‘Ondernemersplein’: transforming into an insight driven organization
How a Dutch website implemented a culture of continuous improvement
An important requirement for digital DNA is that the organization is aligned for the digital future. This is illustrated in the interesting transformation that the Dutch website Ondernemersplein underwent. Within the space of a year the team behind the website established a culture of insight driven and continuous optimization.
Since 2014 all relevant government information for entrepreneurs is collected on the website Ondernemersplein (which translates as ‘entrepreneurs square’). On this site entrepreneurs can find information about export, employees, subsidies, new regulations, taxes and administration. The website operates in a complex environment with the Chamber of Commerce as the driving force and next to that stakeholders like the Employee Insurance Agency, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Tax Authority and the Central Bureau of Statistics.
Ondernemersplein wants to do more than just provide relevant information from participating organizations, says Milla van der Have. She is team leader of the approximately 25 people – IT professionals, editors and analysts – working for the website. "Our assignment is to serve the entrepreneurs as clients, and to answer all their questions. So to serve entrepreneurs better, we had to learn more about the visitors to our website and we had to become insight driven. That is why we hired an expert who not only knew everything about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but also about data analytics."
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Constructing service journeys instead of customer journeys
Ondernemersplein doesn’t use customer journeys as a starting point for optimizing their customer centricity: the website’s implemented so-called service journeys. Franklin Heijnen, Creative Director at Deloitte Digital who worked with Ondernemersplein on their transformation, explains: "Ondernemersplein is well aware that they are only a small part of the journey entrepreneurs make. That is why they work with service journeys. They described 77 situations in which entrepreneurs might need Ondernemersplein and brought together all the information necessary for each specific situation." For example, starting a company while receiving unemployment benefits, or helping an employee return to work after a leave of absence due to illness.
To serve the entrepreneurs even better, Ondernemersplein wanted to provide them with information not only via their own platform but also via the platforms of the different partners. "We didn’t want to wait until the entrepreneur came to us, but wanted to actively push our information to the entrepreneur. That is when we started using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which enable communication between different channels", says Van der Have. "Thanks to those APIs we can now automatically publish relevant Ondernemersplein content on the websites of our partners."
A 360 degrees insights model combines quantitative and qualitative data
Ondernemersplein’s marketing manager created a 360 degrees insights model that creates a holistic representation of the visitor by looking at reach, the quality of the traffic, expectations and behavior. Quantitative analysis is complemented by qualitative analysis performed by a feedback specialist. The content management system that Ondernemersplein uses provides several methods to obtain qualitative user feedback. For each pillar of the 360 degrees insights model, performance indicators are defined and there are tools for measuring quantitative website data and for creating heatmaps of pages. Ondernemersplein now uses this model to decide which content is created and published on the website and via the APIs. This insight driven approach also helped convince the Chamber of Commerce to make space for Ondernemersplein content on its website.
Analyzing before and after publishing
Before content is created, the analytics expert analyzes which keywords entrepreneurs use to search on Google and www.ondernemersplein.nl. She works closely together with the editorial staff and informs them about her findings. Once an article is published, visitor behavior is analyzed: for example, time spent reading the page and which search words visitors use after reading the page. Based on these findings the editors can, for example, add information or deep links to related pages. Besides this the feedback specialist asks the visitors how they judge the page and advises the editorial staff accordingly.
"The continuous optimization of the content basically means that Ondernemersplein is constantly removing obstacles for their visitors", explains Heijnen. "Those can be obstacles with regard to content, which is incomplete or unclear, but there can also be functional obstacles. They found out, for example, that the filtering on the subsidy page didn’t work very well and improved it."
Key in the successful transformation up until now is that it is a gradual process. "It wasn’t a big revolution, and we didn’t have a big blueprint but used trial and error", Van der Have explains. "We started working agile and especially the analytics team and the editorial team now work closely together. They meet two times a week and continuously share their findings."
Towards a Digital DNA
Governance is an important but often underestimated part of becoming an insight driven organization. For Ondernemersplein the different governmental stakeholders (Chamber of Commerce, Tax Authority, Central Bureau of Statistics) designed the process for cooperation. Deloitte Digital helped to organize several governance workshops. Part of this was appointing dedicated persons for analysis and giving them a role in editorial meetings and also describing the role of analytics in each part of the process.
The cooperation with the scrum team, the team that is responsible for the design and realization of the website and API is also good, but still needs improvement, Van der Have says. "Each team still has its specific tasks, but sometimes cooperation is necessary. This is also a process of trial and error. What really helps is that we all use the same tools for development, analyses and building the service journeys. This means that everyone can see which specific steps are taken in the different service journeys and what still has to be done."
Having Digital DNA means being insight driven and having a culture of continuous optimization. Ondernemersplein was able to establish a strong base for this culture and keeps working to improve it. Not by implementing a rigorous and disruptive transformation, but by gradually changing processes, based on trial and error. Van der Have: "Now we are able to listen directly to the entrepreneurs that view our content."
Rewiring your organization
Becoming truly digital is difficult; not only the outside of your business has to be digital, we need to transform the inside as well. Every fiber of the organization needs to change.
Join our Digital DNA Summit on the 28th of September to learn from your peers and leading speakers. We will share practical examples on how to organize your transformation, present global and local research findings and have open (panel?) discussions with various (inter)national clients on their shift from doing to being digital.
In one of these sessions Milla van der Have (team manager at Ondernemersplein) and Franklin Heijnen (creative director at Deloitte Digital) will give further insights and examples on how to implement a culture of continuous optimization.