The Bauvista case study tells the story of a rapidly growing company with a great need for documentation, which uses FlowShare in its very own way.
They represent a strong community: Bauvista is one of the largest purchasing cooperatives for DIY stores and building materials retailers in Germany. The company is growing and currently cooperates with more than 700 specialist stores – and therefore has plenty to do. In coordinating across Germany, there is a lot of work to be done in the IT department. For example, if users want to use the company’s own accounting program or the PIM system, they need help.
The problem: Three tracks and too little time
This is where Thorsten Räker and the team from Bauvista’s IT department come into play. They regularly produce instructions for software users. In the past, they have followed three tracks for this. Räker explains: First, they created user manuals, for example for the company’s shareholders, “with proper Word templates”. Second, internally PowerPoint was used to “show something on the wall” and third, Bauvista also has a wiki where the respective instructions were also published.
“When things went badly, we had a Word version on the outside, a PowerPoint on the inside and another documentation in the wiki.”
The result was: A lot of work. The trinity of documentation cost Bauvista’s IT a lot of time, which in turn was lacking in other areas. At the same time, there was a lack of uniformity and structure: Sometimes it was “topsy-turvy”, because structures in the company did not always grow with the rapid company growth. When things had to be done quickly, documentation requirements were not met. The result was a rag rug. In clear language Räker: “When you maintain a wiki, one person takes this headline, another those, the next makes it colourful – and in the end it looks terrible”.
Individual solution: Export directly to the company wiki and test documentation with FlowShare
When the DSGVO became effective in 2018, Bauvista’s IT staff decided to change something about documentation – and came across FlowShare. Thorsten Räker tested the free version and was quickly familiarized with it. “After a quarter of an hour it was actually clear how it works.” For him this makes it especially interesting: “Because it doesn’t have so much bells and whistles and “chichi”, but instead there is simply a rule where content is placed and how texts and pictures are displayed. That’s very pleasant from the user’s point of view.”
The software is particularly well suited to Bauvista because of its numerous possibilities: Whether Powerpoint, Pdf or HTML, all use cases are combined in one tool. “If you want to make it nice, you can export a Powerpoint and have fun with the 1000 Microsoft Office fonts. And if I need a manual, you can do it in Word.” However, the HTML export is particularly exciting for Räker itself. Bauvista employees have used it to build their very own application: Thanks to an adjustment in the sharepoint, FlowShare HTML text can now be copied one-to-one into the page structure. After inserting and saving, the complete manual is uploaded fully formatted to the company wiki within seconds.
“Then we used FlowShare to fill up the entire wiki pages.”
The predefined structure of FlowShare establishes a uniform form of instructions – adapted to the corporate identity of Bauvista. If required, instructions can still be freely formatted with the PowerPoint or Word export. The HTML export has established itself in everyday life: This is the “fast, practical approach”.
Then Bauvista applies FlowShare in another use case: in the application development. In test runs, Bauvista employees let FlowShare run on the side. If error messages appear when clicking through, the testers can easily generate a Pdf and send it to the developer. “He can directly follow the click path. You don’t have to run over and point here, there and there every time.”
Result: 90 percent time savings and resources for growth
Räker sums up: “FlowShare is a tool that enables very simple documentation and test documentation. It is very intuitive to learn: for anyone who is not IT-affine as well”.
At the same time, the time savings for Bauvista’s information technology are enormous. No more screenshots, no more uploading manually “When I used to work on a relatively complex documentary, I might have spent two days on it. Today, especially with the sharepoint solution, it’s no longer 1.5 hours. You can’t get it any more simple in that area.”
This is good for everyone: IT no longer has to spend the whole day dealing with documentation and can use its time more efficiently. This means that FlowShare is already freeing up internal resources at Bauvista. The company wants to expand this further: In the future they want to work even more with FlowShare across departments: “We want to get away from isolated solutions that are prevailing across departments,” says Räker. With FlowShare, IT can instead establish a uniform and functioning structure.
Räker: “That’s how we got from the three-track system to a smooth solution.”
Image Sources: Bauvista GmbH & Co. KG