You are on page 1of 32

April 2012, Issue 1, Volume 14

‘ Sustainability is not a trend’
Two FM experts share their predictions for 2012

More in this issue:

Trends: Incident registration at schools / Add-on: RTF Document Creator / TOPdesk customer events 2012



I’ll probably be very stressed by the time you read this. My birthday is in February, so I’ve had more than just my full-time job at TOPdesk to keep me busy the past few weeks: I’ve been acting as a facility manager for my own birthday party. I’ve been saving up change for parking tickets, I’ve rented chairs and I’ve even stocked up on extra toilet paper. Organizing birthdays is a gargantuan task. I don’t know how mothers manage it. They make a special birthday hat, sort out a Spiderman or Barbie cake, make up games and somehow find the time to bake pancakes for all the little guests. I feel accomplished when I manage pineapple and cheese chunks on a stick. The true heroes of organization are the professional facility managers, though. They manage to keep entire companies functioning every day, from snacks to toilet paper. Better yet, they even make it seem easy! This issue of TOPdesk Magazine focuses on the Facility Manager. Two experts tell us more about the trends in this branch. You can also read about how a handful of TOPdesk employees are organizing customer events in both the Netherlands and the UK. I’m about to shut down my PC and slip back into my role as party planner. Though maybe I ought to hire a professional facility manager after all… Enjoy your read, Nienke Deuss, editor-in-chief


CONTENTS April ’12


Renske van der Heide, product manager

Continue reading on page 24


6 9 14 16 20 21 24 26 29 32

Incident registration at schools

Facilities Management in 2012

No worries about the implementation

‘Customer focus’

Incident Management dashboard


Ambitious partners in Facilities Management

The RTF Document Creator


▲ Creating clean letters, work sheets and distribution forms with the RTF Document Creator.

Over fifty years of Facilities Management experience: Leo van de Pieterman, service and support manager at KLM and Sodexo (l) and Gerard de Bruijn, director and owner of Humanagement.


Want to stay up to date?
To stay on top of the latest TOPdesk news and service management developments, follow us on Twitter via @TOPdesk (Dutch) and @TOPdesk_UK.

TOPdesk, Mavim and Bureau Hoving & Van Bon kick off new collaboration
As of December 2011, TOPdesk, Mavim and Bureau Hoving & Van Bon will be joining forces. This new collaboration, which combines their accumulated process and service management expertise, has resulted in a module based entirely on the ISM method (Integrated Service Management). The introduction of this module makes the ISM method available for the SME and mid-segment markets. Bureau Hoving & Van Bon’s ISM method is the standard method for setting up and improving IT management. The ISM framework that makes up the ISM method comprises a concise process model with only six processes. It is based on ITIL and SLA and has been completely integrated into TOPdesk and Mavim software. “What it comes down to is the customer getting access to an immediate solution,” says Wim Hoving, director of Bureau Hoving & Van Bon. “The detailed process model helps achieve good results quickly, which will help build support within the organization. Now that TOPdesk and Mavim support the ISM method, things will only get easier and more straightforward for the end user.”

A selection of our recent tweets: @TOPdesk_UK: Always nice to hear that our customers have nominated us for the “Service Management Product of the Year” at the NCA 2012. @MeeMeijer: Had an interesting talk this morning with @topdesk about tooling for functional management #bisl #bim - all in one tool doesn’t seem like the best solution @TOPdesk @MeeMeijer The solution lies in good integration possibilities and the right tool combinations.

TOPdesk customer satisfaction survey
P&O Systems, the foremost platform for HR, planning and salary professionals, will take place on 13 March. TOPdesk will once again have a presence at this annual congress, presenting our HR services software. This year’s theme is the further professionalization of HRM through durable talent management, the New World of Work, social media and HR’s role. Several speakers will share their vision on developments and trends in the field, while visitors

@DinadeJonge 2nd consultancy day, successful SSD implementation #Topdesk I&A, HRM and FH, collaboration improving as we speak

have access to customer cases, various workshops and software provider expositions. TOPdesk will be demonstrating our HR services software’s possibilities. Attending P&O systems is free. For more information, visit


24 & 25 Service Desk & IT Support Show | Earls Court, London

Tooling Event visits Belgium
This year, the Tooling Event will take place in Belgium for the first time, visiting the Brussels Expo on 28 and 29 March, together with the Infosecurity and Storage Expo fairs. Signing up for the Tooling Event means that you can visit these expos free of charge. The Tooling Event has proven itself to be the primary Dutch exposition for IT managers and professionals. TOPdesk will be present with a stand and two presentations on the topic of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).

13 TOPdesk on Tour | Tower of London, London

26 Facilities Management demo day | TOPdesk Belgium bvba, Antwerp

Signing up
Taking part in the Tooling Event is free of charge. You can sign up via the registration link on the TOPdesk website. For more information about the Tooling Event and this year’s line-up, please visit

V-ICT-OR Shopt IT (date and location to be announced) 22, 23 & 24 REALTY | Tour & Taxis, Brussels 31 IT Service Management demo day | TOPdesk Belgium bvba, Antwerp

24 & 26 Government & IT | Jaarbeurs, Utrecht

15 TOPdesk Symposium | Chassé Theatre, Breda 24 & 25 EFMC | Copenhagen, Denmark

Sign up now for TOPdesk on Tour
In addition to the diverse programme, our CEO Wolter Smit will be making a very special announcement in his keynote speech. Sign up now for TOPdesk on Tour on 13 June via


Photography: Robin Kuijs

▲▲ Arjen Janssens - Zadkine

Text: Niek Steenhuis


New Dutch legislation will make it mandatory for schools to register all incidents from September 2012 onwards. This policy was conceived with an eye toward improving school safety. ROC Zadkine is ahead of the game: they have been registering incidents for six years, and started using TOPdesk last year.


heft, violence, threats – unfortunately, such incidents are nothing new. Actually registering

not just for the facilities coordinator, but all Zadkine employees.” Zadkine started its search for a professional package that could support their requirements. “The products currently on the market either don’t have incident registration as a standard part of the package, or they have a hefty price tag. I sat down with the IT department to see what they were using: TOPdesk. We initiated talks with TOPdesk, who, to our surprise, were able to meet all our wishes. We started developing TOPdesk for the Zadkine Incident Monitor (ZIM) in 2010, and the solution was soon realized. What’s more, we were able to use existing data thanks to a link with PeopleSoft, our school administration program.” if the situation calls for it. Just last week I received such an alert at a quarter to three in the afternoon. It took me until ten o’clock that night to sort out the situation with Zadkine, the police and other emergency service It’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely

these incidents is, however. The underlying thought is straightforward: it is easier for schools to respond to incidents if they understand the underlying nature and

ROC Zadkine is a firm believer in the importance of incident registration. It has been mandatory since 2005 for Zadkine employees to register any incidents they witness or experience themselves. An incident registration system was set up in 2008. Arjen Janssens, senior Security & Safety advisor at Zadkine, tells us more. “I was asked to create a security plan in 2008, which had to cover both safety and security. We wanted to focus on physical security, but also paid attention to social security at the school. Monitoring this security plays an important part in achieving our goal.”

Arjen Janssens - Zadkine

Immediate action
ZIM went live last September, heralded by an extensive promotional campaign that included a website, posters and flyers. “Incidents started pouring in from day one.

rewarding.” “The Board of Directors is informed of every incident that is categorized as ‘very serious’. You don’t want them to have to find out about what happened on the news.”

Incident registration simplified
“We tackled the incident registration in 2008,” says Janssens. “It was a bit makeshift at first, with us using Access and Excel. It worked, but it wasn’t exactly simple. We wanted to make it easier to log incidents –

That was a bit of a surprise, but it proved that the system worked. We now get a few calls every day, varying from minor occurrences to serious incidents,” explains Janssens. “When an incident is logged, I receive an alert on my smartphone. I can take immediate action

Stolen smartphones
The first trends emerged after a few months of using TOPdesk. “Theft-related


incidents are the most common,” says Janssens. “Especially theft of mobile phones, laptops and tablet computers. We weren’t surprised that it happened, but we did not realize just how common it was.” “In the past, we would investigate each individual case. However, we lacked a central overview of all incidents. Now we have better insight into trends, so we can respond accordingly. We post warnings on the student portal and keep teachers up to date via the intranet.”

version, in collaboration with TOPdesk and myself. I recently presented our product to the intermediate vocational education authority’s Safety workgroup, who were also enthusiastic.” How does ZIM fit in with the Dutch government’s plans? “Our system meets all the guidelines. However, our policy is only indirectly connected to government policy. I think it’s a great development, and can’t wait for it to be compulsory. But we didn’t want to wait for that: safety at school is simply too important to postpone.”

Arjen Janssens - Zadkine

Positive feedback
Janssens is positive about TOPdesk’s role within Zadkine. “Users’ experiences with TOPdesk are nothing but positive. Logging calls is easy. Best of all, teachers can log incidents directly from the classroom – which, after all, is where most incidents take place.” Zadkine and TOPdesk’s solution is also doing well in other schools, as Janssens explains. “During ZIM’s test phase, I received word from colleagues at other schools who were interested in our solution. Some of them are now working on their own

Text: Niek Steenhuis Photography: Aad Hoogendoorn

TRenDs In FM 9

A new year brings new perspectives. We asked two Facility Management experts about trends in the field. >>

▲▲ Leo van de Pieterman (l) Gerard de Bruijn


We have agreed to meet at a restaurant a stone’s throw from the exposition halls in ’s-Hertogenbosch, which is where the Dutch Facilities Expo is organized every year. Leo van de Pieterman and Gerard de Bruijn have over fifty years of Facilities Management experience between them. Van de Piederman

has worked as a service and support manager for KLM and Sodexo, while De Bruijn is the man behind Humanagement. Renske van der Heide, a product manager at TOPdesk, asked them about Facilities Management trends and their predictions for 2012.

▲▲ F.l.t.r.: Leo van de Pieterman, Gerard de Bruijn, Renske van der Heide


Leo van de Pieterman has been active in Facilities Management for over thirty years, working first for KLM and then moving to Sodexo in 2007. He is also a member of a number of Dutch organizations for Facilities Management professionals. Gerard de Bruijn is the CEO of Humanagement, an agency for interim project management for facilities. Humanagement pushes the field’s boundaries, focusing on topics such as IT integration, Business Continuity Management and facilities ethics. Renske van der Heide works as a product manager for TOPdesk. She is particularly interested in Facilities Management, and is chairman of the Young Professionals group in the Dutch Facilities Management organization FMN.

Facilities ethics
� RvdH: What do you think are the most interesting themes in FM at the moment? � GdB: Facilities ethics, for a start. Humanagement will be researching this theme in 2012. How do we treat our colleagues and business relations? What should we do when the cleaners are treated like dirt? What should you do when confronted with integrity issues? � RvdH: What can facility managers to do encourage ethical behaviour? � GdB: I believe that you should know what your organization stands for, and that facility managers should set the right example. You need to translate ethics into responsible actions. Being a good commissioning party is one of the most important aspects, as it makes sure that external customers are also good employers. � LvdP: Ethics is certainly an important theme, also in outsourcing. In my experience, you can achieve much more when both parties give each other the space they need. The customer will express his needs – which are not the same as his expectations – and the provider can give feedback on how these needs can be met, preferably right from the start. � RvdH: You can’t really ask questions like ‘Have

you cleaned three times yet this week?’ What kind of agreements do you make? � LvdP: The exact number of times that the office has been cleaned is no longer important. The real question is: has the cleaning resulted in the desired effects? You can then determine what the desired effects are.

The New World of Work
� LvdP: The New World of Work is also an important theme. � GdB: Exactly. Work relations are changing: there are more and more possibilities to work at home and during the commute, and virtual meetings are also becoming more commonplace. People are starting to use the office as a kind of pigeon coop. � RvdH: If people work at home or on location, facility managers are not really able to control how they set up their work space. How can you influence this? � GdB: You shouldn’t. � LvdP: You simply cannot control work environments in the New World of Work. People use their laptops to work in restaurants and cafés, while others prefer to work at home. If we are lucky, they will

Gerard de Bruijn

In the spotlight
TOPdesk on Tour is returning to London on 13 June 2012. Join us at the Tower of London for informative presentations, interactive workshops and a very special announcement from our CEO, Wolter Smit. Sign up at


have a study or office at home that complies with health and safety regulations to some extent. But you don’t want to know how many people work at the kitchen table because they find that more enjoyable. � GdB: I do hope that we can move away from strict regulations in this area: more initiatives such as Bring Your Own Device, for instance, instead of pinning the situation down with rules and regulations. Although, even if people can work wherever and whenever they want, I’m not sure that they will make use of this freedom; a large group will still feel the need to collaborate with colleagues and will prefer to do this at the office. rather than just being pushed by individuals, which has resulted in tangible changes. For instance, there are more energy-efficient company cars now. Facility suppliers want to set themselves apart with an eco-friendly

we know what can be improved and how to

Leo van de Pieterman

do it – it’s time to get started! Present your customers with investments that will pay for themselves, such as healthier food. That will up productivity by increasing feelings of wellbeing among your staff, and also cut down on absenteeism. It’s an investment, but it pays for itself in the long run.

The future
� RvdH: What are your predictions for 2012? � LvdP: I think we will start seeing the consequences of the New World of Work. I, for one, cannot wait to see the results. � GdB: I hope we can finally cast off the yoke of the economic crisis – that things won’t be too sober and sombre, and that we can offer services with passion, pride and pleasure. After all, that’s what facilities management is all about.

� GdB: We haven’t discussed sustainability yet! It has developed into more than just a hobby for back-to-nature enthusiasts. I’m seeing lots of great developments. Sustainability is actually on many organizations’ agendas,

image and are acting accordingly. � LvdP: Sustainability is more than just a trend, though. Much like improving services, it has become a part of operational management. There is still room for improvement, of course, but we’re ready for it: we have the technology,


Text: Lydje Snieders

LYdjE SnIEdERS at the Consultancy department and regularly writes about developments regarding TOPdesk Consultancy.

Many people think that all TOPdesk Consultancy does is perform TOPdesk implementations. However, the 5,000 implementations we have performed over the past 15 years have helped us to develop expertise in various fields. One of these fields is TOPdesk project management. In this article, I’ll explain what TOPdesk project managers do and what they bring to the table when they join a project.
TOPdesk project managers
TOPdesk has really grown as a company. Our customer base includes all kinds of organizations, from one-man businesses to multinationals. TOPdesk is an integral part of services for many larger organizations, and so the regular consultancy program does not meet all their needs and wishes. TOPdesk project managers were needed to help make these more complex implementations a success, and so a group of experienced TOPdesk consultants began to develop the expertise needed to fulfil this role. Daniël Huijbens is one of these consultants, and helped shape TOPdesk project management. “It started with a few complex implementations that we started without a clear plan. Before long, we noticed that project managers booked great results in a short time.” • implementations of company-critical importance • implementations in hierarchical organizations (with a project group, management group and other bodies, for instance) • implementations that must be performed on relatively short notice • implementations involving several departments (during a fusion, for instance) • implementations involving several TOPdesk employees (several consultants, technical specialists, process specialists, trainers, planners, bespoke work specialists, import specialists, etc.)

Implementation types
TOPdesk project managers are responsible for the project’s success. He or she acts as the coordinator for large or especially complex implementations, such as:

Photography: Robin Kuijs


It often becomes apparent during the tender phase whether or not a TOPdesk project manager will be required for that specific implementation. If possible, the project leader will be involved in the process from the very start. This gives the project leader the chance to contribute ideas for the process, give advice on the approach and planning and supplement the tender with a project proposal if necessary. However, TOPdesk project management has a number of other

Daniël Huijbens, TOPdesk project manager

Roles and tasks
In addition to the TOPdesk project manager, implementations often involve internal project managers and management and/ or project groups. The internal project manager is responsible for all tasks that need to be performed within the organization to make the implementation a success. The TOPdesk project leader is responsible for tasks related to TOPdesk: everything surrounding the application implementation and the framework within which the project is executed. “We’re responsible for the TOPdesk project from the very beginning until the moment we pass the project on to the organization,” says Huijbens. “We take care of a lot of time-consuming tasks, so the internal project manager doesn’t have to.”

advantages. For instance, project managers can be contacted directly and bill per hour instead of per day – contrary to regular consultants. This means that TOPdesk project leaders are extremely flexible and can often make appointments on short notice. Huijbens: “Something can come up during the implementation that can hamper progress. It’s great that you can quickly contact your TOPdesk project manager in such cases. The project manager is always up to date on the situation and can get to work on a solution straight away.” A TOPdesk project manager also makes it easier to employ several TOPdesk consultants or specialists for the same project. The leader is their contact and makes sure that the planning is optimized, as Huijbens explains. “I make sure that everyone is on the same page and has the opportunity to focus on their own tasks.”

Added value
A TOPdesk project manager can provide a considerable contribution to implementation processes that require extensive coordination. The TOPdesk project manager is the primary contact, responsible for safeguarding project continuity, keeping everyone involved on the same page and resolving any problems that might arise. Our project managers are senior consultants who have proven their expertise in the field. “The customer doesn’t need to worry about their TOPdesk implementation. We make sure that all deadlines are met,” explains Huijbens. TOPdesk project leaders have coordinated implementations at USG, Océ, Fire Department Hollands-Midden, Ministry of Justice, The Hague Council, Amsterdam Council, Province of Gelderland and Boskalis. Want more information on TOPdesk project management possibilities? Contact TOPdesk Consultancy at +31(0)15 270 09 09

16 CUsTOmeR evenTs

Photography: Ted Erkkila, Tower of London

TOPDEsK’s 2012 cUstomER EVENts

The second edition of the UK TOPdesk on Tour will take place on 13 June. This event at the Tower of London will include presentations and interactive workshops covering the latest topics in IT, FM and HR

Text: Nienke Deuss

CUsTOmeR evenTs 17

Every other year, hundreds of TOPdesk customers and partners travel to a special location in the Netherlands and the UK for TOPdesk’s customer events. This spring, TOPdesk UK will be going on tour to host an event at the Tower of London, while the Chassé theatre in Breda, the Netherlands will set the scene for TOPdesk’s Dutch Symposium. Our customers can expect a very special announcement at each of these locations.
How it started
TOPdesk’s customer events have been known to be huge, but they have not always been on the same scale, explains Frank Droogsma, TOPdesk director. “Our first customer day was in 1999. We held it in the Delft University of Technology’s auditorium. We had about 40 employees at the time, and did everything ourselves. We even took our own PCs to demonstrate the latest version of the software. We didn’t actually finish the version until the night before, so someone had to head to the location in the dead of night to install it on our PCs. Everything is much more structured nowadays, both the symposiums and releasing new versions!” Since then, the TOPdesk Symposium has become the main IT, FM and HR service management event in the Netherlands – as confirmed by the previous edition’s success. “The 2009 TOPdesk Symposium was good for about 900 visitors,” says Droogsma. “There were discussions on current topics within service management, such as the increasing interaction between FM, HRM and IT, as well
▲▲ A room full of TOPdesk customers at the previous TOPdesk Symposium

About a hundred customers visited the first symposium, and everyone was very enthusiastic. “We were a small company at the time” says Droogsma, “and we had booked the main authority on ITIL! We could tell by customers’ reactions that we were on to a success, and we have organized a symposium roughly once every 18 months since.”

as trends such as SaaS and ITIL3.

18 CUsTOmeR evenTs
◄◄ One of the many presentations

TOPdesk Symposium
All Dutch and Belgian customers have been invited, and are in for an unforgettable experience on 15 May. “I’m part of the team responsible for the programme,” explains Sarah Rose. “We asked colleagues for input, and organized brainstorms with the departments that have a lot of customer contact. We want to make sure that the programming fits what’s going on with our customer base.” The info market will feature prominently at the Symposium. “It’s going to be very special,” says Rose. “There will be stands for our partner organizations, and there will be plenty of workshops. Jeroen Boks, the head of our Support department, will be hosting a session on performance. What it comes down to is that there’s plenty to see and do!”


CUsTOmeR evenTs 19
►► The Tower of London

TOPdesk on Tour
Following previous customer events at the Imperial War Museum and the HMS Belfast, the first edition of TOPdesk on Tour UK took place in 2010. Enthusiastic TOPdesk users from across Britain arrived as early as an hour in advance and were treated to a tour of Arsenal’s stadium, an exclusive lunch served by two-star Michelin Chef Raymond Blanc, and many interesting presentations. It was a successful day for all involved. This year, TOPdesk UK is ready for its second TOPdesk on Tour event on 13 June at the Tower of London. All our British customers have been invited for an informative and fun-packed day. Our visitors can attend presentations and workshops covering the latest topics in IT, FM and HR with a few surprises along the way. In addition, they will be able to enjoy a guided tour of the Tower of London.

The programme
The schedule for both TOPdesk on Tour and TOPdesk Symposium is full of items that will be interesting for everyone. The presentations will focus on both practical tips and tricks for optimizing service process, and tackle broader themes within service management. Discussions will be organized for various user groups to make sure that we can really sink our teeth into current topics.

Sign up now for TOPdesk on Tour
In addition to the diverse programme, our CEO Wolter Smit will be making a very special announcement in his keynote speech. Sign up now for TOPdesk on Tour on 13 June via To sign up for the TOPdesk Symposium (Dutch only), please visit


Text: Renske van der Heide

Photography: Robin Kuijs

…is a product manager at TOPdesk and chairwoman of the FMN (Facility Management Netherlands) Young Professionals network.

‘Customer focus’ seems to be the new key to success, if we’re to believe the magazines and blogs. Is it because Steve Jobs, a hero to many consumers, passed away last year? Is it because people feel the urge to improve in the wake of their new year’s resolutions? Or maybe it’s just me – in my new job as product manager, I find myself focusing on our customers more and more.


hether you’re dealing with customers or colleagues, every service provider should keep in

These needs canot always be predicted, as people do not always know what they want. Who could have predicted three years ago that they want an iPad now? Discovering your customers’ needs and problems takes effort, and that is exactly what I do as a TOPdesk product manager.

and user tests to get the input we need to improve our products. This principle is valuable to all service providers. You can get useful feedback – both positive and negative – by asking questions and starting discussions. Spending a day with a customer and observing their processes on location also gives great insight into the situations they face on a daily basis. You can use the data you collect to make sure

mind what is expected of them. Everyone who provides services to external customers will have to discuss the services on offer with the customer sooner or later. The customer will often initiate this discussion – after all, they want to know what they’re paying for, and will switch to a different provider if they are not happy. The same is true for providing services to colleagues: you need to research and discuss their wishes and needs. Supporting departments such as IT, FM and HR help colleagues to better perform their daily tasks: everyone works together to achieve the organization’s goals. However, it isn’t always possible to provide products and services that meet your customer’s wishes. You need to know who your customer is and what their needs are.


that your services meet your customer’s expectations. Here at TOPdesk, we are already thinking of new products for next year. I can’t wait for the next sessions, where we will be sharing our ideas with you – our customers. You see, customer focus isn’t just useful: it’s a lot of fun, too!

My job is to find out what our customers really want. We continually ask for customer feedback during the development of our software. We use interviews, focus groups

Text: Timme Hos

Photography: Kees Muizelaar


Victa has developed a fully interactive management dashboard for TOPdesk’s service management software. QlikView for TOPdesk gives you a complete overview of all registered incidents, displayed in a variety of diagrams, graphics and even in Google Maps. >>

▲▲ Bas-Jan Lubbers (l), Carlo Vruwink

22 PARTneR In fOCUs

They came up with the idea for a TOPdesk management dashboard about four years ago, says Bas-Jan Lubbers, Victa’s commercial manager. “One of our customers wanted dynamic management information for their IT department.” It turns out that this was not a unique wish. “We often see that the management wants to create greater transparency within the department.” Roughly twenty organizations now use QlikView for TOPdesk.

Quick implementation Each organization sets up TOPdesk differently to meet its unique needs; however, the management dashboard can always be implemented quickly, and tailored to your organization’s requirements. “The dashboard is up and running within a day, on average. Customers can always get off to a flying start.”

Performance insight for management and employees
Many organizations monitor incidents, but they often miss the performance insight offered by QlikView for TOPdesk. “There is a considerable demand for straightforward overviews within organizations’ incident registration systems,” says Lubbers. “QlikView for TOPdesk lets you see the most common cause of incidents, so you can anticipate and adjust accordingly.” From diagrams to graphics, the management dashboard presents clear

Interested in QlikView for TOPdesk? Contact Victa at +31 (0)74 291 52 08 or

and straightforward overviews. All information needed is displayed on every desirable level, from comprehensive overviews to individual incidents (accessible via a handy search function). You can also save or print the desired information as a report at any moment. The management dashboard is not only useful for team leaders and managers, but also for employees. The performance information can be made visible in the office in a literal sense by displaying it via a projector. “Each employee can then see the state of their productivity,” explains Lubbers. “This raises workload awareness, and shows colleagues whether or not they are conforming to SLAs.”


Google Maps lets you pinpoint problem areas – literally.

The management dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of all incidents.

Incidents can be monitored on various levels and displayed in a variety of ways. Determine the level of detail with a single click.


Text: Milou Snaterse

TOPdesk believes that customer feedback is essential during the design and development phase of our new products. But what do we do with this input?

Erik Pols and Renske van der Heide, product managers

Renske van der Heide and Erik Pols are TOPdesk product managers. They visit customers throughout the development phase to fully understand their wishes and needs, and use this knowledge to improve our software.


Photography: Robin Kuijs


Preliminary research
Product managers prefer to visit customers before the development of a new product has even begun. During these visits, they see how and why customers use TOPdesk and they use this information to improve the product. Pols and Van der Heide often visit customers. “We have customers tell us how they use TOPdesk,” explains Pols. “Some find that odd, but concrete information about our product is invaluable to us. For instance, it’s really useful to know which information people would want to add to certain forms. Do they want extra fields? Or do they want to not be limited to the standard fields, allowing for more flexible data entry? Answering these questions helps us improve TOPdesk forms.” However, TOPdesk is interested in more than just how the product is used, as Van der Heide explains. “We also want to know what other tools and products our customers use to do their work. This can vary from making notes on post-its to other software. What we want to know is, why not just use TOPdesk? People are experts in finding solutions, but each post-it a customer uses is a sign that we can improve our software.” TOPdesk is used by organizations and departments with a wide variety of sizes and requirements. It is a challenge for product managers to adapt the tool to suit each customer. “It’s always tricky to balance TOPdesk so that it’s perfect for every organization,” says Pols.

Customer feedback during development
The product managers formulate a product vision based on the preliminary research, for instance by creating product sketches. After analysing the product vision they ask two questions: are we heading in the right direction? And are our solutions good solutions? Customer feedback is key to answering these questions. “We could get feedback during the design phase, but also when our development department has already created something,” says Van der Heide. The product managers show the customer design sketches, or demonstrate a preliminary product design on a computer. This enables customers to provide feedback early on in the development process and help improve the product. Organizing customer days is one of the ways TOPdesk involves its customers in the software development process. Twenty customers attended the May 2011 session in Delft. The objective of that particular session was to check whether or not the product vision and accompanying sketches resolved the problems that TOPdesk customers faced. The product managers also wanted to gain insight into which TOPdesk components customers thought were the most important. Each customer was given twenty cards stating wishes about TOPdesk use. The customers could then select ten of the cards and arrange them in order of importance. “The information we gathered during that session was extremely valuable,” says Pols.


Evaluating the product
Have we been able to improve the product? End users can best judge whether or not we have succeeded. That is why product managers also visit customers to evaluate the software. “It’s good to see how customers receive our products and whether they feel anything is missing,” says Pols. The information gathered during such visit is used to further improve the tool. The product managers do their best to visit a wide range of customers. “Diversity is very important,” says Van der Heide. “It’s good that we interview TOPdesk users in different fields using varied applications. Smaller organizations have different needs than larger organizations, for instance. Enthusiasm and constructive criticism are great during these evaluations, no matter your size.”

26 PARtNER IN focUs

Photography: Jonas Mertens

▲▲ Yves Stevens, Marketing & Development Manager at IFMA Belgium

Text: Nienke Deuss


IFMA is one of facilities management’s best-known professional organizations. When they found themselves looking for a software partner, they soon chose TOPdesk. “TOPdesk’s core business is the heart of tomorrow’s facilities management,” says Yves Stevens, IFMA Belgium’s marketing and development manager.


FMA’s headquarters are situated in Houston (USA), but the organization also has considerable influence in Europe. Yves

Beyond the ivory tower

Stevens is not surprised that IFMA Belgium is the organization’s largest branch. “Facilities management’s largest players are in Brussels. The economic climate has really helped facilities management develop here. After all, tighter budgets mean we have to give more thought to structuring company processes, including facilities services.” Despite its considerable growth, facilities management has not yet matured as a sector. “It’s still in its teenage phase,” says Stevens. “It’s a relatively new sector. IFMA Belgium was founded seventeen years ago, but was primarily staffed by volunteers at the time. It’s only in the past five years that we have really developed a strong structure and increased our number of members, contacts and partners.”

Yves Stevens - IFMA Belgium

TOPdesk exceeded IFMA’s partner requirements. “Facilities management has so many aspects, from hardcore FM like property management right down to softer aspects, such as services. All these elements are streamlined in the software.” When selecting a package, Stevens was particularly impressed by TOPdesk’s structure and approach. “For me, TOPdesk is the next generation of facilities management software.

excellent opportunities. “I’d rather be a software provider than a car manufacturer right now,” says Stevens. “Car manufacturers are facing ever more complex economic and ecological challenges. Optimizing existing (facilities) processes is a must when budgets are cut, and software is always part of the solution. With the rise of the CAFM, it was only logical for IFMA to look for a partnership with a software provider. “We invite partners to share their expertise at our member events. As a professional organization, we have to

And I don’t just mean the package, but the company’s entire approach. When you visit the office, you see young people in the same space. There’s no boss in the ivory tower. What really stood out for me were the low average age and high levels of expertise.”

Quality over quantity
As an organization for professionals, IFMA has no profit motive. Rather, it is focused on enrichment, which is also apparent in its limited number of partnerships. “They’re not sponsorship deals,” explains Stevens. “We don’t want a wall full of partner logos. A partnership means more to us than just

Surviving the crisis
The facilities branch has continued to professionalize in recent years. The current economic climate offers software providers

secure partners with the right know-how – in service management software, for instance.”


‘thanks for the money, see you next year’. I want to get up every morning and wonder what we can do for each other, so to speak.” Stevens believes that partnerships should not last forever. “At a certain point, your core business will have reached the point where you run the risk of being stereotyped. You don’t want people thinking that your services are limited to a specific branch. You have to invest in something else to keep from painting yourself in a corner.”

opinions on FM. “Many organizations see FM as a necessary evil. We want to show people that optimizing facilities management actually leads to profit. CEOs need to realize that the facility manager should be at his right hand.” IFMA Belgium regularly confers with the other IFMA branches, explains Stevens. “Facilities management is different in every country, so we can learn a lot from each other. FM doesn’t just stop at the border. In my ideal future, we will unite all European branches into a single

Yves Stevens - IFMA Belgium

European ambitions
IFMA is trying to change the prevailing

EUFMA organization.”


How can I make Change activities dependent on each other
The question mark icon, featured on every process page, gives you access to the new Help & Support website. Here you can find the answer to all of your questions in the form of FAQs, manuals, Tips & Tricks and ‘Getting started’ instructions.

Text: Patrick Mackaaij

Photography: Robin Kuijs

woRK smARtER 29

patRICk maCkaaIj
…is a consultant and team leader at TOPDesk. He specializes in technical issues and optimizing processes.

This article outlines the use of the RTF Document Creator in TOPdesk. With this add-on, you can create neat letters, work receipts and distribution forms based on data saved in TOPdesk.


he RTF Document Creator lets you create text and calendar files. RTF (Rich Text Format) is a file format with which

values (key values). This data is retrieved from the TOPdesk Event Management module.

Step 1: Create a template file in a word processor
Create a template. You can use a word processor such as Microsoft Word for this.

you can add formatting such as fonts and images, as well as plain text. RTF is supported by various text processing applications, including Microsoft Word. The link between the RTF Document Creator and TOPdesk enables you to create documents with attractive layouts. What’s more, you don’t have to copy or retype information manually. The RTF Document Creator can also be used for specific versions. For instance, you can

The RTF Document Creator has many applications. For instance, you can upload the generated text file to the corresponding card, or save the file and send it as an email attachment. The RTF Document Creator uses generic text files, so it is also possible to create iCalendar files (.ics).

a) Insert the TOPdesk values you want to replace as tags, such as: $<employee_name>$ b) Save the document as an RTF file in the ‘bespoke-work-resources’ folder (which you will have to create manually). and upload it to TOPdesk as bespoke work.

c) Zip the ‘bespoke-work-resources’ folder

How does the RTF Document Creator work?
The RTF Document Creator works with a template file. In this file, you use tags to indicate the text that should be replaced. Once this is done, the RTF Document Creator will generate a new text file, using key words to replace the tags with the corresponding

convert the date files of tags that start with ‘ics_’ into the UTC time zone needed for iCalendar. It is also possible to convert field names in RTF documents to barcode-128, generating scannable bar codes.

Step 2: Create an HTTP request in TOPdesk
TOPdesk controls the RTF Document Creator with an HTTP request action, which you can find in the Event Management module. You can also use this module to determine which template is used and whether the generated document should be linked to the card (see figure 2).

Pay attention to the layout You need to pay extra attention to the layout if you are using data from linked cards. If the document has a large number of rows, it is possible that not all data will fit on a single page. You can include
▲ Figure 1: Template file with tags (employee provision form) The TOPdesk Magazine covers subjects that are topical in the world of professional service desks in IT, facilities and other service providing organizations. TOPdesk Magazine is intended for managers, service desk employees, facilities organizations and electronic city councils – anyone who is involved with supporting clients on a daily basis. This concerns both the processes and the technology behind these services. ▲ Figure 2: Processing the template in the Event Management module. The values containing TOPdesk information are enclosed by ‘\C’ and ‘\c’ tags to ensure that TOPdesk is able to properly interpret the special characters. Chief Editor: Nienke Deuss Editors: Nienke Deuss, Timme Hos, Milou Snaterse, Niek TOPdesk Magazine is a TOPdesk publication Tel: +31 (0)15 270 09 00 Email:

Want to comment? Go to

data from linked cards in a table, but you will have to apply edits directly to the rough RTF layout. Using bullet points does not look as good, but it is simpler (see the $<objects>$ bullet in figure 1).

The HTTP request action is performed automatically when a predefined event takes place, such as creating or editing a card. You can also set up TOPdesk so that the end user can create the document manually via context menus (see figure 3).

Troublesome templates
If you create template files in Microsoft Word, it is possible that not all tags you insert will be replaced. This is caused by Microsoft word inadvertently inserting hidden characters in tags, so that the RTF Document Creator can no longer recognize them. To solve this problem, delete the tag in question (including $< >$), type the tag again and save the document as RTF.

Steenhuis, Nicola van de Velde Translators: Leah Clarke, Nicola van de Velde, Hazel Hollis Contributors: Lydje Snieders, Renske van der Heide, Patrick Mackaaij, Roland de Schepper Layout: Joost Knuit, Louise van der Laak, Ontwerpbureau DDC Photography: Ted Erkkila, Aad Hoogendoorn, Robin Kuijs, Jonas Mertens, Kees Muizelaar Copy editor: Nicola van de Velde A print run of 5,000 Quarterly magazine

Figure 3: It is possible to adjust TOPdesk’s settings so that end users can use the context menu to create the document manually.

Add-ons forTOPdesk
TOPdesk offers add-ons to Enterprise customers to meet wishes held by several customers. Addon installation is usually supervised by a TOPdesk consultant, who explains the bespoke work and takes care of the initial set up. Please visit the TOPdesk Extranet for more information about add-ons.

Languages: Dutch, English


A successful SSD starts with a successful promotion!
▼ Desktop card with easy-tofollow steps for Waternet

One of the animated manuals for Waternet

The more your end users use the SSD, the more time and money you will save. After a successful promotion, the number of calls logged in the SSD increases by 40% on average!

t Please feel free to contact us to discuss the possibilities of your Self Service Desk promotion.

+31 (0)15 270 09 60

e w @ddcnl

tips + tricks
Creating SSD accounts for several people
If you are logged in as an admin or supervisor, you will be able to see the ‘Generate login name and password’ button under the ‘Persons’ overview (or a selection of persons). When you click this button, you will see a template with which you can set up the login names and passwords for the group of people in question. If you want to mail these details to people automatically, you will have to set up an event and an action. Follow these steps: 1. Go to ‘Settings Management’. 2. Open the Event Explorer and create a new event for people (‘Edit card’). 3. For changed fields, use ‘Encrypted Self Service Desk password’. 4. Go to the Action Explorer and create a new action for people (‘email message’). Make sure that this action is also active for the Operator’s Section. 5. Under ‘Insert field – login name’ select ‘Self Service Desk login name’. Select ‘Encrypted Self Service Desk password’ under ‘miscellaneous’. Make sure that you select the ‘Only send if selections are used’ option under ‘use for selections’. 6. Link the action to the created event. Want to visit the Help & Support site? Click on the question You will have to refresh the System Settings before the event and action can be used. mark icon on a process page in TOPdesk, or select the menu option Help > Help & Support. We are always updating our Help & Support site with new manuals and tips on how to get the most out of your TOPdesk. The replies below this text will not be included in the mail import. If you are working with an HTML email, type: <font size =“1” color=”white”> -----answer answer----- </font>

Avoid including earlier messages in a mail import
Another useful option in the Event Management module is available when using the mail import for incidents and changes. As of the 4.4 update, it is possible to add text to emails generated by the Event Management module that will prevent the entire conversation from being imported. This is ideal for keeping memo fields clean and organized. This is done as follows: In the email’s plain text, type: -----<text> <text>----(five dashes ‘word’ space ‘word’ five dashes)

Online Help & Support

TOPdesk UK limited t +44 (0)20 7803 4200 e w TOPdesk Germany GmbH t +49 (0)631 624 00 0 e w

TOPdesk Belgium t +32 (0)3 292 32 90 e w TOPdesk Netherlands t +31 (0)15 270 09 00 e w

TOPdesk France t + 33 (0) 811 11 59 84 e w TOPdesk Hungary t +36 1 301 0190 e w

Copyright © 2012 TOPdesk UK limited. Although this magazine has been produced with the utmost care and attention, the writers cannot be held responsible in any way for any damages that may occur due to errors and / or deficiencies in this publication.