29 Mar 2023
The Province of Antwerp now manages all its historical HR data in a handy archive
Easy access to all its historical personnel data, without the need for a large, expensive package. That’s exactly what the Province of Antwerp was looking for. After a tender process, handshakes were extended to Popay’s experts. Maarten Schaerlaekens of the province’s HR department talks about this collaboration and the ideal solution.
Historical personnel records are important. Especially in a government agency like the Province of Antwerp. “We get regular queries about which departments someone has worked for when they retire,” Maarten explains. “Or people who have been out of employment for a while want to know the exact periods they worked with us. In which departments, continuously or otherwise. Some are in the process of reconstructing their entire careers, for example for pension purposes or other benefits.”
As project leader in the HR department, Maarten coordinates all of the HR application renewals. That includes archiving data from legacy systems. “We had a lot of historical data from staff in software packages that we were no longer going to use. It was simply too expensive. So in a tender, we asked: How can we keep all of that historical data available digitally without the need for such a large package? And preferably in a very simple, accessible way,” Maarten explained.
“What I liked about the collaboration is that while they were very good listeners, they also came up with their own suggestions.”
Listening and asking in depth questions
It was no accident that the province ended up with Popay. Maarten: “We already knew Popay as we’ve been working together for a long time. As the first point of contact, it made sense for them to start thinking about how to proceed. They knew the old package well and could also offer a new package. Because they have such thorough knowledge of our organisation and the systems, the project went smoothly. Popay was able to use that knowledge to ask in depth questions to find out exactly what we needed. What I liked about the collaboration is that while they were very good listeners, they also came up with their own suggestions. That was a valuable combination.”
“Thanks to Popay’s Datahub, we no longer needed to maintain the expensive
package for our old data.”
Substantial cost savings
In the archive world, you can choose between a living archive that is continuously updated, or a static archive. The Province of Antwerp opted for the latter. “There was no need for us to change the historical data any more. We only needed to be able to access and consult the data. Thanks to Popay’s Datahub, we now work with a web application that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection. The structure of that archive is almost exactly the same as the structure from the old system. The difference is that this package is a lot cheaper. We no longer needed to maintain the expensive package for our old data,” Maarten explains.
Maintenance and management
The package is ready, the data transferred. When asked if the collaboration is now over, Maarten answered with a firm ‘no’. “The migration is complete and the project is done. Popay has transferred all of the data from the old system into this new archive. That all went much more smoothly than I had imagined, which was a pleasant surprise. Popay was also easy to reach. Whenever I emailed or called, the specialists always responded quickly. But we are still working together. Popay manages the package for us, and we have a maintenance contract for that. So we still speak to each other on occasion. There are no more major questions, virtually no changes. It’s all going very well, so I’m certainly satisfied.”
No sales pitches – just genuine focus
It is clear that Popay has a lot of technical know-how on translating customer requirements into functionalities. But what Maarten really appreciates is that the specialists don’t make sales pitches. “The experts at Popay don’t give commercial presentations. They just communicate the options with a modest and to-the-point approach. They really think about the interests of the customer and not their own gain. The fact that they also always give you their full attention makes me feel valued and important as a customer,” Maarten concluded.
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