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Customer Story

LumApps Intranet Makes the Spark Fly for Antwerp Firefighters

To enhance communication throughout their scattered organization, Antwerp Fire Brigade realized a new intranet was needed to replace their outdated intranet

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Public | Utilities


Brandweer Zone Antwerpen ("Antwerp Fire Brigade") one of thirty-five Belgian and one of five Antwerp relief zones with a protection area of three municipalities of Antwerp, Wijnegem and Zwijndrecht with approximately a population of 550,000 people.

To improve communicating throughout the scattered organization
By replacing the outdated intranet with a new, user-friendly intranet solution 
By doing thorough research on beforehand to meet (exceed) expectations of users

An Outdated Intranet

The challenge: Antwerp Fire Brigade had an outdated intranet, which - although managed by the communication department - had not been used quite frequently by them nor by the other departments in the past years. It was there and that was about all. The communication department desired an active and attractive intranet again.

In addition, there was an internal segregation between administrative and operational staff. This is understandable due to the nature of the work, but a new intranet might help bring those two worlds closer together.
They started looking for a tool that could fulfill a dynamic role. A place where you can view static, general information (such as news, processes, procedures, etc.) on the one hand, and interact with each other in a community on the other hand. Moreover, there was a need for a place that you can make your own, based on your profile, your position and your interests.

In short, they were looking for a cool, interactive tool that works for them on top of Google Workspace in order to bring people together and to offer added value at an individual level.

“Together with Xebia, we analyzed the use of our outdated intranet and asked our colleagues about their expectations. We have extracted crucial information from this for the perfect architecture of Project Vonk.”
Kristof Geens Product owner Project Vonk ("Project Spark")

Seamlessly Connected with Google

Antwerp Fire Brigade already was a customer of Xebia, for Google Workspace. When they asked for a renewed intranet, we presented them with the different options within our ecosystem: Google Sites, Happeo and LumApps. The choice fell on the latter, because LumApps primarily looks at the structure of an organization and places the social environment on top of it. This working method is most in line with the organizational structure and the wishes of Antwerp Fire Brigade.

Every customer has ideas about what they want with an intranet, this was also the case at Brandweer Zone Antwerpen. It is important that those ideas are structured, because you start out completely blank. Xebia played an important role in this: our consultants started by asking a lot of questions. What exactly do you need? How should it work? What should it look like? Who can see what? What do you want to achieve?

Based on these questions, the ideas were converted into a concrete design that Xebia implemented together with Antwerp Fire Brigade. On the back end, in terms of IT, we made sure that the Google admin part connects seamlessly with LumApps. In this way, for example, LumApps uses the same rights structure as Google Workspace and you get access to certain parts on the intranet based on your Google Groups memberships. The third aspect that Xebia helped with is the graphic design, in which a graphic framework has been placed on top of the LumApps environment, to meet the desired branding.

Usually, Xebia also trains the end users after implementation, to help them get to know and use the new intranet. However, Antwerp Fire Brigade has chosen to do this training internally, something that we only encourage since the organization has to carry it itself after all.

“To make our LumApps product completely our own, we have added a design layer together with Xebia. The look-and-feel of Vonk ("Spark") is now really on fire!”
Belgie Brandweer
Kristof Geens Product owner Project Vonk ("Project Spark")

Connecting People and Make the Spark Fly

The Antwerp Fire Brigade now has an intranet, called ‘Vonk’ (meaning: Spark), that structurally meets the wishes of the organization and its various departments. Pages have been created that are accessible to specific people and departments; the rights structure for this is completely based on Google.

Based on their Google profile and their position in the organization, they can quickly access content that is important to them. People no longer have to click and browse until they find what's important to them. From a social perspective, communities have now emerged between people who normally had no contact in the workplace. In other words: project Spark really creates connection. The spark flies!

Feedback for Ongoing Improvements

The communication department is currently collecting users’ feedback. Not only by asking them directly, through the short polls in LumApps. They also use smart tools such as Hotjar and Google Analytics to investigate which pages are most visited, which click behavior people exhibit and where the points of improvement are.

The combination of the data and the feedback will be used to create a second version of Vonk, which is even more in line with the wishes and needs of the users. Whether Xebia will play a role in this has not yet been determined. In the end, we like to transfer the knowledge and expertise to our customers, so that they are able to continue to innovate themselves.

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