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Complete, web-based application for big and small nursery groups

The year 2009, when the city of Antwerp contacted us to improve their tool for before-school care, marked the start of a success story that continues to this day. After all, the cities of Ghent and Leuven quickly followed in Antwerp’s footsteps, requesting their own custom-made applications. Furthermore, we started receiving requests from numerous other cities and municipalities that needed help streamlining their daycare systems in terms of administration, attendance recording and more. This encouraged us to transform the made-to-measure platform we built for the city of Leuven into a more standardized (yet still flexible) product suitable for small municipalities with a lesser budget, as well as for entire regions, like the East Cantons. Read on to find out all about this project, the advantages our web-based application brings to the table, and how we went about building it. 

Room for improvement to existing applications

Before we sunk our teeth in the matter, a lot of nurseries and daycare centers had been using non-web-based software packages that surely had their merits, but that left room for improvement too, for instance in the form of a central application system (parents had to call or send an e-mail to get their children enrolled, after which the nursery had to check for vacancies and get back to them) and details about local daycare centers (parents would be directed to their municipality’s website for more information).  

Policy-wise, too, the existing applications left some things to be desired. Users were unable to draw up reports for bigger regions or to come up with overall statistics on, for instance, how long parents have to wait before getting a response or how many children end up without a place. The only way to get those data would have been to request them from every individual day care center and combine them. Many cities and municipalities were in the market for an alternative. Enter Tactics! 

“The application saves us a lot of time. Sending emails to parents takes just one button press, for instance. Thanks to the flexibility and proactive attitude of the Tactics team, moreover, the application continues to improve. ”

Yannick Meys - Project officer childcare Leuven

Taking it to the web with Tactics

We analyzed the existing applications, explored ways to move our alternative to the web, and talked to users about the improvements they suggested. Together with both policy makers and the caretakers who would be using our tool, we drew up a detailed analysis. We took the parent as our starting point and came up with a web-based application consisting of four main components:  

  • a website or search engine to help parents find nearby nurseries  
  • a platform enabling parents to file applications and track their progress, as well as to request tax certificates, download invoices and more 
  • a mobile app allowing caretakers to check children in  
  • and an administrative tool to help nurseries take care of all of the above, as well as to plan and to communicate with parents  

These four components can also be used separately. For instance, the city of Halle only uses the first two (a combination we call ‘Lokaal Loket’), while OCMW Kortrijk has rolled out just the admin part. 

One application, many advantages

Our web-based solution offers key advantages for everyone in the industry. For one, it is a total package, combining everything from attendance recording to invoicing, and it is remarkably extensive to boot, in terms of functionalities as well reporting. Our platform is as flexible as they come, too, catering both to nurseries that work on an income-related basis (whose day rates are determined by Kind en Gezin) and those who do not. In addition, we offer not only hosting but also extensive support, always striving to find new solutions to meet Kind en Gezin’s needs. And how about our 99.5% uptime, which guarantees that our customers can always rely on our application?  

It doesn’t even stop there, because monthly updates regularly treat our users to novelties such as an updated layout or the possibility to not only log children’s coming and going in the mobile app, but also their play times, lunch times and nappy times. We have been hard at work improving the performance and speed of our application, too, and there’s a live dashboard in the making as we speak. Among other things, this dashboard will allow users to access new information and use new filtering options, and to connect to Google Analytics. Our application is growing as fast as the children it helps find suitable daycare for! 

“About 130 Brussels-based nurseries and daycare centers rely on the Tactics software. Using the same tool allows these facilities to process over 5,000 applications each year according to their own policy, and to efficiently allocate the available places. ”

Annelies Gryffroy - Coordinator ‘Samenwerken aan Kinderopvang Brussel’

Bright future for all (big and small!)

We remain focused on support and maintenance to ensure compliance with new regulations and to provide Kind en Gezin with all the data they need. Moreover, we will continue to develop new modules, for personnel planning or other complimentary functionalities childcare centers might need. Currently catering to regions, cities and municipalities that house 6 to 450 nurseries, we can safely say that our application is suitable for organizations of all sizes. We’re also happy to see that municipalities are joining forces and using our solution together, giving parents the advantage of being able to search for daycare facilities in their own as well as in neighboring towns. Win-win!