Municipality of Groningen on SmartDocuments' template management

SmartDocuments migrated 3500 templates to the Web application for the Municipality of Groningen.

The municipality benefited from efficient document creation throughout the organization.

The Municipality of Groningen has realized a successful transition to the SmartDocuments Web application. In the course of one year, all departments switched to the new system for document creation. Through a careful project approach in which the municipality and SmartDocuments acted as partners, the new system was flawlessly commissioned.

KPN ICT Consultant Nico Huisman was project leader for the conversion and migration of the Municipality of Groningen to the Web version of SmartDocuments. “The Municipality of Groningen already used SmartDocuments for the creation of documents. The application is deeply connected with the municipality’s automation system. Through customization and changes over the years, all kinds of connections were created, changes to documents, corporate identity, you name it. The transition of the municipality to Microsoft Office 365 was decisive for the transition to the Web application of SmartDocuments.”

"The application is deeply connected with the
municipality's automation system.''

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Nico Huisman, Consultant at KPN ICT Consulting. Photographer: Vishu Mahabir

Template management

“The Municipality of Groningen communicates with its citizens by means of letters, among other things,” continues Nico. “A total of approximately 3,500 different templates are involved. From a building application to information about a possible nuisance. You can imagine how many steps are required for a building permit application. For example, each application is given a unique ID in the confirmation of the application. In addition, specific documents are referred to such as the zoning plan. At this point you're probably starting to see the complexity of the migration from an inhouse environment to a Web application. Existing templates and links had to be converted to the new version of SmartDocuments. This had to be done municipality-wide, from the social domain, to the permits section and the legal department, for example.”

“I’ve found the cooperation to be very constructive. You develop a partnership that becomes stronger and stronger through listening to one another.”

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Document inventory

In consultation with SmartDocuments it was decided to take an investigative approach. “A great deal of time and energy was invested in the inventory of all documents, looking at the various links as well as the layout, corporate identity and the correct retrieval of data from other information systems. The guidance of SmartDocuments was indispensable. First, we organized a meeting to identify the problems we anticipated. By doing this together, the knowledge and skills of both parties were combined, and the advantages of the new version became visible. It was also important that the employees of the municipality were given the opportunity to express their concerns. From that moment on, we started to move forward together. We outlined the process and were able to make the right decisions based on feedback from the employees.”

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Step-by-step conversion and migration

The conversion and migration of the older version of SmartDocuments to the Web application has been carried out step by step, department by department and not all at once. “There was a reason for that. It allowed us to constantly adjust and learn during the process. In addition, this kind of approach reduces risk. Problems that we encountered, such as a certain call to a server that was not processed correctly, could be solved immediately. In addition, SmartDocuments was able to respond to questions from the field by adapting the software. They have become generic solutions, which they now also use for other municipalities and government institutions. These kinds of functional challenges mean that the SmartDocuments software is constantly evolving and has functionalities that actually make it unique. I’ve found the collaboration to be very constructive. You develop a partnership that becomes stronger and stronger through listening to one another. At the end of the day, we do it for the citizens of the municipality of Groningen. They can continue to be properly served in the future with the help of the system.”


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