recognition, for example.

In June 2021, the first version of the citizen portal was born, the foundation of the digital ecosystem in the making.

Our biggest challenges?

First of all, time! Without a doubt, especially during the period in which we carried it out. This generated a lot of difficulties in terms of delivery times and also resources.

The health crisis of 2020 gave a boost to the deployment of the NWoW and the use of collaboration tools. In a matter of weeks, we teleworked several thousand employees and supported distance learning for thousands of students and teachers. At the same time, we continued to support all of our transformation programs.

The semiconductor crisis in 2021 generated a number of difficulties in terms of delivery times, which we overcame with pragmatism and flexibility.

The second challenge was to move forward with the technological, administrative and human transformation in parallel. You can't move an administration as fast as technology, and even less so habits that have been anchored for decades... Managing to move forward in a coordinated way these 3 dimensions, technological, soft and hard, within a tightly defined timeframe was a balancing act, often a work of goldsmith and constant collaboration within the i-CITY teams and with our Client, the City. The journey has not been without its pitfalls, but through communication and pragmatism, we have managed to find solutions together that will allow us to move forward and reach our goal. 

In the summer of 2022, we began the technological dressing of the building: installation of the network, wifi, data rooms, and all the collaboration technologies, such as video-conferencing. The administration will then gradually move into Brucity until the arrival of the City's Front Office on December 12 and the opening to the public.

Raf Louis, our Program Manager says: "A first big step was to make the first processes available. A limited number of high-volume products. Via the portal (myBxl), the counters and the previous version of the kiosks. Still in the old administration center.

A second important step was of course the opening of Brucity. The whole digital ecosystem was in place to enable a brand new user experience for citizens and agents. Accessing city services or making appointments from home or via interactive kiosks at the entrance of the building, equipped with eID recognition, electronic signature and payment functionalities, scanning or printing of documents... Kiosks equipped with the latest technologies. And these moments, when the result becomes concrete, are undoubtedly the most beautiful and satisfying of the trip for the whole team. The City and iCity, ONETEAM!"

Régis Pitolet, CTO & IT Director: "This 5-year journey is not an end in itself. It's just the beginning of a long adventure towards an intelligent city. It's the whole digital ecosystem that we're now going to expand to all the city's services, and interconnect. This ecosystem will support the data strategy that will open up many new perspectives, ... It's a whole book still to be written!"

The Brucity experience by Roland Janssens, Network & Telecom Manager

"Our ambition on this new building was to provide modern, high-performance connectivity, everywhere, for everyone (colleagues and citizens) and above all secure. We wanted to take advantage of Brucity to bring new technological and modern solutions: direct and fast internet access, dot1X, wifi6, full IP telephony, mobility throughout the building, while keeping the compatibility with our 250 other existing sites in the city.

As the new Brucity building is passive, we also had to take into account the connectivity of all these new technologies in case of an incident, so 4G indoor coverage was essential to complete the picture.

The best reward was the first email sent out in mid-July from our brand new infrastructure, only to reach several thousand people moving in a few months later!"

The Brucity Experience by Mustapha Ait Alla, Senior Architect

"I am delighted to represent our architectural team and showcase their involvement and dedication to this exciting program that is the digital transformation of the City of Brussels.

Throughout the Brucity program, we have worked diligently to solve the technical challenges. Each member of our team contributed their skills and experience to design an innovative architecture, tailored to the specific needs of our client.

The architecture team has played a crucial role in nearly every aspect of Brucity's projects. Whether it was the network implementation, telephony management, access management, citizen journey and many other projects, we were involved at every step to ensure the success of the projects.

This whole adventure has left its mark on me. Of course, there were ups and downs throughout the project, moments of confidence and others of doubt. A highlight for me was really the moment when all our hard work finally paid off. Seeing the first citizens walk through the front door and seeing the first reactions on their faces was truly amazing

I feel a real sense of pride in seeing the building take shape and being able to work inside is an extremely rewarding feeling. When I arrive in the morning and sometimes I pass by the atrium I am very satisfied to see the number of citizens who are there. It reminds me that my work has a direct impact on their daily lives.

I also feel fortunate to have been able to work with passionate, talented and highly skilled people. It is with great pride that I continue to work on this project, knowing that I am part of the great team that made it all happen.

I would like to thank each and every member of this great Team (I-CITY) and especially the architecture team for their involvement and commitment to this project. We have accomplished great things together and will continue to excel in our future projects."