"SmartDocuments is not a final product, it’s a product at the heart of your process"
It’s an all too familiar story for SmartDocuments: organizations looking for uniformity in their communication process. That was also the case with the Municipality of Velsen when they first visited SmartDocuments about ten years ago. The municipality was looking for a user-friendly system that could streamline all of their outgoing correspondence.
The Municipality of Velsen has now been working with SmartDocuments for many years. They operate not just one, but two SmartDocuments environments. One for the organization itself, and another for the Civil Affairs department. Over the past decade, the two environments have collectively generated over 700 templates. Bert Kremer, SmartDocuments application manager at the municipality, knows the system inside and out.
Bert Kremer, automation and application management at the Municipality of Velsen
Taking back control
‘Not under control’ is how Bert describes the communication process before using SmartDocuments. It was a time when everyone drafted their own letters, something that did not exactly improved the uniformity. Bert: "Every employee has their own way of writing, signing, etc. This meant that there was a lack of consistency in our outgoing correspondence. So, the question was: How do we ensure that everyone is communicating with the outside world in the same way?" This question eventually led the Municipality of Velsen to SmartDocuments. "SmartDocuments was a great fit to our systems. This is especially thanks to its ease of use, which we particularly appreciated when creating the templates. Also, the XML link made it easy to connect SmartDocuments to our existing software packages," emphasizes Bert.
"Dimpact and SmartDocuments are a perfect match"
A winning match: Dimpact & SmartDocuments
The Municipality of Velsen uses Dimpact as case management system. SmartDocuments knows this system well. And as far as Bert is concerned, the two are now inseparable. "Dimpact and SmartDocuments are a perfect match. You can’t have one without the other," he adds. SmartDocuments works great with the case management system, something that is particularly appealing to Bert: "All incoming correspondence goes through Dimpact and is incorporated into that system. The link with SmartDocuments can for example be used to send a confirmation of receipt directly out of Dimpact."
City hall Velsen
As the application manager, Bert creates the templates in SmartControl, which has recently been enhanced with a search function. This was a very welcome development. Bert: "For application managers, there are constantly new features coming out. The most recent one was the search function, a major advance! Now you can search for a word in your templates. The search function brings up a list of all the templates containing that word."
He has also experienced the added value in working with building blocks, which means that changes only need to be made once, as well as the SSO (single sign-on) function. "Working with building blocks saves an enormous amount of time. With the SSO function, you don’t need to keep logging in to each individual system. These days we have to enter a username and password for just about everything. If we can cut down on that, all the better," explains Bert. For him, the most important aspect is the continuous development offered by SmartDocuments: "There are a lot of new developments. Continuous progress, that’s something I can really get behind. Improvement is the main priority at SmartDocuments."
Passionate and personal
Bert: "SmartDocuments started small once upon a time, and its atmosphere is nothing like most large corporations. They visit you on site to install, configure and test your setup together with you. The approachable attitude of the people at SmartDocuments makes working together very pleasant."
In addition to the nice collaboration, Bert also enjoys the personal, no-nonsense approach. "If there’s an emergency or issue, they will move heaven and earth to solve it. You don’t see that too often. They’re really there for you as a client. And that's exactly where their true strength lies; they are always prepared to delve right in to solve problems. It doesn’t matter if it’s during the day, evening or weekend. They have a lot of passion for what they do."
"Improvement is the main priority at SmartDocuments"
Keep reaching out
The Municipality of Velsen is still 100% satisfied about its partnership with SmartDocuments. What exactly are the benefits? Bert: "A uniform appearance to the outside world. You get the same letter as your neighbour. It also greatly reduces errors in the letters. Take a difficult name, for instance. If it’s correctly put into the system, it’ll be spelled correctly in every single letter. The same goes for information like amounts for permit fees. Everything is set. This minimizes the risk of errors."
Bert has noticed that some users in the municipality still don’t fully realize how convenient the software could be for them. "I sometimes still have to encourage my co-workers approach me for smaller issues. Even if it’s just a misplaced comma. They would still correct it manually in each individual letter, while I’m able to update it in all letters at once. This proves you really have to keep reaching out to the users," he says.
SmartDocuments are at the heart of the process
"Whereas we used to be server-based, we’ve now been web-based for a year. This switchover was performed for us remotely. No matter your location, there's access to everything. We’ve also started signing documents digitally, which certainly brings added value, especially when having to work from home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Supervisors can now sign permits without having to physically put a pen to paper. This helps things go smoothly on the administrative side."
Bert confirms that the Municipality of Velsen sees no end in sight for the partnership: "The municipality is constantly producing new packages, all of which need to be linked. SmartDocuments is not a final product, it’s a product at the heart of your process."