Generally speaking, the cooperation among the various partners working on the project went smoothly. Team members visibly deliberated considerably about the very concept of partnership and, according to them, some of the criteria guarantee the success of cooperation.

  • Clear agreements on the project were of prime importance. The legal aspect is in fact very sophisticated from every standpoint. It was essential to define the roles and obligations of each party as clearly as possible, especially since it was a cost/benefit-sharing type partnership. Writing contracts must not be left solely to the discretion of lawyers and computer scientists. It is vital for cooperation between the two interests.
  • It is also worth knowing your potential partner and phasing in cooperation, on the terms of the organization carrying the project. It is sometimes preferable to create a partnership step-by-step. Since trust develops gradually, it is easier to go from a client-supplier relationship to more extensive cooperation later.
  • Patience with certain problems is also very important, and especially with this type of project whose technological dimensions are not always fully mastered because they are constantly changing.

The lack of long-term vision on the part of a few partners, which is essential for going beyond simple client-supplier type cooperation, was described as an obstacle to the development of healthy cooperation.

Type of Partnership
The first partnership was with the different FOREM departments (between the DIS, employment and training) as well as between headquarters and the regional branches.
Even though this is obviously a natural partnership, it was not easy for Hotjob team members to establish relations because for a long time they were viewed as pure "techies" with insufficient understanding of FOREM's business dimension.
Fundamental partnership with senior management. The strategic will underlying the project was very clear and highly promising.
The lead technical partner, Software AG, is responsible for portal development. This is a client-supplier type partnership resulting from a competition. A relationship of trust has developed over the years and the consultants work at the project site, where they are involved in technical decisions and input some of their know-how.
The WIN is a natural partner (master contract) that supplies the telecommunications infrastructure.
The cooperation with ANPE 7 is closer to the idea one might have of a partnership. They provided all the facilities for basing the Hotjob system on their directory of occupations. The legal agreement took months before being finalized.
FOREM's longstanding natural partner.
Strategic alliance
The financial partnership with the Walloon region, in addition to FOREM grant, was made possible through the CIS project. A DG5 site also provided a contribution.
The partnership with APEC 8 is much less formal and important. In Belgium, the concept of manager only exists unofficially. This made it interesting to see how they would solve this problem with APEC. Here it is more a matter of exchanging information. Visibility is provided, but it doesn't yet go much farther than that. In this case, it is more a matter of maintaining good contacts in the event of a more official partnership in the future.
APEC was already known by FOREM. There had been partnerships in the past.
With Appel, it was mainly a business partnership to furnish Imac's Employment Resource Areas. This was followed by joint marketing efforts, co-branding and marketing space swaps. Since these initial experiences were positive, Hotjob eventually wanted to extend the cooperation to the realm of e-learning. In terms of service, it didn't work. Appel lacked the sufficient capital in terms of time and human resources to invest in the project.
Business partnership.
Hotjob used L'ECHO magazine to supply articles for its Scoop e-zine. Editorial costs would have been too high had it been produced internally. The agreement was reached in the wake of predominantly financial differences.
Business partnership

All these agreements were settled by the legal department responsible for examining the case.

This case study clearly reveals that, from the outset, the Hotjob project was an external one intended primarily for external users. It was screened from FOREM's internal agents during the development phase. This gave rise to a few problems, especially when the portal was launched. In fact, the agents did not incorporate the new on-line products into their daily tasks, or did so very little.

This situation, however, was clearly understood by the organization and we are now seeing a shift in priorities with increasing consideration given to the internal services involved. Noteworthy, for example, is the development of an interface specifically intended for FOREM agents.

  • Usage rate climbing;
  • General satisfaction hard to assess at this early stage of the project.

7Agence nationale pour l'Emploi (French-speaking public service) [National Employment Agency]
8Agence pour l'emploi des cadres [Management Employment Agency]

© 2003 Center for Technology in Government