Question 1

Hi Niels, A special milestone has been reached: the one-year anniversary of Royal HaskoningDHV Digital. Can you explain why Royal HaskoningDHV Digital was founded? 

Niels: Yes, well we see the worlds of business, operations, and IT converging. Launching Royal HaskoningDHV Digital, was a next step in delivering consultancy and software solutions to create value for our clients. The increasing amount of available data is dramatically altering our clients’ business and operating models, the customer experiences they deliver, and the way they design their assets. [editor: you can find more information about the launch of Royal HaskoningDHV Digital here.]

Our customers want to have more control over their assets’ lifecycles and the way they operate. With Royal HaskoningDHV Digital we fulfil a digital role in the operational process, acting as a ‘virtual operator’. This means we can give our customers a better insight into what’s going on during their operational processes. We can then look at how each process can be optimised – how can we make it more sustainable, efficient, and easier to manage?

How do you manage to pull this off?

Niels: To do this, we brought together more than 25 years of data science capabilities and software development experience. Royal HaskoningDHV Digital combines proprietary software such as Aquasuite with acquisitions including Lanner, Ambiental, Ynformed and Novius. By combining these skills with the 140 years of engineering consultancy knowledge we have in-house, we can develop innovative products and services and assist our clients in their digital transformations. 

Question 2

What’s the best thing Digital has achieved so far?

Niels: The best thing that Royal HaskoningDHV Digital has achieved is that we were able to start realising the idea we had four years ago with an initial team of just 25 people. 

I’m very proud of the fact that we work on wonderful projects with more than 250 bright people from different backgrounds, cultures, and countries. This team is so motivated and committed to use  innovative ideas to enhance our environment, that we were able to establish Royal HaskoningDHV Digital from our home offices!

What I find unique about Royal HaskoningDHV Digital is that we work in a way in which we can be ourselves. It's great that we use our individual strengths, knowledge and skills and are able to combine these to accomplish more. What binds us is that we are proud nerds determined to make society a better place. We are a group of true experts with the same goal in mind. That is beautiful, isn't it?


COVID-19, a new team, working from home; what have you learned in the past year and what will you take with you into the future?
NielsRoyal HaskoningDHV Digital’s first year could have turned out very differently. It was always going to be difficult to integrate six different companies – and it was even harder without being able to physically meet each other.


But there are also positive things from this period that we will hold on to in the future. For example, we worked out how to start up a wastewater treatment with remote technology. Previously, colleagues had to travel the world to do this on site.

The same goes for travel to the office. We don't all need to be in the office to work well together. Working from home is also better for the environment and for a healthy work-life balance. Our team has been incredibly flexible and switched quickly to working online.

Yes, we are currently working remotely, but we are more connected than before. I think one of the biggest advantages is that we’re paying more attention to each other again. There is more individual attention for both the customers and our colleagues – and that's something we have to hold on to.


What’s your dream for the future of Royal HaskoningDHV Digital? 

Niels: Our dream is to improve the lives of at least a billion people. Among other things, we want to contribute to safe drinking water, minimise the impact of climate change and guarantee the food supply chain. We have great ambitions to make a difference to all those things. 

Of course, we can’t do that alone – we need partners. 

For example, by sharing data and insights with and between water authorities, we can come up with integrated solutions for complex issues like drought and extreme weather. Climate change related issues don't care about borders, so we have to reach beyond our own borders together. You achieve more together.

Today, 1st of April, we also announce our partnership with Dutch Water Authority Waterschapsbedrijf Limburg, in which we will be creating the wastewater infrastructure of the future, using digital twins. This project is where our vision becomes reality and where all our in-house skills and knowledge comes together. It’s with projects like these, where we really make a difference. 

Now more than ever, business decisions are influenced by data-driven insights and simulation. Alongside our clients and partners, we are supporting this to make this happen.

Niels Schallenberg

Global Director Digital

Niels Schallenberg | Royal HaskoningDHV