The importance of good information management at AHOVOKS
- Flemish Government - AHOVOKS
- Various information management challenges
- A project-based, holistic approach by a team of experts to support information management policies within AHOVOKS
AHOVOKS (Agency for Higher Education, Adult Education, Qualifications and Study Grants) is the Flemish government agency working with education partners to promote lifelong learning for all. This agency consists of several departments including the Higher and Adult Education Department. Together with Zeticon, a new SharePoint architecture was worked out for a pilot process within that department. The aim of this project is to be able to start working in an analogous way for other processes of the department after the implementation of this new environment itself, thus optimising information management.
The department was struggling with several information management challenges. Due to the size of the department and its many different processes, information was hugely fragmented. For instance, much of their information was stored on different standalone SharePoints with their own logic. This meant that employees could not always quickly find correct and complete information about a particular file. Opportunities for smooth collaboration within SharePoint were not fully exploited.
In addition, the information on the SharePoint environment was insufficiently structured. When it was set up, it was mainly based on the organisational structure instead of the processes. In addition, the management team did not have a helicopter view of all processes.
All this highlighted the need for a new SharePoint management environment as a central collaboration tool and document management system:
where efficient collaboration on files can take place, with maximum user-friendliness for the end user;
where the relationship with process-specific applications is completely clear;
where the information is maximally accessible, structured and retrievable. This for both process owners and other employees involved;
where all information is stored within the correct context, so that file creation and management are efficient and correct;
which is fully compliant with the serial register, the global vision of opinion information management of the Flemish government.
Zeticon's goal in this project is to support our customer by developing a working method to move from the current architecture with different environments of the department to one new management environment in SharePoint. This working method will be developed in such a way that, after completing a pilot process, it can then be implemented for the department's other processes.
To support AHOVOKS in their information management policy, Zeticon used a project-based, holistic approach focusing on several key objectives. This involves setting up a clear step-by-step plan:
Step 1: Preparation phase
First of all, an inventory of the current situation took place. Here, our team mainly does information gathering and analysis using desktop research. Here, the information management team looks for answers to the following questions:
- What processes are in place?
- How is work currently carried out?
- What tasks and series can we expect?
These questions also form the basis for our information matrix and the questionnaire serves as a guide for the next step in the project.
Step 2: Intensive workshops
After preparing the information matrix, the team organises several workshops to map the processes. These workshops are organised for different teams within the department to get the broadest possible picture of the current situation.
The information managers then work on this. The result is a mind map showing the links and ramifications between the processes. The mind map is refined with the client to streamline the information.
This mind map is very important because it becomes the backbone of the new SharePoint environment. The environment is now based entirely on processes rather than organisational structure.
Step 3: Setting up SharePoint environment
To set up the SharePoint in a structured way, we started from an empty SharePoint environment that was set up with an external technical partner.
Step 4: Testing
A test environment is provided for the customer to test the workflow. In this phase, the customer exercises intensively with the aim of providing feedback to further optimise the structure. Any problems and shortcomings are resolved and worked out and the test environment is then put into use.
Step 5: Evaluation, follow-up and support
Our team actively monitors the migration and commissioning of the environment through a round of evaluation and after-care. We are in close contact with the ambassadors within the pilot process to get a good picture of the use and acceptance of the new approach.
We then embed (follow-up on) the daily use of the environment. We communicate specifically to employees on how to use the newly created SharePoint environment, providing tips they specifically need.
An efficient SharePoint environment was set up and fully developed for one pilot process of the Higher and Adult Education Department of AHOVOKS. The new architecture allows the various teams to work together better. Files can be shared, edited and retrieved flawlessly.
Before, not all SharePoint's capabilities were fully exploited, which did not promote smooth document collaboration. A successful implementation requires an integral approach. Through a new, well thought-out structure for the SharePoint of the pilot process, information can be better contextualised and retrieved. This makes it more accessible for users to get started with it.
The consultancy we offered was only for the teams working on the chosen pilot process and the department's information managers. The aim is that they will now share this knowledge internally such that the department's other processes will be tackled in the same way and then also added to the SharePoint environment set up. So we ensure that during this process, maximum knowledge sharing is possible.
The internal team at AHOVOKS now has the necessary knowledge, capstans and methods to roll out the project to the entire department afterwards. To make this easier, the Zeticon team created a roadmap. This explains the process in clear steps so that the customer always has a handle on the next steps they take.
The close collaboration from start to finish and the input from different teams and people responsible will also ensure that the new way of working will be sustainably supported throughout the agency's department.