Gertjan Stoker, Financieel director UW
Industry: human resources
Outdated systems and applications, proliferation of documents and an in-house IT department that no longer met today’s requirements. For UW, a sheltered employment facility based in Utrecht, a transition to a digital working environment was needed to improve cooperation between colleagues and business partners. By introducing Office 365, SharePoint Online and a social intranet, Cegeka provided the company with a future-proof IT environment. Gertjan Stoker, CFO at UW, tells us the story.
‘Our mission is to help people who have difficulties finding a job with their personal development. These people may be affected by all kinds of disadvantages: a mental or physical disability, unemployment or burn-out. Sometimes the position is temporary, sometimes permanent. UW helps these people regain their self-esteem by finding a job for them. They participate, they are paid, and they are part of society again. Everyone enters our office with a smile.’
‘UW is a private limited company with the municipality of Utrecht as the sole shareholder. Profits are reinvested in the company. In the competitive markets in which we operate, you have to constantly take a critical look at your own organization. In this context, we implemented a strategic reorientation in 2013, and asked ourselves the following questions: What are we good at? What should we be focusing on?
‘At the time, we had our own IT department, our own systems and we also took care of backups ourselves. Everything was managed by two older employees who were part of a sheltered employment programme. That made us vulnerable. At UW, we want to grow, but the way things were happening – we had to be honest about that – we were not able to keep up with developments. That’s when we came to a clear realisation: we are not IT experts. We then decided to outsource our infrastructure to Cegeka.’
‘At the same time, our applications also left a lot to be desired. We had quite a number of “silos”. Data and documents were stored everywhere and nowhere, and there was no link between the applications and our intranet. We analysed the options that were feasible and desirable. We focused on our desire to improve mutual cooperation between colleagues and with customers. On this basis, we drew up a requirements programme and put the contract out for tender.’
‘We were very impressed with Cegeka’s offer. The proposal showed a sound approach. It was very well elaborated, you could almost see it in front of you. If you have been working in the IT field for years, as I have been, and you speak to many vendors, then you know that all of them are capable of delivering great solutions. I have learned to take that with a grain of salt, and to continue asking questions. The proposal often doesn’t turn out to be as great as it first seemed. Cegeka listened carefully to our needs and requirements. They succeeded in presenting the complex problems as manageable components.’
Then Cegeka migrated all UW locations to Microsoft Office 365, including SharePoint Online for optimal cooperation between colleagues and teams. With Pulse – a solution from partner Synigo – the sheltered employment company (three offices, 1,200 employees) received a modern intranet, with personalized pages for each department and links to social media. The incoming invoice flow was also digitized, and UW customers were given access to new, advanced customer portals.
As Gertjan explains, ‘Cegeka's digital working environment has made our lives a lot easier. Our cooperation has improved significantly, both internally with colleagues and externally with customers. We no longer have six different versions of documents in as many locations. We can work in files simultaneously and share them easily with each other. Communication has been streamlined. Thanks to centralization, files can also be better protected within the framework of the GDPR.’
‘But not everything went flawlessly right away. Our employees had to get used to the new working environment. So we want to take some more steps when it comes to user adoption. Our own first-line helpdesk was also still in operation after the migration to Office 365, which created some issues. We have now also outsourced the helpdesk to Cegeka. I would like to reduce the complexity even further. In recent years, Cegeka has certainly proven its potential, and that’s very promising for the future.’