Vilans saves time and enhances insight with Archie

Vilans is the premier knowledge center for long-term care. The organization advises the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, care institutions and others about all sorts of issues. To this end, Vilans organizes events, provides advice within the healthcare industry, participates in the ministry's projects, and develops various products to help spread knowledge. All communication with third parties takes place via Archie. "In the past, we often worked at cross purposes, which came at the expense of the quality of our services and took up unnecessary amounts of time. With Archie, we work much more efficiently." An interview with information management project manager Ebo Roek and his colleague Michiel Westerveld.

Long-term care – geriatric care, chronic care, and care for the disabled – is facing major challenges, such as the ageing population, the transition from the AWBZ to the Wmo, and the increasing burdens of mandatory reporting on healthcare institutions. Vilans provides advice on these subjects, as well as many others. "Our organization employs 120 FTEs, and three quarters of these are experts with in-depth knowledge and expertise," says Roek.
Vilans team
Naturally, Vilans wishes to minimize the amount of time these people spend on administrative or clerical work. This became an issue when NIZW was split into three separate companies, one of which was Vilans. Roek says: "NIZW used to have a central address department. After the split, the resulting three organizations each got their own address file. But at Vilans, we didn't have a department that managed this file, or any methodology to keep it up to date. This meant that e-mail and regular mail did not always get to the right recipients, and that we invited people to events that had no bearing on their interests, etc."

When Roek joined the organization in 2010, it had already purchased a CRM package, without any support provided either internally or by the supplier. "They simply bought it in a box and started using it. But no one really knew how it worked, and lots of addresses weren't in it. In short, it wasn't much of an improvement. By this point, there was a lot of opposition to the idea."

Not a situation a project manager likes to see. Yet Roek saw opportunities. "The difficulty was in fact quite clear. At the time, there were many islands within our organization. Each department had its own objectives and its own processes. As a result, we often worked at cross purposes. When you start to notice that, you can start to map out for everyone where the opportunities lie."

"All contact with third parties takes place via Archie, which has made us a lot more efficient."

Together with the Netherlands Youth Institute – one of the other two organizations that arose from the NIZW – Vilans went through an extensive selection process to find a different CRM system. "We took the decision very seriously," says Roek. "We started out by comparing sixteen different software packages. Eight parties were selected to develop a case and give a presentation. After those demos, we were left with three packages that our employees could picture themselves using. Out of those three, Archie offered the best price-quality ratio."

Vilans target groups

Archie stood out on three fronts. Firstly because the relationship card offers a complete overview in a single screen. In addition, employees like the fact that Archie does not offer infinite choices, but rather is quite directive. "At first it may seem like a pleasant idea that software gives you all the freedom in the world, but experienced employees find that the opposite is true. They actually appreciate some level of guidance," Roek finds. In the end, the Archie company stood out. "They're people who think along with you, who are critical and show you a mirror. For example, they have often replied to our requests like this: ‘You shouldn't want this for this or that reason.’ They really allowed us to benefit from the many years of experience they have accumulated in this field. Archie positions itself more as a partner than as a supplier."

"For Vilans, Archie is a package that offers many possibilities. It is used extensively by all our employees."

In the implementation of the package, Vilans made a number of fundamental decisions. The most important one is that everyone works with Archie, and everyone is allowed access to everything. Only the most sensitive information is protected, and this is kept to a minimum. "This level of transparency was something new to our organization. As I pointed out earlier: we didn't use to know what the others were up to. To suddenly make everything transparent requires a cultural shift," says Roek.

"The basic principle is now: whatever is in Archie goes. Anything that isn't in Archie doesn't really exist. Department heads do not accept it when people use a workaround to maintain their own archives or files, like they were used to before. This is a major shift, but working together, we've made it happen."
Vilans Archie CRM
Our own implementation

Because Vilans has so many different processes and stakeholders, Roek and Westerveld take full advantage of the Multi Purpose Module. "You have to store different kinds of information for every target group. Take the press, for example. You have to know a paper's circulation, frequency, specific target audience, et cetera. For this, we use a dedicated part of Archie that was designed specifically for dealing with the press. Likewise, we have a dedicated bit for job applicants. For complex projects such as In voor Zorg! (‘In for Care!’) that are carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, we set down the entire workflow using Archie's Project module, among others," says Westerveld.

"We store different kinds of information in Archie for every target group."

For Vilans, Archie is a package with many faces. All employees use it extensively. The most frequently used applications are relationship management and correspondence, acquisition, campaign management – for example, the invitation process for meetings – and analysis. Since everything to do with clients is stored in Archie, including all documents, the organization will be integrating Archie with its Document Management System later this year. "This will be another step towards greater efficiency," Roek explains.

Archie Mobile provides remote access to all of the basic components from laptops, tablets and smartphones. Which is nice, because employees spend most of their time with clients, away from the office.

Improvement measures

At the time of this interview, Vilans has been using Archie for almost two years, and is still improving. "We still have room for growth. Recently we've been making a lot of progress in the field of analytical techniques. For example, by comparing all of the consultancy projects we've carried out at geriatric care institutions, we can identify which ones were most the successful and why. We can later apply that knowledge in new consulting projects. In the past, different departments would independently invent the wheel. Now, we are better able to benefit from each other's experiences."

Where those improvements will end, Roek and Westerveld won't venture to predict, but they can picture where the organization would be if it wasn't for Archie. "We would have needed a lot more clerical support. And the quality of our work wouldn't be as good. When we initiated this project, we encountered considerable resistance within the organization. But if we were to take Archie away at this point in time, there would be unrest. We can no longer go on without it. It's really become a crucial application."

About Vilans

Vilans is the premier knowledge center for long-term care. Together with the field in general, the organization develops innovative and practically- oriented knowledge. Vilans expedites the process required to successfully implement new knowledge and good examples in practice, so that long-term care remains efficient, affordable and of high quality. In doing so, Vilans also improves quality of life for people relying on care and support. Check out


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