In 2018, a tremendous amount changed at GGD regio Utrecht: new devices (including smartphones), the development of a new electronic patient record, Embrace as social intranet combined with Office365 and Liquit. In 2019, GGD regio Utrecht (GGDrU) will begin working on the programme ‘De basis op orde’ (Getting the basics right). Their aim is that employees will be able to work together anywhere, any time, so how can a digital workplace support them in this?
Internal communication can be a challenge for organisations, so the same also goes for GGDrU, where over 700 employees are working at over 60 different locations.
In particular, a communication channel was needed that could be used to contact all employees quickly and easily and which they could use to find each other easily and share information. There was also a need to provide colleagues with structured information in a simple manner. Michel Bosman and Anja Kreileman of GGDrU explain how they approached this.
The reality was that the IT environment was outdated and its replacement needed to be in keeping with the IT strategy – a future-proof digital workplace in which modules are easy to develop and replace. Like a type of Lego, with a start page that is easy to access and where information security comes first.
“The answer was Windows 10, and we were lucky that almost all of our applications were already web-based or in the cloud”, explains Michel Bosman of GGDrU.
“We sought a replacement for Citrix that would enable employees to work from anywhere, yet still have access to all applications. A solution that would enable our colleagues to share and view films, sound fragments and photos. The solution needed to be web-based and replace the current desktop. And then we thought, if we begin to do everything centrally, the new intranet will be able to serve as a start portal right away too!”
Michel: “We had a number of options. We could convert the old intranet and ensure that it would become part of the start portal, but it wasn’t flexible enough to do so. As things previously stood, people were able to click away the intranet right away, and that was something we wanted to prevent. By making sure that it is a start portal that offers access to all applications, employees no longer click it away. You need this start portal in order to do your work properly.”
“And this means that the start portal will also become a vital part of our structured and unstructured communication’, explains Anja Kreileman.
Liquit – an organization and solution that offers the workplace of the future, where applications, service and content are accessible from any device – was the solution for the start portal when it comes to sharing all applications.
We didn’t reach this solution all in one go, explains Michel: “We started by having a large application widget on the intranet’s home page, but the user test revealed that this had two major disadvantages. Firstly, the widget took up too much of the screen, so the messages on the timeline below were no longer in view. Secondly, when a user viewed the timeline and then wanted to start an application, it was necessary to scroll a lot, which was neither user-friendly nor made much sense.”
Michel: “We integrated Liquit’s solution in such a way that it resembles the Windows start button. After one click, a list opens up containing all the shortcuts from the application widget. The user experience for our colleagues therefore closely resembles what they are used to.”
“In October 2018, the first employees transferred to the new IT environment, and the rest of the organisation will transfer from 2019 onwards. We are still getting used to it”, explains Anja.
“Requests to e-mail an important message to all employees are still common, whereas the start portal is actually perfect for that, but people will get used to this over time. The Communication team also needs to make the organisation aware that a social intranet is the perfect tool for reducing e-mail traffic.”
“One real advantage, which is used a lot, is the GGDrU TV option, which the entire organisation is using. Even the MT (Management Team) records video messages and shares these with all of GGDrU.”
To ensure that the digital workplace continues to develop, an editorial committee was set up which focuses on the latest Embrace developments, often combined with Office365, a service which is important to us. The committee assesses the organisational objectives and the ‘De basis op orde (2019)’ (Getting the basics right) programme, which enables them to devise a new proposal for developing the portal, which in turn focuses on making life easier for the user.
“We want to include the follow-up in the programme once again, as this will gives us a good platform for communicating about it and thereby guiding the changes. We wanted to support the communication surrounding those changes by means of short films – something which wasn’t possible in the old IT environment.”
“Every house in the province of Utrecht is in principle a potential workplace.”
Based on the idea that every house in the province of Utrecht is in principle a potential workplace, the aim for 2019 is to harness the mobile integration (omnichannel). This means that everyone will soon actually be able to work wherever and whenever they like, and all via their own secure 4G GGDrU network.
Anja adds: “GGDrU is an organisation which has grown in a short space of time as a result of mergers, primarily as a result of State legislation. With employees from different organisations and backgrounds and with such a wide and varied range of tasks, it is vital to have a single channel you can use to contact employees easily and share information with one another.”
“A single platform for all communication, both formal and informal, for and by employees. Ultimately, the portal is a one-stop-shop! We are using it to facilitate every employee using the tools and applications he or she needs themselves.”
Both Anja and Michel wish to advise other organisations to set aside sufficient time to take employees along on this journey too and to help them, or help train them, on all the changes that are happening. It is also important to start with the basics and to expand gradually, adopting the concepts of ‘easily accessible’ and ‘intuitive’ as the basic starting points.
Michel adds “We continue to dream! Ultimately, the world needs to be in the position that if I want to share a document with Anja, I am able to click on her profile photo, drag the document into it and start a video chat right away. So even greater ease of use and opportunities for modern ways of working are required,” explains Michel.