MyFamily gets information governance right with SharePoint Online

MyFamily embarked on a transformative journey to cultivate an effective information governance strategy. By partnering up with Xylos, leveraging the power of Microsoft 365 and adopting an adaptive mindset, MyFamily achieved a cohesive and user-friendly SharePoint solution that increased employee engagement and laid the foundation for a robust digital workplace.

The customer | MyFamily

In Flanders, MyFamily is one of the organizations that provides families with a child benefit package, the so-called ‘Groeipakket’. Such packages include different types of allowances and rules. They are also subject to legal policy and are therefore constantly evolving. To do things right, there is a lot of information that MyFamily employees need to access, process, share and keep up with.

The challenge | A waterproof information governance strategy

In 2020, MyFamily, as part of Xerius, took an important step toward digital modernization. They migrated their on-premises data and document library to Microsoft 365. Information processing in Outlook, SharePoint Online and Teams intensified.

It became clear to MyFamily’s Quality Coordinator, Hilde Coddens, and SharePoint Business Owner, Tars Boons, that MyFamily needed an updated governance strategy to keep information flowing and collaboration efficient. “When we used to store data on-premises, people had a classic document library as a single source of truth. We started by replicating that structure on SharePoint Online. But soon the same information was circulating through Outlook and Teams, which created information overload, confusion and frustration.”

By 2022, Hilde and Tars realized that expert guidance for their information governance could drastically improve things. So, they turned to Xylos to develop a waterproof information governance strategy.

The process | Inspiring the customer with Microsoft 365 potential

Eddy Feys, M365 Functional Expert at Xylos, was the man of the hour to get things started. In a kick-off workshop with MyFamily, he showed the variety of governance approaches and possibilities with Microsoft 365, the do’s and don’ts, as well as the opportunities and pitfalls.

After mapping MyFamily’s as-is architecture, and thanks to his experience, he was able to quickly reveal that the people at MyFamily were using only a very low percentage of the potential that Microsoft 365 had to offer them. Great news, because it meant they had an opportunity to get much more out of their IT investment.

SharePoint Online: moving beyond an as-is migration

MyFamily was intrigued by the possibilities. So, Xylos set up a basic governance plan, along with a mechanism for further improvement throughout the process. The next step was to identify and understand specific pain points and information needs. Therefore, Eddy Feys interacted with employees from different regional offices in Hasselt, Kortrijk and Antwerp.

Basically, MyFamily has two types of digital collaborators. On the one hand, there are those who create, publish and manage the information: legal experts and project managers. On the other hand, there are those who consume that information. They also manage the dossiers of MyFamily clients. They often have very valuable input from their daily practice to improve the documentation. However, uncoordinated efforts to provide input resulted in more and more document versions seeing the light of day, and it became unclear which should be considered final versions and which shouldn’t.

Tars Boons adds: “Another common problem was that one piece of information was often relevant to different topics, and therefore there was a separate document for each topic in our document library. Eddy made it clear that we could solve this problem by making better use of Microsoft 365.”

A well-managed and user-friendly SharePoint site

“Essentially, the people at MyFamily needed a clear distinction between information or work in progress, versus 100% validated information. We needed to create a new single source of truth, no matter from what angle someone was accessing the information. And there’s no better tool than SharePoint Online to do that,” says Eddy Feys from Xylos.

Xylos designed a comprehensive SharePoint site with a clear governance strategy. This would make the search functions more effective, making it easier than ever for users to find the right information.

Once the right information architecture and policies were in place, Tars and MyFamily could start building the actual SharePoint site. The minimum viable product or in other words “the first layers of the solution” have been ready and in use since July 2022. Thanks to the roadmap, MyFamily now continues to build effectively. In his role as governance expert at Xylos, Eddy has also been a valuable asset in communicating with the IT department of Xerius, the owner of MyFamily’s IT infrastructure.

“Xerius is a large group with many important priorities. With Eddy’s help, we were able to really get the trust and autonomy we needed to make things work,” says Tars Boons.

Digital Coaches add the human touch 

In addition to a roadmap, MyFamily also counted on Xylos’ renowned human approach. A Xylos Digital Coach guided MyFamily’s Sharepoint administrators through the build. He also organized sessions with tips and tricks to anticipate potential roadblocks. Hilde Coddens praises how well Xylos understood MyFamily’s needs: “Xylos was able to strike the balance between having a thorough plan and really listening and tailoring a solution for us.”

An effective structure for communication and collaboration 

Where the new SharePoint site now contained the validated information and documents, Teams became the place-to-be to collaborate on documents under revision. Based on the knowledge gained from the sessions with Xylos and the chosen governance plan, MyFamily’s SharePoint owner, Tars, is now also able to make the Microsoft 365 groups as effective as possible.

This means, for example, forming groups with the optimal number of people to boost the collaboration on dossiers, and assigning relevant roles to each. That way, the right people are contributing to work-in-progress versions of documents, and are monitoring and safeguarding them as needed.

As Quality Coordinator, Hilde has noticed improvements from early on: “The interaction between our document authors and consumers is starting to look more and more like a symbiosis. Our information consumers are really motivated to contribute to improvements, because the input from their perspective is processed effectively. This makes our information and documents more relevant and complete.”

Embracing the change 

A new information architecture for an organization like MyFamily is incredibly impactful, for every employee involved. It requires them to embrace change. Simply informing people about the change is not a sustainable approach. That’s why Renaud Dejonghe, Change Manager at Xylos, developed a change and adoption plan based on the ADKAR-approach, including a communication strategy, learning initiatives and a sponsorship program.

“Renaud made sure that we involved everyone from the beginning. I think that’s one of the reasons we were able to foster a general desire among all users to make the best use of the tools at hand. He also insisted that we consider the project as an ongoing work in progress. We didn’t lose sight of reinforcing the desire and the learning process. As a result, we now have a culture of participation. Our information consumers know that they can actively and efficiently contribute to the improvement of our documents. No one is waiting around for the document owners to solve everything.”

The result | Increased employee engagement 

The MyFamily project was a successful convergence of people, strategy and technology, a hallmark of the Xylos approach. In short, thanks to Xylos, MyFamily has been able to address and solve their employees’ frustrations and productivity barriers.

The organization now has a functional SharePoint Online architecture, future-proofed by a solid governance strategy. There is an efficient SharePoint site that everyone knows what to expect from, today and in the future, as MyFamily continues to build on it. Moreover, employees have truly adopted a more effective way of working together. The organization’s digital workplace is, and will undoubtedly continue to be, one of employee engagement.

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