Klaverblad Verzekeringen is a Dutch cooperative insurance company that was founded in 1850 and is well known from its commercials with the tag line ‘Als je maar lang genoeg gewoon blijft, word je vanzelf bijzonder’, which may be roughly translated as: ‘If you remain ordinary for long enough, eventually you become extraordinary’. To share knowledge and information, employees have access to a knowledge base with a large number of documents, including work instructions and manuals, as well as documents on policy and procedures. The insurer uses a knowledge management system for storing and sharing these documents that has seen its best days. Besides the fact that the system Klaverblad Verzekeringen uses is outdated and no longer adequate, from the end of the year its management will also no longer be supported.
Klaverblad started to look for an alternative and ended up at Macaw, a Microsoft Gold Partner. The preference was to switch to Microsoft SharePoint because of its good fit with already existing Microsoft applications. Because Macaw has already successfully implemented SharePoint in many other similar organizations, the decision was quickly made. Jacomijn Fluks, Manager Project and Portfolio Management at Klaverblad Verzekeringen, was not directly involved with the decision but was responsible for the SharePoint project during its initial phase. She was completely in favor of the decision and has this to say about it: “Ten years ago while still with my previous employer, I was involved in a SharePoint implementation and we also worked with Macaw at the time. Based on my previous experience it was therefore only logical to ask Macaw to help us.”
Modern cooperation platform
In the end the decision went beyond just the implementation of Microsoft Share Point. On the recommendation of Macaw, Klaverblad Verzekeringen also installed Microsoft Teams. “Macaw provided us with excellent advice and support throughout. Although we were hesitant to start with, they managed to persuade us that it would be a useful addition and showed us its benefits, such as facilitating cooperation and making communication more efficient,” says Jacomijn.
After selecting SharePoint and Macaw, a basic structure was created and then three teams started to work with the new solutions in a pilot setting. Because many of the staff were unfamiliar with both solutions, to start with the questions were along the lines of: How does SharePoint work exactly? How do I share files in Microsoft Teams? And, how can I work in different documents at the same time?
“It soon became clear that working together in Microsoft Teams offers added value and Macaw’s recommendation was a good one,” says Jacomijn. That people unfamiliar with the solutions and opportunities offered by Teams and SharePoint were saying this, was most encouraging. Departments often have to work together and mails and documents are constantly being sent back and forth between them. The goal is that this should become more efficient. “And then merging several locally-saved Excel sheets, for example, will hopefully become a thing of the past,” Jacomijn laughs.
The Microsoft communication and cooperation platform will make the repeated mailing of documents redundant because later links can simply be shared and the information remains the same for everyone. And SharePoint is a great replacement for the present knowledge base.
Klaverblad is currently managing the roll out which should be completed by the end of 2021. And even though it takes some time and effort to get used to it, people are looking forward to the new way of working and being able to share information and knowledge.
“The Macaw teams have provided us with great support so far,” says Jacomijn. “They kept up the pressure so we always made the necessary progress to meet the deadline. We definitely had to keep at it. It’s not such that everything is contracted out, you have to do a lot yourself. Which is fine, and there is always room for advice and support. The people at Macaw could always provide us with good answers to our questions, for example, on the archiving and security of documents. There was also a helpdesk function available. Using the Macaw channel we could ask questions in the chat which were quickly answered.”
Because clear explanations and proper training are necessary to ensure that the roll out to the rest of the organization is successful, Klaverblad will now be repeating that step. It has been decided not to use the train-the-trainer principle, as originally planned. “With a workforce of 450 people we are not a huge organization and do not always have sufficient capacity to provide good training ourselves. Therefore, we have opted to have the training carried out by experts with knowledge of SharePoint and Teams,” explains Jacomijn. “The first hour, which covers the Klaverblad policy and ‘how we want to work’, we handle ourselves internally. This also helps to create the acceptance necessary for the introduction of a new way of working. We are looking forward to when we can all work together in Teams, as well as communicate and exchange information in SharePoint. In any event, the initial feedback from the pilot teams is very promising.”