SmartDocuments: foundation of digitization at Staedion


One in seven homes in The Hague is owned by housing corporation Staedion. That's a lot of tenants to serve. This is why Staedion has put a great deal of effort into digitization in recent years. SmartDocuments plays a central role in this. Functional manager Yannick Verzijl explains how the organization uses digitization to create value for both employees and tenants.

"Residents expect a certain level of service from us," Yannick Verzijl begins the conversation. He has been working for Staedion as a Functional Manager for over 3.5 years now. All these years he has been working with SmartDocuments. "Our motto is to 'repair the roof when the sun is still shining'. That's why we started a major renovation project at the beginning of 2019. This includes digitization, customer journeys and innovation. All enthusiastically supported by our employees, because we also want to be an attractive organization to work at. We use SmartDocuments for many of these objectives."


Yannick Verzijl, functional manager at Staedion

Digitizing customer journeys

Staedion processes more than 2000 rentals of houses per year. Each rental involves a lot of people, Yannick explains: "Tenants who leave, new tenants and potential tenants who respond to housing ads. All these parties expect to be well-informed. You also have data from all of these to process, which we use the Dynamics Empire ERP system for. All the necessary data is stored in this system or entered into it. It is connected to SmartDocuments, so that all this data flows into a template. Once that has been set up, you simply drag and drop it into a template. This link is indispensable when you have as many tenants as we do."

The connection of these systems makes the customer journey, which is carefully planned by Staedion, possible. "As a tenant, you always take a certain route," Yannick explains. "We try our hardest to support them in this as much as possible.” No superfluous luxury, because quite a lot happens on such a route. It starts even before you rent a house, when the housing corporation needs several documents and forms to determine your suitability as a tenant. Then there is the transfer of the house, acceptance and inspection. And when someone leaves the house, it also involves a lot of paperwork. Yannick: "With an average rental, there are about five documents involved. These are all made using SmartDocuments.”

"Because of the coronavirus, we have further accelerated our digitization," Yannick continues. "The rental contract, for example, has been completely drawn up in SmartDocuments. New tenants can now view it online and digitally sign it by e-mail. The tenant receives it from a module that supports digital signing. The signature is finally included in the rental contract that was drawn up in SmartDocuments. No printed paper is needed, and it saves a lot of time".

"Actually, I can recommend every housing corporation to work with SmartDocuments. I think they would be very enthusiastic about the beautiful things we have made here".

User-friendly for everyone

"As an administrator, Smart Documents is a super-fine app," says Yannick. "It is very easy to use and quick to learn. It's very easy for me to set up new links and integrate them into templates, just by using an XML file. There are a lot of functionalities in it and every few months there's an update that adds the necessary features."

Besides Yannick, more Staedion employees work with SmartDocuments. Yannick: "We have organized training courses for employees who sometimes create documents on their own. We used to work with key-users, but SmartDocuments is accessible enough for everyone who needs it. It's great for them to learn how to build their own letter with basic elements or to adapt existing templates. If it gets too technical, I prefer to keep control myself. However, after some basic instructions a technically-savvy staff member could go a long way.”

SmartDocuments saves these employees a lot of time. "Imagine if we had to do everything in Word," Yannick is silent for a moment. "That would mean cutting and pasting so much, always with a chance of errors. And when you make an adjustment, you have to implement it everywhere. With SmartDocuments, you alter it once in a template, which you then re-use and then you're done".

"An average rental involves about five documents. These are all drawn up in SmartDocuments".


Staedion Headquarters in The Hague

Beautiful projects

Yannick talks enthusiastically about the beautiful things he mentioned. Like the way Staedion sends physical mail: "Sometimes a real letter is still needed. Fortunately, we don't have to do all that ourselves any more. After drawing up the letter in SmartDocuments, each letter is given a code. This means that the letter is automatically printed and immediately sent correctly. Throughout the entire process SmartDocuments is used, linked to Spindle, the system that provides the code and links it to the DMS system".

In addition, a robot has been running at Staedion recently. "No, not a real robot!" Yannick understands our surprise when he talks about a 'running' robot. "The robot runs on a computer and does certain simple tasks. It's not artificial intelligence, so these are just things we determine exactly in advance. Like drawing up and sending invoices, recording meter readings... all things that would take up a lot of our time and wouldn't be that exciting to do. It's an employee who works 24 hours a day, never gets tired and creates added value for our customers."

"SmartDocuments is a super-fine app for administrators."

The real added value

By the way, this robot works perfectly together with SmartDocuments. Just like about all other systems in use at Staedion. Yannick counts by heart: "There are at least ten programmes or systems to which SmartDocuments is linked. For many of these programmes, it is the foundation for initiating the digital process. SmartDocuments offers so many plug-ins that it is often easy to link. And if not, the helpdesk is ready to take care of it."

"That is the real added value of SmartDocuments," concludes Yannick. "It is so user-friendly. Easy to work with and very powerful at the same time. That doesn't always go together. Of course, I don't know the other tools that exist in this area, but there's no reason for me to look for them either."

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