trade union NVD
professionalization with Ponthus
Ponthus’ customer base is very diverse and we are proud of that. It is extra nice to be able to welcom ea trade association. This project concerns the NVD, the Dutch Association of Executive and Management Supporters. This is a national network of professionals in management support, with the aim of sparring with colleagues in order to find connection, growth, innovation and depth in the profession of management support. The NVD asked for support in setting up their Microsoft Office365 and Microsoft Teams and thus making all relevant information easily accesible and manageable.
Of course the project team met digitally via Teams!
Take a look behind the scenes of this project and get to know some of the members of the project group (the project group consists of 7 members from the NVD and 1 person from Ponthus, this interview was held with some members).
A short introduction:
- Ella van Zaal, regional director of the NVD (South Holland), is a management assistant at the SER, the Social Economic Council.
- Cynthia Heerink, the secretary of the NVD and working via her own company, Luna office and project management, as project and management support.
- Cindy Huizen, a member of the NVD for twenty years and works at Ponthus a a Service Delivery Manager. She is the connecting factor in this project group and actually operated for both sides.
- Paul Huls, who works as a project manager at Ponthus.
The NVD used a secretariat office that performed tasks such as membership administration, financial administration and answering questions from members. This office also took care of the Document Management System (DMS). Ella van Zaal: “All together it was a major expense. In addition, we were forced to extensively use Microsoft Teams during the start of Covid. We therefore felt that this was the time to start collaborating more digital and we also felt the need to be able to easily share documents, without these documents being stored on various local laptops and PCs.
We investigated what possibilities Microsoft Teams could offer for the NVD. We started a project and asked our members who was able to help us to realize this ambition. Cindy was one of the members who volunteered enthusiastically. With a small project group (Ella van Zaal, Cindy Huizen, Ynske Heeringa (NVD member) and Madelon Gouman (regional team member) we listed our demands and requirements and searched for three companies that could meet these. We asked them to submit an propasal and pitch their solution.”
After the different pitches of the three organizations the project group made a decision and presented it to the board of the NVD. Ponthus was chosen. The project group was expanded with Cynthia, who would have the role as secretary during the rollout of this project. In addition, a PR & Communication board member (Jolanda van Driel) and a regional team member (Marianne de Proost) joined the project group. The project group represented a cross-section of the NVD members. Cindy already knew from her work at Ponthus how important sufficient support for this project would be throughout the entire association. “It’s very important, because it also requires a change in behaviour.”
On the other hand, this was also an interesting assignment for Ponthus. For example, the consultants of Ponthus usually deal with dashboards for data mangement, developing digital strategies, or improving work processes. “We regularly take care of implementations, especially ERP, Data warehouse and Business Intelligence. This required quite a bit of flexibility from us, given the working hours. After all, the NVD members perform the work in addition to their daily work, so often in the evenings and weekends. The double role of Cindy was also interesting. She kept a very close eye on the interest of the NVD,” says Paul.
This double role could also have been difficult, Cindy admits. “It was great to experience how Ponthus’ treats their customers from the other side of the table. Sometimes I felt the need to step back and watch the process from the side. It was very educational and fun. I see how my professional colleagues have grown in digitization and in efficiency. And so the NVD really progressed.”
Paul tells about the Ponthus approach. “We have drawn up a schedule, which we filled in according to the specific wishes of the NVD. For example, what should the technical basis look like in the future? The NVD has discussed it internally with their users. Based on the outcome we made a functional design of the solution. We gave workshops to the board and the users on how to use Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. Besides that we delivered a ‘Keep it alive’ plan to ensure that the solution can continue to be used without the Ponthus support. We carefully looked at where the documents were stored, how the folders are put together and started implementing step by step.”
The assignment for this project was to support a total of 58 people from the board and regional authorities. Everyone participated in the workshops. As a pilot, Cynthia set up a board meeting entirely using SharePoint Teams. “Yes, old means of communication were no longer in use a week after we started. Everyone was pretty dedicated. We are under a fairly new board and we have experienced how fragmented all the information was”, Ella notes. “Now we immediately see how nice it is that you can find everything this easily,” she says. Cindy agrees: “There are changes in positions every few years. Basic documents are now stored in a central place. It becomes a lot easier for a new colleague to get on board.”
Cynthia notes that the weekly meetings to discuss the next steps is experienced as very pleasant. Everyone in the project team participated well in their ole and there was a lot of mutual trust in the different parties. “And if something didn’t work out as planned, we discussed and resolved it together,” says Ella. The difficulty lies in the dommunication. We weren’t on the same wavelength all the time when it came to technical concepts, but in the end it all worked out.
There were also a few special moments, such as the migration of all the NVD mailboxes to the Microsoft Office 365 suite. An inventory of old mailboxes had been made and compared with the new structure and the new mailboxes have been created in Office 365. It got exciting when the migration really had to be done. Of course some things didn’t go as planned, but those things got resolved in good harmony with the help of the NVD network. “We expected some members to be hesitant to let go of their old mailbox structure, so we expected some resistance to the mailbox migration. But that didn’t happen at all. In fact, we only received positive reactions, like: “We are going to work even more efficiently together, great!” That was a great compliment for us. Everyone immediately saw the added value,” says Ella.
Ella mentions another great advantage of the new working method. “Every region has a key user. The key users are enthusiastic people who are a bit further advanced than the average user. They are designated to support their regional members. The enthusiasm of the key users directly showed in the first key user meeting. One of the key users shown how they were using Planner within their team. And those examples are exactly why we are an association: so that we can learn from each other.” Cynthia adds: “What is also a nice result is that everyone takes all these new experiences with them to their own workplace or their own organization.”
Was it different for Ponthus to work for a trade association instead of another (regular) company?
Paul: “The trade associaton perform activities in addition to its regular work. Business meetings are therefore also held during the weekend and after regular office hours. The NVD is very committed. You don’t always find this commitment in other organizations.”
Ella: “Everyone was very professional and we complemented each other nicely. The mix of various people works well.” Soon, when it’s possible again, the entire project teams wants to get together. They really only saw each other online.”
We can look back on a great project and are satisfied with the result. What does the future have in store? “Let’s get some experience with all the tools and possibilities we have at our disposal,” says Ella.