Proact

  • Technology & Engineering

Marcel Gjaltema manages Proact’s Modern Infrastructure Team and was looking for a way to get a better grip on his company’s certifications and his suppliers’ requirements.

So, what did you achieve?

  • countless Excel spreadsheets and SharePoint files replaced by a single centralized system
  • software manufacturers’ requirements linked to staff certifications
  • right people assigned to the right projects at the right time
  • certifications uploaded using AG5 app

Where did your search for a skills management solution start?

When I became the team manager, I started asking my predecessors, ‘Can I have a list of all the staff and their certifications and when these expire?’ They sent me a beautiful-looking Excel spreadsheet. The only problem was that it was three years old and hadn’t been updated in all that time. Needless to say, many of the certifications had already expired because it was everyone’s personal responsibility to update the information. Which never happened.

We’re also a fast-growing company, which meant that we were losing track of who was a specialist in which areas. It’s so important to know who are the right people for which project when clients come to us with new projects.

Which systems were you using besides Excel?

Proact was using a ‘so-called solution’ based on SharePoint that wasn’t much of a solution at all. It was little more than a list of people’s names and their certifications. It was of no use to me because it was in effect no different than an Excel spreadsheet.

Why is having this information available at a single glance so important to you?

We need to meet numerous software manufacturers’ requirements, including those of AWS, Cisco, Microsoft, NetApp, and VMware. They set requirements such as ‘three certified staff members for Product X, two at this level and one at this level’.

We simply couldn’t retrieve this sort of information from our old SharePoint system. What’s more, we felt as though our suppliers were telling us what to do, rather than us holding the reins in our own hands. And Excel never sends us a notification at a predefined point in time before a certification is about to expire!

And have things gotten better since you started using AG5?

Fast forward to 2021, and we’re now using AG5. Anytime a supplier says to me, ‘Hey, you’re not certified in this or that!’, I can now respond by saying, ‘Hang on a sec, that’s not quite right. We got certified for this on such and such a date and these were the requirements. And they can’t tell me I need four certified staff members, because I can see from the agreement that it clearly stated we needed three. All this with a click of the mouse in AG5 and – in the blink of an eye – I’ve retrieved the relevant agreement or pulled up everyone’s certifications.

We have everything nicely under control now. AG5 also has this great feature called Expert Finder, which short-lists all our staff members with a specific certification.

What consequences would not having this information at your fingertips have for you?

If we didn’t have this under control and didn’t meet certification requirements, suppliers could remove us from their partner programs or demote us to a lower level. And when we’re competing on tenders, we need to be at the highest level to participate. So, in short, it’s crucial.

The most important aspect is being able to map manufacturers’ requirements directly to our staff’s certifications and qualifications. Everything at a single glance – meet the mighty matrix! What we’re doing with AG5 now, we’d never have achieved using SharePoint.

And are there any other benefits you’ve noticed since switching to AG5?

Everyone in my team works in the field – in other words, on location with our clients. I didn’t want to force them to log in to yet another website every evening. Instead, I wanted them to be able to use a smartphone app to quickly and easily upload a photo of their certificate and then let them get back to their work. That’s a piece of cake with AG5.

We have everything nicely under control now. AG5 also has this great feature called Expert Finder, which short-lists all our staff members with a specific certification.

Want to get a better grip on all your organization’s certifications?

About Proact

Proact is one of Europe’s leading independent data centers and cloud service providers. We help businesses and authorities cut costs and reduce risks while boosting their flexibility, productivity, and efficiency. How? With our accessible, secure IT solutions and services. And what’s more, even though we love technology at Proact, our competitive edge isn’t dependent on this technology, but on our people!

We create value for our clients by becoming partners – connecting our staff, our suppliers, and our clients with one another and leveraging our combined architecture, creativity, data, innovation, knowledge, and processes. This is what we mean by #ThePowerOfTogether.