Lucas Education is a dynamic and committed education board caring for a total of almost 3,600 staff and 33,700 pupils. With that comes the necessary administration.
"The documents were previously stored unstructured on the server and supplemented in a similarly unstructured way with documents from the mail registration system (via scanning plus metadata) and information from the meeting system iBabs. Each employee filed these documents in his/her own way. This made it difficult to find the right version. Since then, processes, procedures and information flows have been linked, structured and brought further under control with M-Files, implemented by GeONE".
Culture of network drives
Findability and accessibility of information were the main reasons for switching to a DMS.
Yde Bleeker, policy advisor for Business Process Management and project leader for the M-FilesImplementation: 'In the past, working with network drives organised by department worked well. Accountability, quality and (digital) sustainability are important topics of conversation in boardrooms these days. In addition to high-quality education, we certainly also want to maintain optimal quality in the (support of the) organisation and information provision. That forced us to intervene in the culture of network drives.'
Programme of requirements
In the old situation, incoming documents were scanned, provided with metadata (letter numbers, addressee, etc.) after which data subjects were provided with these documents via, among others iBabs could unlock. Documents that needed to be signed were printed out, passed by those involved, signed and then scanned again. Bleeker: 'That is a rather cumbersome way of making decisions and available. The staff and board management teams came to the conclusion, that implementing a suitable document management system (DMS) was the solution.'
We then drew up a Programme of Requirements for ourselves, which the new DMS should meet. From the offers, GeONE came out on top with M-Files. The ease of use and the search and find functionality particularly appealed. The system also had to be able to communicate with iBabs, our meeting system. However, the presentation at our site by GeONE was the final deciding factor. The project manager, Ronald van der Zon, showed great empathy for our situation. He explained the system, unfolded the plan of action and showed us the best way to go through the whole process. That got everyone excited.'
M-Files was also chosen by the users because of its innovative nature. Bleeker: 'The working method was most in line with what the users wanted. That is important, because people have to want to use a system. It is about accountability and retrievability, but users must also benefit directly from it.
Characteristic of M-Files is that information is stored based on 'what' it is rather than 'where' it is stored. Bleeker: 'That was precisely what appealed to us. There are plenty of documents within our organisation that could be stored in multiple files. Within M-Files the document is now linked to a file via links. When someone requests a file or creates a meeting folder containing documents on a specific topic, all the documents with that specific topic in them will come up. Even if they were already in another file. To achieve this, GeONE worked out the existing workflows to make the best use of M-Files.'
For implementation, GeONE works according to an iterative three-step plan: first, they talk to some of the key users to get a good idea of the processes and requirements. From there, the first process proposal is made. This is then discussed and gone through in a larger group, after which, after any adjustments, the final process proposal follows, as it will be set up in M-Files. Bleeker: 'That is the strength of GeONE. This way we were able to adjust the system per department according to need, so that the specific working method of that department was best supported by M-Files,' says Bleeker. 'We started with the Facilities Department, which is involved in about half of all documents.'
The quality of and grip on information provision and the availability of that information got a big 'boost' at Lucas Education with M-Files. The transition was not too bad for Bleeker. Probably also because we made the right choice with M-Files'.