Who is Tom Haegemans?

Tom Haegemans is the manager and co-founder of Digita. He is also responsible for the company’s R&D. Digita helps companies set up their own personal data intraweb and create a customer-oriented ecosystem. Tom is also a professor at the Catholic University of Leuven, where he teaches an introductory course on information management systems.

The keyword

Tom’s keyword: “disruption”, to disrupt the established order, to question the status quo and to create innovations that cause a paradigm shift and truly advance society.

A job at the heart of innovation

As a university professor and entrepreneur, Tom pursues the same objective, i.e., to accelerate the adoption of a worldwide personal data web. This would enable people to own their own personal data “vaults”, in which they can store and control their personal information. They could use them to communicate with friends and companies, which would also effectively allow them to bypass websites such as Facebook, resolving several privacy issues in the process.

Personal information and privacy are a hot topic right now and innovation is indispensable in this framework. Digita helps companies to leverage this personal data web in three ways. We help them set up their own personal data intraweb, connect to the worldwide personal data web and build apps for these webs.

Project in the spotlight

Digita is currently working on a co-creation project with a well-known Belgian retailer, preparing the set-up of a personal data intraweb. The idea is to avoid being tied to a specific vendor in the long term.

This project can  rapidly deliver business value for the company.

Such a network would be able to standardise many legacy integrations, reducing the maintenance cost in the process. It would also make available qualitative information, as the retailer now knows where data are stored and what they can do with it – thanks to the privacy metadata that is contained in this personal data web. And finally, such a solution would also enable the retailer to provide customers with a single sign-on, which wasn’t possible until now.

Brussels, City of Innovators

Digita’s co-founders established their company in Brussels, a self-explanatory choice.

Many of our potential customers are already based here, but Brussels is also home to the European institutions. And these have enacted very progressive privacy legislation, such as the GDPR. As Digita also wants to give back control to consumers of their personal information, this aspect is crucial. Moreover, the Brussels government is very supportive of young innovative start-ups like ours.

What he likes about his job

Tom mostly enjoys the impact of his job and the fact that it gives him the freedom to work on projects that change society for the good. As a researcher, having his own company enables him to put his research insights into practice, to check their relevance in the field and to formulate new research questions.

His career

Tom Haegemans holds a Master’s degree in Information Management and a Bachelor’s degree in IT. He did a PhD in Business Economics and his research has been published in various scientific journals. Prior to co-founding Digita, Tom was a PhD Researcher at the Catholic University of Leuven and a Visiting Researcher at the University of Cambridge.

3 tips for Brussels innovators

1)  Take the time to think about what problem your innovation will actually solve.
2)  Search for efficient shortcuts that allow you to do things faster and more effectively.
3)  Set up an advisory board. Surround yourself with industry veterans who can help you make strategic decisions and provide support.

The figure

On average, analysts spend 80% of their time discovering and preparing data because they are stored in legacy systems or silos.
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