Korein prides itself on personal daycare services for 16,000 children aged 0 to 16. Its employees and caregivers regularly refer to eight large binders, called the Quality Manual, to ensure a consistent level of professional child-centered activities. To make the information more accessible and to streamline publication of new content, Korein brought the manual to life in digital format, using the dynamic, data-driven visuals of Microsoft Visio 2010 to illustrate approved workflows that reflect up-to-date Korein policies and procedures. The new Quality Manual is hosted on a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 intranet site. Now staff can easily update and publish new content where it is instantly available to daycare staff. The solution is improving service quality and increasing staff productivity across 120 locations. It also provides an extensible platform to communicate with customers.
In 1990, the City of Eindhoven started centralizing all daycare centers in the South East Brabant Region of the Netherlands and Korein was created. Korein has built its business on personal, caring services for 16,000 children and their families at 120 daycare centers. It offers a combination of daycare, guidance, and daily activities to help children grow into independent adults.
To ensure high-quality childcare at all facilities, Korein developed a Quality Manual that consists of eight binders and is available for staff to reference at all Korein facilities. There is also a digital version of the manual available on the company’s Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 intranet.
||We believe that the SharePoint and Visio environment will consistently save us about 300 person-hours a week, which is a considerable increase in productivity.
||Timo van den Berg
Information and Communications Technology Manager, Korein
“Our caregivers spent too much time rifling through pages to find information,” says Timo van den Berg, Information and Communications Technology Manager at Korein. “We estimate that each week each caretaker will spend 15 minutes looking for information. For 1,200 caretakers, that adds up to a lot of hours per week. The online version didn’t offer a much better alternative. Most of our caregivers are not that familiar with computers, and it was difficult for them to navigate the complex folder structure to get to the information.”
This situation also caused problems for the 25 employees who update the content in the Quality Manual. “Every time one of our content providers updated the manual, the new material was printed 120 times along with instructions about where to include the information in any of the eight manuals,” says van den Berg. “It took two weeks for the new materials to arrive at each location. The whole process to update a manual took an average of 25 hours per update and we do a couple of updates a year.”
To avoid wasting staff time, it was important that caregivers be able to find information in the Quality Manual quickly and easily. It was just as important to streamline the publication process. “We needed to deploy a new workflow management tool so that we could retire the binders,” says van den Berg.
Korein began looking for a solution within its existing IT investments, such as expanding the company’s SharePoint-based intranet. van den Berg believed that by using additional features with Office SharePoint Server 2007 staff could automate manual updates, improve workflow management at the facilities, and deliver more information to customers.
Using Existing Technology
van den Berg took his plan to Advantive, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network. “We liked Korein’s idea of using Microsoft technologies they already own,” says André Cardinaal, Chief Executive Officer at Advantive. However, Advantive suggested that Korein upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and host the Quality Manual in this environment. “We also suggested adding the Microsoft Visio Professional 2010 drawing and diagramming software for Korein’s content providers to diagram workflows and processes,” says Cardinaal. “This combination would allow Korein staff with very few computer skills to easily navigate to and gain insight into workflows in a very user-friendly manner.”
“The similar user interface and easy navigation of SharePoint Server 2010 and Office Outlook, Word, and Excel programs make it easier for our caretakers to quickly look things up on the computer during their busy day,” adds van den Berg.
Turning Paper Binders into Simple Graphical Workflows
Korein is using Visio Professional 2010 to go beyond creating a static, digital visual of the Quality Manual. Instead, the IT team is working with Advantive to create simple, intuitive, interactive workflows that give caregivers three levels of information. A Visio diagram with high-level processes for a given area is the top level (Figure 1). Clicking on a Visio shape in this diagram, for example “Vertrek ophalen,” which is the process that occurs when children are picked up, takes the caregiver to another Visio diagram that illustrates in more detail the processes to follow at the end of the day (Figure 2). Staff can also click on the shapes to link to a third level of information consisting of documents and forms stored in the SharePoint Server 2010 intranet site, where they can also fill out forms about each child’s progress.
|Figure 1. The top level Visio 2010 diagram outlines high-level processes for daycare staff. |
Clicking on any of the shapes takes caregivers to the next level of subprocesses for more
“The Visio 2010 diagrams are very intuitive for our non-technical users. Instead of searching for information, they can focus more on the children,” says van den Berg.
Because Visio Professional 2010 provides real-time data connections, Korein content providers can update the Quality Manual with dynamic diagrams that link to documents within the SharePoint Server 2010 environment. “The great thing is that they didn’t have to learn anything new—if you can work in Word, you can also work in SharePoint,” says van den Berg.
And with Visio Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Korein employees can view and refresh data-driven diagrams in their browser without needing to install Visio Professional 2010 on all their computers.
“Our computers are connected with our servers via a secured Citrix infrastructure,” says van den Berg. “It doesn’t matter whether you work from a workstation, on a laptop in your car, or from home; with Visio Services, you’ll be able to access the Quality Manual.”
The solution is expected to go live in the last quarter of 2011.
|Figure 2. A second level of subprocesses gives caregivers more information about policies and |
procedures. They can click on the last shape to fill out forms about each child’s development.
With advanced diagramming tools from Microsoft that interoperate with a Microsoft collaboration platform, Korein can recast its Quality Manual from outdated text-based binders to an online graphical workflow that will save time and drive high-quality, consistent service across all facilities.
Improves Update and Publication Process
For Korein, the time-consuming and costly distribution of update pages for the Quality Manual is a thing of the past. The company expects that employees will no longer spend 25 hours per manual edit. Instead, this process could be accomplished in one hour.
“When the Quality Manual comes online, it will just be a matter of seconds before new content updates become available to all staff across 120 facilities,” says van den Berg. “Two months before the document’s expiration date, the editor will be notified that the document needs to be updated. Once the updated document is ready, it goes through the authorization workflow to the editor-in-chief, then on to the quality manager before publication.”
Improves Information Access to Ensure High-Quality Services
Because all information contained in the Quality Manual is quickly made available on the intranet for all the daycares, Korein can ensure a higher standard of service delivery. Intuitive navigation through the diagrams provides quick access to accurate, detailed information that everyone can follow. These include workflows that walk staff step-by-step through the completion of forms, minimizing employee error and reducing inconsistences in how staff members complete their tasks.
“It will be so easy to access and understand the new online Quality Manual we can be confident that daycare staff members are up-to-date on our policies and procedures,” says van den Berg. “The end result will be a higher service standard everywhere.”
Increases Staff Productivity to Save Money
While the solution is still being rolled out, van den Berg is unable to quantify the benefits that Korein is experiencing. “But based on our estimate of each caregiver spending 15 minutes a week looking for data, we believe that the SharePoint and Visio environment will consistently save us about 300 person-hours a week, which is a considerable increase in productivity. These time savings will equate to an estimated €150,000 [U.S.$216,000] annually,” he says.
Gains an Extensible Communication Platform
Korein leaders see Visio Services, and the ability to add intuitive data-linked graphics, as key to their future business intelligence efforts. “Currently, the reports and key performance indicators that management use for piloting our organization are distributed in printed format and via email,” says van den Berg. “Together, Visio 2010 visual elements and SharePoint data is a powerful, user-friendly communication tool that we’re looking forward to using in any number of scenarios.”
Microsoft Visio 2010
Microsoft Visio 2010 takes diagramming to a new level with dynamic, data-driven visualization tools and templates, enhanced process management capabilities, and advanced web sharing. Combine real-time data from multiple sources, including Microsoft SharePoint lists, Microsoft Excel 2010, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008, into one powerful diagram using vibrant graphics like icons and data bars. Use subprocesses to manage processes and to validate rules and logic to ensure accuracy and consistency across the organization. Design workflows in Microsoft SharePoint 2010 and, without using code, export them to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 for real-time execution and monitoring. Share refreshable, data-linked diagrams over the web with anyone, even those who don't have Visio 2010.
For more information about Microsoft Visio 2010, go to:
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