On the 19th of September 2019, it was once again time for the SmartDocuments customer day! A large turnout of customers, partners and others gathered in the morning in the big reception hall of the Apenheul. The day was filled with news, experiences, chats and, of course, monkeys!
The day started with a meeting of the official SmartDocuments usergroup BeingSmart, led by SmartDocuments’ very own Robert Loppersum. The latest news and an overview of the past year were discussed. The BeingSmart members had already received some exciting news: the announcement of a 30-day development space reserved for BeingSmart! In addition, the chairman, Brian Kramer, relinquished his position to pursue challenges in another area. A new chairman was proposed: Heleen van Dokkumburg of the municipality Utrechtse Heuvelrug. The members gave their approval unanimously. So, congratulations Heleen!
Ready for the future
The sessions that followed on from BeingSmart were very much focused on the future. Topics that were discussed included Common Ground, the roadmap for 2020 and developments within SmartDocuments. Obviously, there was to look back, but what's more important for SmartDocuments and the customer is the future!
A great and enthusiastic speaker, Patrick van Veen, talked about similarities between our organisations and the various types of monkey found in the Apenheul. With a great deal of humour and some eye-opening anecdotes, the behaviour of monkeys was explained, and it became increasingly clear that we all behave in monkey-like ways in the office sometimes. Amusingly, some of our employees even recognised themselves at certain points. Patrick also gave an interesting account of the differing characteristics and Recognisable elements of monkeys and their behaviour. The explanation of group behaviour was particularly educational. Who knew that monkeys could have such a clear preference for working alone or in a group?
A bit of monkey watching
After taking in a lot of information about the behaviour of primates, it was time to start studying and really looking closely at them! We were divided into three smaller groups, each led by an expert on monkeys. All the facts that had just been learned were seen in the behaviour of the monkeys as the groups worked their way around the various areas of the beautiful Apenheul.
A long walk through the park was interspersed with a number of interesting knowledge sessions. Everyone present had the option of participating in two of the three sessions. The first session was in cooperation with our partner Evidos. This company specialises in certified digital signatures – a topic that is becoming hotter and hotter in the world of documents. During this session, the attendees heard about the possibilities offered by the product Ondertekenen.nl, and what it can do for a municipality. Of course, its integration with our own product was also discussed. The second session was devoted to BeingSmart, the benefits that can be gained by becoming a member and an explanation of the development time announced at the beginning of the day. We heard how to register, how to vote on proposals and what BeingSmart will be doing for its members in the future. The last session was an inspiring account of an efficient and well integrated SmartDocuments environment in the municipality of Utrechtse Heuvelrug. Heleen van Dokkumburg was speaking and showed from start to finish how the process of document creation and registration works in her organisation.
Everyone was welcomed into the large theatre for an exciting presentation on a subject that was, for many, quite futuristic: artifical intelligence. In addition to the history and meaning of A.I., we also heard about the work that one of our programmers had done in recent months within the field of A.I. in combination with SmartDocuments. To show how far the influence of A.I. can reach, a race was held: man versus A.I. Two SmartDocuments employees, one using human skills only, the other supported by A.I., had to make 1 template out of 50 documents. Obviously, A.I. turned out to be the clear winner. After the race, it was explained how an intelligent system can easily deal with around 90% of the template construction task by means of good algorithms and neural networks. In the future, there will be many more possibilities!
Closing and drinks
All in all, a fun and informative day! It was now time for networking over a drink and some delicious snacks. We took the time to catch up with all our customers and partners. Before leaving, the customers received a nice gift package that made a small nod to our earlier monkey experience. Once again, we would like to thank everyone: our customers, our partners, our employees, the staff of the Apenheul and, in particular, Patrick van Veen for his presence and enthusiasm. You all helped to make the day a special occasion! We hope to see you again next time! If you would like to take a little look back at the day, we have a movie for you (in Dutch):