We had a clear vision of where we wanted to be heading. And this required a new information architecture and a programme plan. We didn’t want a supplier to design the architecture, but wanted to use an independent architect who looks beyond systems. We chose ArchiXL, because we already knew Danny Greefhorst from what he’d done for SURF (the Dutch sector organisation for higher education). And I was impressed with his work.
The information architecture needed renewing. And this needed to be done thoroughly. Because Nyenrode University always puts its customers first, which means processes cannot be independent.
Hans Wim Kroodsma, Head of ICT: “We had a clear vision of where we wanted to be heading. And this required a new information architecture and a programme plan. We didn’t want a supplier to design the architecture, but wanted to use an independent architect who looks beyond systems. We chose ArchiXL, because we already knew Danny Greefhorst from what he’d done for SURF (the Dutch sector organisation for higher education). And I was impressed with his work.”
Remmelt Vetkamp is a member of the Board of Directors at Nyenrode University and has also been closely involved in this process: “The pitfall in setting up information architecture is that you can lose track of the end goal. A good architect keeps their eye on the target: Which data belongs to which system? Are we doing anything twice, by accident? Will these functionalities really lead us to our goal? I also knew Danny and it’s clear that this is someone who knows what he’s talking about. Danny always kept us on our toes. Pragmatic, realistic and great to work with. Sometimes he wanted more, and had some fantastic ideas! So sometimes we needed to push the brakes.
Before drawing up the Business Optimisation plan, Danny spoke extensively to people from the entire organisation. Kroodsma: “This thorough approach, involving our employees, ensured widespread commitment and buy-in for the plan, in which the requirements and ambitions are clear. These have been processed into a list of points for improvement that have all been turned into projects. No, they’re not ICT projects, we call them business projects: because they’re more than just ICT.”
The programme plan for Business Optimisation: an effective framework
Vetkamp: "Because we really want to make progress, we selected and prioritised 10 projects. This is what we’re focussing on, and this is what we can handle.”
Kroodsma: “Responsibility for these projects lies high in our organisation, which means the right decisions can be taken if adjustments are necessary. This is thanks to the extensive preliminary work and the numerous meetings. Everyone in the organisation understands what we’re doing and why some projects are being completed earlier or later, or why their wishes are not being taken into account. Everyone knows where we’re heading."
One priority at a time…
Kroodsma: “What’s great about such a priority list, is that the long, complicated process suddenly becomes clear and logical. What happens when a project is finished? Then we start on the next one, which is then also put on the list of priorities.” Of course, not all the projects go without the occasional hitch. It’s still a challenge for Nyenrode University to appoint the right project managers. Vetkamp: “We weren’t used to project-based working, but it’s essential. And takes some of our employees more effort than others to get the hang of project management.”
Following the plan with the necessary maintenance
Nyenrode University started the entire project two years ago. Things are now operational. And it works. But aimlessly following the programme plan and the architecture is not an option. Kroodsma: “Definitely not! It’s important to keep the plan up-to-date. Registering how far we are. Do the starting points from two years ago still reflect the current situation? We train our own system administrators in this and other aspects of the new architecture.
It’s clear to see that this approach is working. Four projects have already been completed.
Nyenrode University is carrying on, and is steadily making significant steps. And the entire organisation is moving with the flow.
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