- Folder structure and versioning: Searching for information is no longer a problem
- GDPR compliance and German hosting: Stackfield proves itself in terms of data security
- The tool is easy to understand and can be explained in a fast and simple manner, even to less tech-savvy users
- By using WebHooks information can be automatically stored and processed in Stackfield
With over 160 locations in Europe Creditreform has been specializing in debt collection, credit assessment, and marketing services for 144 years. Today, over 160,000 members place their trust in the company. Maic Findeisen has been in charge of the IT team at Creditreform Hagen for about 15 years. With his team, he handles Hard- and Software, as well as new developments, problems, individual customer solutions, online performances, and much more. "We reach out in any direction of customer projects and always try to support our colleagues in the best possible way." In this context, Maic Findeisen always liked trying out new tools, reorganizing and combining work in the company, and improving their structures.
Maic Findeisen – Head of the IT department at Creditreform Hagen
File, categorize, and retrieve information faster
Before using Stackfield, managing central information in the company wasn't always as easy, since Creditreform's product portfolio includes a large number of different documents such as price lists, product sheets, or even advertising materials. Ideally, all of these need to be organized in a clear and structured manner and be available to the relevant team at all times. Creditreform's receivables management in particular has to deal with a large amount of legal information and is in contact with numerous partners.
Creditreform used to use a file server with a conventional directory structure to store files and documents. However, it was very difficult to version the files. "If the documents are called 'Collection agreement new', 'Collection agreement new new' and 'Collection agreement the latest', no one will be able to understand what's going on," Maic Findeisen explains.
Maintaining an overview was accordingly difficult without a corresponding tool, and an attempt was made to establish an intranet in the company. What Maic Findeisen was looking for was transparency, "transparency that comes from many different features, that comes from having the information stored for everyone to access at any time, from having information stored up to date." The problem with intranets: maintenance is much more complex and time-consuming, and usage is more geared toward the consumption of information.
GDPR and German hosting
While searching for a suitable tool, the company focused on one aspect in particular: the fulfillment of certain data protection criteria. "Since we work a lot with company data, debtor data, and debt collection data due to the business area, we are incredibly bound by, then the Federal Data Protection Act, now the GDPR. Naturally, you then don't just pick a random provider on the Internet." Above all, Maic Findeisen did not want the data to be stored on American servers and insisted on hosting in Germany. It was at this point seven years ago that he came across Stackfield.
Stackfield stripped down to its essentials
Over the years, Maic Findeisen had tested various local programs and learned one thing above all: whether a tool can be used purposefully depends on the intensity with which employees use it.
"If the users simply don't open the system, don't use it, don't add anything to it, fall back into old patterns, it will eventually die because there is simply no interest. And I can't trust a system unless I know it has everything relevant in it."
On Stackfield, however, he came across a structure that impressed him. "I've done some staff training before, and we also have in-house documentation on it, and the whole thing is always very very easy to explain. (...) When it comes to organization, I always say: think of it as a building, as a house. (...) Then I tell them: The room groups are floors in our building and the rooms lead off from that. And imagine a room like this: Whoever has the key to the room can get into the room. And in the room, there is a pinboard on the wall, there is a table for meetings, a cabinet with files,... This analogy is a very good way to explain how Stackfield works, and most people remember it."
Maic Findeisen assigns each team, including the management level, its own room group on Stackfield, which contains all rooms that are relevant for the team, i.e. that cover the team's corresponding subject areas and projects. In addition, each room group contains a "general" room with meeting minutes and the possibility for team-internal communication. For all employees of the company combined, there is also the "lobby" room. Here, all information relevant to everyone is exchanged.
When asked whether this "house analogy" also works for less tech-savvy people and makes it easier to get started, Maic Findeisen nods enthusiastically. "Yes, absolutely! If I look at Slack, for example, they have something similar called channels. But I don't need to tell colleagues who have been working in debt collection for 30 years about channels. Instead, if I tell them: Your receivables management team has a room and everyone from your team is in this room and you can go in there and talk to each other. This they understand and feel good about."
Stackfield as an interface for communication with other offices
Especially when it comes to communication between different locations, Stackfield is a great help for Creditreform. "We are working a lot with another Creditreform company right now. The colleagues there were also given a Stackfield account, and that's extremely helpful." Now, when someone from another location needs Maic Findeisen's help, they simply look at it using screen sharing. In other words, a 1:1 call is started and the corresponding colleague shares the screen with him so he can review the problem live. "Across offices that are an hour's drive apart, it's a really nice thing to be able to talk and show your screen." As a particularly modern location, Creditreform Hagen, therefore, ensures that Stackfield is installed at every employee's office and that everyone has access.
"I think we've accumulated a few hundred rooms over time."
APIs in use: Automated support ticket system and absences
For internal support, Creditreform has come up with something special: In the "IT" room group, a separate room was created for support, containing all the company's employees. Except for the tasks module, all modules were deactivated in the room, since the Kanban board is supposed to be the center of attention here. Now, if an employee has a problem and needs help from IT, they can simply create a task card and thus create a support ticket, which is then processed by one of the responsible colleagues.
However, Creditreform goes one step further by using WebHooks: If a process does not run properly on one of its servers, a ticket is automatically created on Stackfield via the provided API, using a so-called cURL command.
APIs are also used successfully in other areas: "We use a time tracking system that also serves as a vacation management system, and this solution has an API. We have a small tool running that briefly queries the status of the employees at 9 a.m. and then knows whether they are absent today. for example because of vocational school, illness, or vacation. The tool then generates a small text package and sends it to our lobby room via WebHook. The text says something like, "Please note, this person is absent due to vacation", and then everyone knows what's going on.
This saves Creditreform lengthy back-and-forth calls. Everyone knows at all times which colleagues are available and which are not.