VVSG supports maximum collaboration with Microsoft Teams

Published on 16/09/2022 in Customer talks

The Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (Vlaamse Vereniging voor Steden en Gemeenten, VVSG) is ushering in a new era for its telephony and using Microsoft Teams as its standard telephony application from now on.

VVSG supports maximum collaboration with Microsoft Teams

The VVSG is the interest group for Flemish cities and municipalities. It represents the local authorities in policy matters and supports them with expert advice, training, publications and communication. But even more importantly, the VVSG is a network builder that brings together local authorities and their partners. That ensures cross-pollination that takes local authorities in Flanders to the next level.

Optimal accessibility and communication

To be able to fulfil its knowledge and network function optimally, accessibility and communication are more than ever a priority for the VVSG, certainly with the Covid crisis fresh/(or: certainly with the pandemic fresh) in everyone’s memory. That applies not only to its own employees, but also to the relation with channel partners and stakeholders. “When our 225 employees network and share knowledge, we want them to have as few barriers as possible to deal with,” says IT manager Sven Haeldermans.

Our employees want to network and share knowledge with as few barriers as possible. That’s exactly what Teams makes possible.

Sven Haeldermans, IT manager at VVSG

Accelerated rollout

To allow that communication to take place as efficiently as possible, the VVSG chose to abandon the traditional analog onsite telephone exchange. “As an IT department, we want to be able to concentrate on our core task,” says Sven Haeldermans. “Maintaining a telephone exchange isn’t part of that.”

So, admittedly sooner than anticipated, the VVSG arrived at Microsoft Teams. “First we switched to Skype for Business,” Haeldermans continued, “although we knew that Microsoft would phase out that service in the near future.” Due to its experience with Skype, the VVSG already knew which functionalities they had to look for in a new solution. “To be able to work as efficiently as possible, we wanted one central application.”

Microsoft Teams central

The VVSG chose Microsoft Teams, a platform already used for video conferences. By choosing the call function in Teams as standard, the VVSG consolidated the platform as its central communication application. Teams includes not only the possibility of calling, but also chatting, videoconferencing, document storage, integration with SharePoint, and so forth. “The Covid crisis accelerated the whole process. We made the switch to Teams at the perfect time,” Haeldermans added.

Employees happy with one application

The migration to Microsoft Teams as the central platform went smoothly. “Our experience with Skype for Business helped with this,” said Haeldermans. No more than a short briefing on the features of Teams and a few demo sessions were needed to get employees started. “From now on, our people only have to open one program in the morning and they immediately have everything they need.”

Our employees only have to open one program in the morning and they immediately have everything they need.

Sven Haeldermans, IT manager at VVSG

Expert management of Teams outsourced to Proximus

The VVSG called on Proximus to manage Teams. This outsourcing makes it possible to call all fixed, mobile and international numbers from within Teams.

“In the IT department, we no longer need to worry about updates and their impact on business continuity,” Haeldermans continued. “That’s exactly why we chose the combination of Teams and Proximus. This way, we don’t have to invest in expertise in managing Teams ourselves.”

Single point of contact

The VVSG is already positive about the collaboration with Proximus. “That’s important, because as the IT manager you have to ‘sell’ the solution not only within the organization, but also to the partner with whom you want to work.” Clear communication was the basis of the successful project. “The project manager from Proximus acted as the single point of contact. Thanks to that single point of contact, everything went as planned and the whole team got to work with Teams in no time.”

Sven Haeldermans studied IT at the Katholieke Hogeschool (Catholic College of Higher Education) Leuven. He has been IT manager at the VVSG since 2001.

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