Transition with big change

The Belgian energy market today is confronted with an ever faster evolution of technology which has an impact on the way the current market functions. In order to develop the value that this technology can bring, we need a flexible federal platform that can support the new market processes, facilitate the exchange of information between the various actors in the market and is able to gradually support new processes in the market. The current implementation of the federal platform enables us to bring the current market processes in line with the new possibilities that smart meters offer us.

Eandis, the largest distribution system operator in Flanders, like all actors in the energy market, needs to make the transition to the federal clearing house and the new market processes. To complete this transition successfully, Eandis counts on the services of LAVA.

The term ‘transition’ is often to be found in the context of a project approach. We talk about Transition when a company changes its way of working structurally. Sounds logical. The change in the way of working in the market must be reflected in the internal processes of Eandis and the implementation of a new ‘Clearing House’ (data exchange platform) has major consequences for the internal IT landscape of the distribution system operator. We can therefore speak about a structural change in the way Eandis is working.

A change like this is being prepared precisely, with a detailed project plan and clear roles and responsibilities for everyone who is closely involved. The project leaders also provide a Transition phase that accurately and meticulously maps out the exact transition. This phase is crucial for the success of the change.

A Transition phase within a project contains three periods:

  • Completing the existing way of working
  • The transition itself
  • Starting up the new way of working.

Each of these three periods has its own complex needs: involvement of the people (internal and external), mapping of the impacted processes, informing suppliers and adjusting their role and responsibility, etc. Each of these needs is then translated per period in an action-oriented approach. This leads gradually to a transition scenario which contains a precise overview of who executes the tasks and when the actions will take place, from minute to minute. The actions are about communication, IT, business tasks, decision moments, etc.

LAVA supports Eandis during this period. Our experience with the execution of complex transitions, our structural approach and our thorough market knowledge of both the current market forces (MIG 4) and the new market forces (MIG6) make us an ideal partner for Eandis. Together with the Eandis teams we are responsible for the smooth running of the transition period. We limit the risks that such a transition entails and ensure broadly supported and pragmatic solutions within Eandis, with minimal impact on the end customer.

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LAVA revises Schréder’s IT Strategy

Schréder is a global prime provider of cost-effective lighting solutions for safe, comfortable and sustainable environments. With its Belgian roots, Schréder is a group of 48 companies worldwide, with over 2,600 people, all passionate about light and innovation. With its expertise in design and development of outdoor lighting solutions, Schréder wants to contribute to the well-being of communities anywhere in the world.

Today, Schréder is taking up the tremendous challenge to shift from a product based company to a solutions partner. Products evolve: Schréder now provides energy efficiency and markets evolve towards smart lighting.

This change in strategic positioning has impact on just any fiber in the company. One of these fibers is IT. IT should even be more aligned with Business, or be part of the Business. The internal application landscape needs to be made future proof. As well as the IT architecture. To name just a few aspects.

In order to design the future global IT strategy to fully support Schréder’s changing business model, Schréder asked LAVA to revise its ICT Strategy.

From the start a team of business and IT senior representatives was set up of for going through an IT strategy review and approval process.

LAVA started off with interviewing C-level management to get a helicopter view of Schréder’s business drivers and future market challenges. LAVA got insights on how Schréder will adapt its business model to face these challenges. This was the basis to draft a new target IT Strategy, aligned with business.

LAVA assessed the capabilities of the current application landscape and IT infrastructure and designed a target landscape and architecture, with the right priorities and associated roadmap for implementation, in agreement with C-level management.

The required IT governance and Business/IT organizational interaction has been worked out.

The team got approval from the Board to implement the target IT strategy.

Carine Couls – Chief Transformation Officer at Schréder commented “It was a real pleasure working with the team of LAVA. The LAVA team was really interested in our company, our sector, our challenges and our opportunities. In a very short timeframe they were able to understand our business drivers. This ability especially together with their strong expertise has led to a good IT strategic plan. Very professional!”

Working jointly with Schréder has been very enriching and rewarding for LAVA. The project was challenging, with a global scope and impact, and right in the context of smart lighting and energy. A crossroads where we like to be challenged.

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ENGIE adapts its Settlement & DAM environment to the MIG6 protocol with the help of LAVA

Within the Settlement & DAM department, which deals with the processing of allocation, reconciliation, grid processing and reporting, the change to MIG6 (*) requires major changes. Their implementation involves a series of steps: the establishment of blueprints, the definition of tests, validation of developments. All this in several phases and iterations.


The complexity of the field requires active and in-depth knowledge as well as operational experience of current market processes complemented by an understanding of the influence of MIG6 on these processes. At LAVA we have found the right support.


LAVA contributed to the achievement of our objectives by respecting the tense schedule that the project schedule imposed on us. Thanks to the fast integration of LAVA into our teams of specialists, we were able to write our blueprints without a hitch. Support during development and validation tests enabled the team to work agilely on short cycles, integrated into a global schedule.


In the margins, with the help of LAVA, we were able to identify certain elements of the value chain that will require specific attention for the transition to MIG6 and thus prepare the necessary actions for their evolution.


Olivier Langaskens Metering, Settlement & Reporting Manager at ELECTRABEL ENGIE GROUP

(*) Note by LAVA: Protocol of exchange between the various actors in the electricity and gas world in Belgium (suppliers, managers of distribution networks, transmission system operators). In this way, a central register of access points is kept up to date, and the parties concerned receive the necessary information (such as counting data).


VMA strengthens its strategic market position

LAVA helps VMA clustering its four electro technical service providers to empower its market position

Technology is evolving quickly, impacting many businesses and markets around the world. Companies that fail to adapt are ultimately squeezed out of the market either by a slow death or a takeover. In recent years this evolution encouraged many large electro technical service providers to change strategy and evolve into total solution providers.

CFE, one of Belgian’s largest industrial groups, with multiple technical service providers) understood this game like no other.

Incited by VMA, CFE decided to empower its market position in electro technical services by clustering the four legal entities Nizet, Vanderhoydoncks, VMA and VMA West. The goal is to create one strong electro technical total solution provider with a structure well suited for future regional and international growth and capable of securing a top market position.

For this cluster to become a success, one team needed to be built, with a shared strategy, a clear execution plan and a solid base of support. Often one or more of these components are forgotten or neglected leading to below expectation performance and results. Guy Wynendaele, managing director of VMA, and CFE (the holding company behind VMA) were well aware that a strategy is only as successful as its execution and called upon LAVA to help avoid this pitfall.

Once the goal was translated into a clear strategic objective, ten intense weeks followed to build “the VMA Cluster”, a joint effort of the four entities and LAVA.

LAVA interviewed key employees, performed organization scans and facilitated multiple workshops with a selection of people of each company to define the VMA Cluster. Together we defined one common strategy, organization structure, mission, culture, and plan of execution supported by senior management to attain the set goal.

Everyone was challenged to reach out to share ideas, hopes and fears. Through intense collaboration and several team building exercises one fully aligned, integrated management team was built based on mutual trust and openness, ready and energized to execute their strategy.

In the coming year, LAVA continues to support the VMA Cluster to assure the operational plan is well executed and the set objectives are achieved in a timely and durable manner, keeping track of progress and making necessary adjustments along the way.

Exciting times ahead.

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LAVA’s February’s off-site – 2017

This month’s off-site took place in Antwerp. The Locker Room ( is an inspiring hide-away close to the Schelde Docks. It’s a trendy loft, decorated and furnished like a meeting room, one you would like to have at home, with lounge chairs, bookshelves with interesting literature and a great Brainstorm Wall.

I arrive first, by far. Something that can be considered as unprecedented. Bit by bit, my colleagues drop in and the walking diner starts, delicious, homemade vegetarian finger food.

Luc De Keyser, LAVA’s Managing Partner, walks us through LAVA’s year-to-date financials, project updates and sales opportunities. Every team gives a status update on LAVA’s Shared Objectives (Shared Objectives do motivate LAVA people much more than individual goals, read our December2016 off-site article for more details). Then, it’s Jorn’s turn. He gives us a heads up about Operational Excellence. As a (recently awarded) Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and LAVA’s Service Champion for Operational Excellence, Jorn takes the lead for this service offering and represents the rich experience LAVA has to offer in this domain, in a service context as well as production environment, for large and small companies. Measuring is the fil rouge in operational excellence. Measuring of quality and time, to make sure changes in processes, roles and responsibilities are done for the better. A very inspiring topic. Follow our social media to stay up to date.

Last on the agenda is ‘Discover your colors’. It’s a methodology that, based on four colors (green, yellow, red and blue) gives insights in your beliefs and perception, why you see things the way you do. It helps to understand why others see the same things differently. It teaches you what your energy drivers and drainers are. The most interesting aspect is the insight of how you can improve the quality of your collaboration and communication, how you can have more impact on colleagues, clients, anyone, just by adapting your approach to their colors. For the sake of silo thinking and for fun we split the group according to the four primary colors. This shows that LAVA is predominantly blue and red, a lot of structured, super organized people and a lot of leaders, driven by action. Luckily everyone is a blend of colors. Green and yellow are less present in numbers within LAVA, but they don’t go unnoticed!

In between sessions, Edwin, utilities expert and talented photographer takes pictures for updates on LAVA’s social media.

We finish the evening with a drink at the bar and go home inspired.

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LAVA & Sibelga

Sibelga launches New PCM, with support of LAVA

Sibelga, the distribution grid operator of Brussels, decided in 2014 to replace their old system managing the protected customers by a new system to cope with MIG6 compliancy, digital archiving, enhanced financial accounting and extensive legal, financial and management reporting. The old system was decommissioned and replaced with a new solution based on an SAP backbone, but with a profound integration between SAP and other applications such as SharePoint and Haugazel (CRM & Billing application of Haulogy). The new application went successfully live on the originally planned date in Nov 2016.

How LAVA helped?

Sibelga asked LAVA to manage the Migration & Transition and to manage the Integration.

Migration and Transition was paramount for the success of this project, but multiple challenges had to be faced: more than 10 years of data, specific processes for Brussels, lots of data transformations, multiple source and target systems and important interdependencies between those systems. LAVA’s s goal was to minimize as much of the risk as possible by taking responsibility for:

  • Definition of the migration strategy;
  • Planning, budget and scope of the migration track;
  • Testing and quality assurance of migrated data by use of the available BI tools;
  • Step by step transition planning and coordination of the Go Live.

As for the Integration track, the challenge was equally steep. Seven internal and external systems and/or parties needed to be integrated to cover the required functionalities. LAVA acted as integration lead and was responsible for:

  • Coordination, follow-up and communication about system integration;
  • Design and implementation of a document management process which reached from Haugazel, via SAP to a third party print shop and archiving in SharePoint;
  • Planning of all integration activities with impact on and from the many involved parties inside and outside Sibelga;
  • Set-up of a logging and monitoring solution to ensure the integrity of all integration flows.

Project outcome

A very good understanding and cooperation was established between the LAVA and the Sibelga project team. Thanks to this teamwork and the firm commitment of the Sibelga management the predetermined Go Live date was respected.

After having ramped up the functionalities of the new solution, expected business benefits started to be visible:

  • Increased flexibility for the billing of different types of clients;
  • A more transparent accounting possible;
  • Client documents are now being digitally archived and easily accessible to business users.

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Celebrating The New Year!

January is the month for celebrations. At least at LAVA. For this month’s off-site we gather at the lovely ‘Jour de Fête’ in Ghent. Socializing is key at this evening. We raise glasses in a toast to a new and successful year.

Our off-site is the ideal moment to put our two new colleagues, David and Lisa, in the spotlight. Like every new colleague, they get their five minutes of fame. Five minutes to introduce themselves in an original and creative way. For their five minutes, David and Lisa join forces and enthusiasm.

Through a series of pictures and tough questions, we need to sketch the profile of our new colleagues. It’s a quiz, and a competition, but also the perfect way to get to know them better. We learn that David is an avid kickboxer and likes to travel the world, while Lisa is the oldest in a family of seven and gives heart and soul for her youth movement. Together with Jorn and Jeroen, I am part of the winning team. I admit that intensive collaboration with David during his first two weeks might have given us an edge over the competition.

In a jolly atmosphere we are guided to our table,  richly decorated with the new LAVA branding material. We enjoy a delightful dinner.

Do you need help with setting a business strategy, implementing this strategy in your day-to-day operations, with improving operational excellence or business process optimization, don’t hesitate to contact us via!

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Google Glass – Inspiring business opportunities

During the LAVA Off-site meeting in November we were introduced to Google Glass, with live demonstrations and a multitude of possible applications for the business world. The Ghelamco Arena turned out to be the perfect venue for another inspiring meeting.

In short, Google Glass is a smart pair of glasses. A portable on your nose which projects information on a small screen just above your right eye. As a user you control your glasses with your voice or via a touchpad, incorporated in the frame of the glasses. With the touchpad you can scroll through a menu to display messages, play music, take pictures and videos.

The potential applications are almost endless. For example, you can read your emails or let them be read aloud, follow news postings and activate your GPS. In a professional context, Google Glass meanwhile delivers promising results leading to a higher quality of work and results.

Workers in production plants now receive digital work instructions via their Google Glass. Forget about paper-based instructions and monitoring. The maintenance engineer high in the mast of a windmill in the North Sea sends via Google Glass images to his fellow expert, watching and helping from his office 1.200 kilometers away.

LAVA monthly off-site meeting november

Also in utilities countless applications exist. Think of reading and real-time digital processing of meter readings. The work of a field engineer working on water or electricity installations or the stock levels of spare parts which can be updated from the field in real time. Tasks which are becoming easier with digital instructions via Google Glass.

Google Glass will improve the quality of work and business results significantly.

Looking for help to optimize processes and improve business results?

Please contact us.

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Let me out!

The place where we meet for the LAVA’s December Off-site, located in the heart of Brussels. Everyone is nicely on time. No wonder, because not on time, means being locked out.

We start the evening classically with a sip and a bite. Afterwards we move to the tiniest meeting room ever, where teams give updates on their ‘shared objective projects’. At LAVA, we work with shared objectives, instead of individual objectives. This year’s themes are, amongst others, Branding, Service Portfolio and LAVA to the cloud. People team up and work along the year to reach their targets. All objectives are interlinked; in order to get the highest quality teams need to reach out to each other and collaborate. So this is how ‘Shared objectives’ is a fixed topic in each monthly off-site’s agenda.

Then it is time to get introduced to the Escape Game. There are three escape rooms: the Prison Cell, the Space Shuttle and Alice in Wonderland. We split up in three teams. Each team gets locked up in a room and has exactly 60 minutes to breaking into codes, to solve mysteries, puzzles and riddles. I am in team Prison Cell. The first minutes we spend, each on his own, looking for that first crucial hint that will lead to all other clues. Geert finds the first key and soon the team spirit is being built and we reach cruising speed. We look for tips in and outside the cell, using mirrors, sticks, books, a prehistoric cell phone, etc. In the exact 60st minute we hear the clicking of the cell door being unlocked. This is such a fun team game! In the bar, we meet up with the other two teams enjoying their drinks. A great off-site, an inspiring evening!

If you want to hear more about LAVA, our shared objectives, or team building activities, please contact me at


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LAVA plays with Lego Serious Play

During the off-site of October, we played. With Lego blocks. Saint-Nicolas had nothing to do with it. We wanted to get acquainted with a new way of sharing ideas and opinions within our team and to come to a common solution with everyone’s support. It started off a bit strange, but after some warming up, we got into a flow!

The key question of the night was: “In what way can we connect our colleagues in a stronger way, even if most of them are working at a client site for 95% of their time?”. Nico, the workshop facilitator, guided us to formulating our answer in gradual steps. For each question, my colleagues and I were literally building our answer. After a few minutes, everyone got the opportunity to explain their work of art.

The Lego blocks sparked a lot of imagination and creativity. My colleague, Edwin, kept his structure rather abstract. In his story, each block had a clear and specific role and meaning. Geert preferred to create high structures, while Mathieu gave the gear wheel a central spot. Jorn consistently chose a continuously turning wheel. Each personal story clarified why the builder made certain decisions.

LAVA plays with Lego Serious Play during monthly off-site meeting of October

LAVA plays with Lego Serious Play during monthly off-site meeting of October

When you were lacking inspiration at some point, then you could just start experimenting with the block, and the rest would follow!

The real power of Lego Serious Play is that it includes all participants. It’s impossible to hide! Moreover, through visualizing your ideas, they are remembered better. In addition, the individual structures can be easily connected to each other, so you can really build towards a common solution!

At the end of the night, we came to the realization that our individual view on the company goals is quite similar, also the way we want to reach that goal as a group. It was surprising to see how each personal story got a certain level of objectivity by expressing yourself with the help of a concrete structure. Your self-constructed object does the talking for you, and this helps to discuss sensitive ideas or issues!

With the simple click of a camera, ideas could be captured to share them afterwards with the colleagues that couldn’t make it to the off-site.

Lego Serious Play was a lot of fun, and we shared a good part of laughter and, the colleagues got to know each other better! In summary, a good off-site meeting, and a successful Lego experience.

Some tips when trying Lego Serious Play:

  • Define a clear scope or question
  • Use open-ended questions during the workshop
  • Take picture and make a poster of the building process and the end result
  • Film the workshop to capture the stories behind the structures
  • Put the final construction on a central location in the office

Definitely consider Lego Serious Play when preparing a workshop! If you want some help with the preparation or organization of your workshop, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to help!