The Vrije Academie has been the largest educational institution for art & culture in the Netherlands since 1990. With a large team of professional speakers, the Vrije Academie makes it possible to become acquainted with art, philosophy, science, photography, history and architecture in an in-depth and pleasurable manner. Every day, we work from our offices in Amsterdam to provide a contemporary, wide and original range of courses. With over 6000 classes per year throughout the Netherlands, the Vrije Academie is never far away.
The Vrije Academie has grown considerably since 1990, but still has the aim of reaching more people and acquainting more people with art and culture.
At that time, and with this growth in mind, the wish came about for a new system. “Our previous, custom-made system did exactly what we wanted and needed it to. It was a CMS and a CRM system in one, but was unable to facilitate our growth. Volumes were getting bigger and our requirements were becoming increasingly more extensive, so that was what prompted us to start to look for a new solution,” explains Marieke Vellekoop, Managing Director at Vrije Academie.
Important criteria during this search were scalability, a secure environment for our customer data, the possibility to link to other systems, the possibility to link to the website, up-to-date reports and an absolute must was that our customers wouldn’t experience any disruption. An MVP was not an option.
The possibilities offered by Salesforce met these requirements, so a selection process to find a partner then followed. “Gen25 was selected based on the knowledge they showed in relation not just to our business objectives, but also a substantive and technical knowledge of Salesforce. We also felt it was very important that Gen25 worked with in-house developers, as this would enable us to make rapid switches and keep a finger on the pulse. In Gen25, we have a partner who is able to provide us with good advice when it comes to realising our Salesforce objectives”.
In 2019, we launched a new website built by Gen25 on cloud platform Heroku. On the face of it, our students won’t notice much of a change, apart from the fresh new design (by No Protocol). Behind the scenes, we are extremely happy with how we are able to manage everything from Salesforce – from a new course that we enter in Salesforce, which can then we viewed on the website straight away, to the processing of the order and the sending of the confirmation. The entire process takes place in Salesforce, which is easy to use and is making us more efficient.
The planning, programming and secretariat departments are all using Salesforce, but they only see the aspects that are important to them. For example, planning is responsible for our locations throughout the Netherlands and they are able to see at a glance who, when and what room has been booked. It is very easy for the secretariat to link e-mail addresses to a booking, so when a request comes in, it can be responded to more quickly. Each department has different needs and therefore also different views in Salesforce.