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NVM’s IT strategy gets the house in order

Photo Daan van Beek
Editor: Daan van Beek
Digital Marketing Specialist
Table of Contents

As an organization with a vision, the NVM has designed an IT-shared service center for its various NVM units. They have business objectives that need to be supported by flexible, high-quality, and robust IT solutions. The trade association for broker-appraisers was faced with the challenge of making their IT strategy even more future-proof. In order to do this, they reviewed their current IT system, created an overview of their ambitions and business goals, and then outlined a series of roadmaps. This led to a future-proof IT strategy, which was created in collaboration with Passionned Group. After this fruitful project, the strategy is now being implemented in the organization.

About NVM

NVM logoThe Royal Dutch Cooperative Association of Real Estate Agents and Valuers is better known as NVM. We see NVM mostly in the Dutch news when figures on the housing market, an important gauge of the economy, are presented. Many know the NVM from Funda, the real estate platform of brokers for consumers and entrepreneurs in the Netherlands since 2001. What often remains hidden from the outside world is that NVM Holding is much larger, and also consists of companies that form the technological basis for the Dutch real estate market. With data, solutions, and services, NVM brokers are enabled to serve their customers optimally.

IT management party

NVM’s IT environment is designed as a shared services center, from which six NVM organizations purchase services. Two companies operating under the NVM flag take care of their own IT. Furthermore, NVM can be identified as an “IT management party”. Therefore, IT Manager Derk-Jan Uijl’s team is compact and includes technical and functional administrators. Derk-Jan explains that things like workplace management and security are outsourced to experts in the field. Developments in topics such as security are so fast that it is difficult to keep up with them independently and to take appropriate measures, so it is smart to work with specialized partners. Additionally, cloud applications are widely used, for example for office, finance, and CRM.

IT is not a goal in itself

Derk-Jan knows IT is not an end in itself, but its functionality is to support NVM’s business strategy and objectives. There needs to be an IT strategy with annual plans and roadmaps that guide the organization to make the right investments and allocate the right resources. The IT strategy must be set up so that you can:

  • Strategically, look far ahead and work toward an IT environment to achieve long-term goals.
  • Be as flexible as possible to respond quickly to changes in the market or society.

Derk-Jan noticed that NVM’s IT planning was too focused on a one- to two-year time frame. “In order to be even better prepared for the future and even better able to support the business strategy of the future, it was necessary to draw up an IT strategy. I had little experience drafting an ICT strategy and therefore oriented myself towards a training course. During this process I discovered, partly through an introductory conversation with Dick Pouw, that it would be even better and more instructive if I took up the strategy together with him,” continues Derk-Jan.

Dick is a very experienced IT specialist at Passionned Group. He looked at the NVM organization as a CIO and recognized the challenge the IT strategy presents. “In addition, the approach of working on a new strategy under Dick’s guidance fit in well with our own ideas,” Derk-Jan continues.

Creating a strategy

Mapping the existing environment

The first step in the project consisted of mapping the existing environment based on questions such as:

  • What are the current building blocks of the infrastructure?
  • What are its costs?
  • Is it a stable environment that meets the requirements?
  • What is the maturity of the environment, can you continue to grow?

Derk-Jan: “It was very useful to be able to work with an experienced expert from Passionned Group in this exercise. That’s how we established a 0-measurement that was created objectively; you may have a colored opinion yourself. And from that 0-measurement, we went into the organization to retrieve the wishes and objectives of our stakeholders.”

Valuable guidance

To illustrate, Derk-Jan refers to the NVM companies that purchase services from the shared services center. “We wanted to know from them, for example, what business objective they have in the short and long term, how their organization would develop and what growth path they have in mind. We could then translate this into wishes and requirements relating to IT performance and capacity.

We now have Passionned Group’s knowledge embedded in our own IT team, which is very valuable.

To make it tangible, we have divided this into five pillars: workplace, security, business applications, data, and portal & website. So we have the insights from the 0-measurement as well as a picture of what we need in the (near) future, complete with a clear prioritization. Now we can outline roadmaps for a set of core IT competencies. These now provide valuable guidance for further development of the IT environment. And in such a way that we can support the business objectives of the various NVM companies.”

IT as a strategic partner

We now have an IT strategy that enables IT to act even more as a strategic partner of the business. This framework is as solid as a rock. For example, the organization expects to do increasingly data-driven work and the IT infrastructure has to be prepared for this. Based on the new strategy, it’s clear what needs to be developed for this. Derk-Jan also knows that business objectives are not set in stone and that changes will occur. “But we know now that we are working toward an IT environment that is agile and that enables change.”

We learned a lot from Passionned Group

Derk-Jan concludes, “We learned a lot from Passionned Group’s support. You can see that with their knowledge and experience, we were able to ask the right questions to our stakeholders to surface the real IT needs and requirements. This collaboration was also a form of “training on the job” for us. We now have Passionned Group’s knowledge embedded in our IT team which is very valuable.”

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