The Belgian Federal Public Service (FPS) Social Security is using cloud computing technology to prepare for the country’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). Using Huddle, which lets you connect and work securely with other people online, the FPS Social Security’s EU 2010 Presidency Team is organising conferences, meetings and preparing relevant documents for negotiations. Colleagues from national and local public institutions, non-governmental organisations (NGO), research centres and universities can now work together on files, share discussions, manage approvals and schedule events.
During Belgium’s six month Presidency, which starts in July, the FPS Social Security will deal with all matters surrounding social policy issues. This will involve not only delivering input for the negotiations, but organising conferences and meetings to drive forward social protection in Europe. Faced with sharing a large amount of documentation and scheduling events with people from both inside and outside of the organisation, the FPS Social Security recognised that its in-house network, shared drives and email system were simply not up to the job.
In the run up to the Council, extensive use of email was resulting in mailboxes being overloaded and exceeding their limits. As external experts and colleagues from different administrations could not access relevant documents stored on the FPS Social Security servers, it was becoming increasingly difficult to collaborate on projects. When input on documents was required from multiple parties, the FPS Social Security team was also faced with numerous versions of a file and it was virtually impossible to establish which was the final draft.
“We’re an administration team that has always strived to be efficient and dynamic and the Presidency seemed to be the ideal time to deploy better communications tools,” said Max Raets, Policy Officer, FPS Social Security. “We needed a system that was accessible to contributors from both inside and outside of the organisation, while at the same time enabling us to limit the accessibility of sensitive documents to specific users. Huddle presented us with the ideal way to collaborate and share information with the outside world when organising events such as our scientific conferences. Thanks to Huddle, our shared network drive for the Presidency project is obsolete and, for some projects, Huddle has replaced email completely.”
More than 100 participants in the Presidency project now have access to all the information they require via Huddle. Documents and meeting details can be shared, changes can be tracked and everyone involved can be notified. The number of letters sent via post has also been significantly reduced.
“Transparent communication and collaboration is vital in the public sector. Sharing knowledge and information cross-department or with external organisations can help ensure that projects are delivered successfully and within the required time scales,” said Alastair Mitchell, Co-founder and CEO, Huddle. “The Belgian FPS Social Security’s use of Huddle is a great example of how cloud-based technology can help break down silos and help people work better together. This should not only improve efficiency, but ultimately lead to cost savings.”
“Huddle illustrates the new culture of our administration,” explained Tom Auwers, General Director, FPS Social Security. “We work in a dynamic office where people can decide for themselves when and from where they work. People are also free to define how to organise and execute their work. They can work from home or when they are on the move and being able to share information with a team, project committee, or specific partners is crucial to make this a success.”
In April 2010, FPS Social Security’s NoVo team was elected Belgian HR Team of the Year at the Human Resources Management Night.