Combining forces on the merger platform

Customer stories | Municipality of Altena

Gemeente Altena

Aalburg, Werkendam, and Woudrichem merged on January 1, 2019. The new Municipality of Altena opened a digital platform called ‘Het Plein,’ where 400 colleagues and external parties meet to share information and exchange knowledge. The Fellow intranet serves as the basis for easy and substantive collaboration in an environment that guides the upcoming merger smoothly.


The old situation

400 employees in 3 municipalities had their own working methods and used various (outdated) tools and systems for communication and information sharing. As they merge, they want one platform where working groups can easily collaborate.

The solution

A secure and user-friendly platform that is easy to use, quick to set up, and facilitates not only collaboration but also information sharing. The Fellow intranet (formerly known as Viadesk) meets all these criteria.

The result

Everyone is findable for each other Working groups do everything on the platform Email traffic drastically reduces Safe collaboration, even with external parties Creates engagement among colleagues

New tasks, new collaboration

Municipalities are increasingly receiving more tasks from the national government. Care, education, building maintenance: all themes they are going to manage themselves. The three Brabant municipalities Aalburg, Werkendam, and Woudrichem found that their administrative capacity was becoming too small. Therefore, they decided to 'do it together' from now on. To guide this merger smoothly, they looked for a joint digital platform: a modern social intranet.

“Our rule is: no emailing! Everything must go through the intranet.

Janneke Romijn, communication advisor & webmaster

The search for a suitable solution

“Google docs, Dropbox, i-Babs... everyone had their own system,” says Janneke Romijn, communication advisor & webmaster at the Municipality of Werkendam. “That's logical but not very convenient if you need to collaborate. We briefly considered SharePoint, but it is far too complicated. And emailing only causes inconvenience and miscommunication. From the communications department, we searched for a tool that:

is quick to implement, is very easy to use, facilitates collaboration, enables knowledge sharing, is secure! Various solutions were reviewed in a market survey. Janneke: “We attended webinars, visited events, and received briefings through demos. We invited vendors to give presentations. We especially focused on security (very important: data leaks), functionality, and price. Ultimately, we wrote a recommendation based on Fellow Digitals' offer.”

The Fellow intranet is a SaaS product, in the cloud. Any objections?

“No, we already work fully in the cloud. We discussed security extensively, of course. It is well arranged. You have to look at the security level, but no personal data such as BSN numbers will be on our intranet. Some people have 'sensitive' documents they want to keep private and not visible to everyone. This is also well managed.”

Can you tell something about the implementation and adoption?

“The implementation was very fast. Everything was up and running in 3 weeks! No extensive user sessions were needed. To engage everyone with the platform, we wrote an implementation plan, with target groups, where the 'resistance' points are, and how we can address them. The approach was mainly to introduce it to new users in a 'fun' way. Not a different way of working, but a better way. Social.”

“Adoption is an essential part of the implementation plan. We started with a mini-campaign. With information, a newsletter, an announcement email, posters, an email from the secretary, flyers on the desks, instructions, a selfie wall for photos. Three communications employees are daily active as community managers. What do they do? Monitor, guide, direct, encourage people, post tips, check groups. I think many organizations underestimate this important task. For a social intranet and its success, it is indispensable.”

Gemeente Altena

What are the first results?

The Municipality of Altena has now been busy collaborating, sharing knowledge, and communicating via Fellow intranet for a few months. What are the first reactions and findings? “It is going well,” says Janneke. “We are really satisfied. We still receive new sign-ups every day. The beginning was very fast, then there was a bit of a dip. But of the 400 colleagues, 320 are now active on the platform.”

The danger is that people fall back into old habits or continue to use old systems. “Our rule is: no emailing! Everything must go through the intranet,” says Janneke. “We now regularly receive questions by email. Often, we cannot answer them because they belong elsewhere. Our advice to that employee: post your question on Het Plein! With a 'mention,' the people who have that information are directly notified. They can then easily, quickly, and substantively answer your question. The vacancies are now linked from the old intranet to Het Plein. This further stimulates usage. The intention is that we only share information through the new platform.”

How do you measure the success of Het Plein?

“We evaluate very consciously. We have now met 3 times to discuss progress, reactions, and usage. We repeat this monthly and periodically with a larger group (including users). In our implementation plan, we defined the following metrics:

how many people sign up? how many people are active? how many groups are created? what activity takes place in the groups? “Initially, we said: at least 60% of users must sign up and 80% of the groups must be active. Then the platform is a success. We are working hard towards that. And if something doesn't work, we switch to plan B, like with the green service. They are not online very often. So we just go by to explain. Just personal contact, old school. We are happy with our choice for Fellow Digitals. The first results are very positive, even the aldermen are now publishing!”

Hans Koekkoek

Business Development Manager

Hans Koekkoek

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