In this blog series, we shine a spotlight on the harmon.ie partner program: a way for businesses to help their customers achieve information management best practice as part of their digital workplace strategy. We have spoken to some of our partners to uncover the unique value they deliver to customers by working with harmon.ie partner program and Microsoft.
The best business partnerships rely on a mutual benefit for both parties. The Microsoft Partner Network, for example, improves upon the existing Microsoft tech stack to provide more value to Microsoft users and increase sales. Microsoft, in turn, maintains and increases adoption of its cloud services and products.
harmon.ie partner program enables partners to provide their customers with added value, while generating additional revenue in the process. In this blog series, we highlight some of our most successful partners.
The Digital Workplace team at CGI Next (formerly Affecto and now part of CGI) provides solutions to organizations going through a migration to the cloud. We spoke to Emelie Lundin—Digital Workplace Sales & Marketing Consultant at CGI Next—about why SharePoint remains the foundation for information management in the digital workplace and how a tool like harmon.ie is perfect for their customers working in the Microsoft cloud.
Going back to its on-premises days, SharePoint has long stood tall as the primary platform for storing documents. Its scalability and reliability allows organizations to securely store hundreds of thousands of documents and grant access to as few or as many users as necessary. It is for this reason that so many business users are familiar and comfortable with SharePoint.
For the Digital Workplace team at CGI Next, that build the infrastructure and architecture behind SharePoint to help public sector organizations move to the cloud, the prevalence of SharePoint brings with it its own challenges. Every digital workplace customer must be aware of the information challenges inherent in SharePoint Online as part of Office 365, and how to overcome them.
SharePoint is at the heart of almost all digital workplace projects as it’s the primary platform for storing documents. As more businesses migrate to the cloud, there is an ongoing shift from SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online in Office 365. Within Office 365, end-users are still managing information in SharePoint Online, but also deal with information in applications like Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and Yammer. Obviously, all this content can’t be managed in SharePoint alone. Even if organizations aren’t using the full suite of cloud applications, with 124.5 billion business emails sent and received every day in 2018, you can be sure most of them will at least be using Outlook. But it’s here where emails that contain business-critical and sensitive information remain especially unmanaged.
This problem with information management in Office 365, while significant, shouldn’t be enough to deter organizations from digitizing their workplace. Instead, it should be a key component to their digital workplace strategy.
harmon.ie eases information management in Office 365 by making content like Outlook emails readily accessible in SharePoint, as the Digital Workplace team discovered. Emelie explains how a project in 2017 led them to finding harmon.ie:
“A customer was looking for help with a cloud migration. We set up new platforms to remove siloed systems and dispersed documents that were making information management difficult. We built document management, case management, archiving and more into SharePoint to help solve the problem. But we also needed a way to archive emails, which can’t be done in SharePoint. So we started looking for products in the market that could provide email archiving and that’s how we found harmon.ie.”
The Digital Workplace team deployed harmon.ie to help their customer archive emails, but they quickly realized that the product can also be used to drag and drop emails from Outlook directly into SharePoint to aid end-user adoption.
“From an interface perspective, harmon.ie is very intuitive. Because it works as a sidebar within your Outlook window, it’s easy for the user to understand and work with, and it fits in with our solution very well. But at the same time, you have a lot of functionality which lets you do more with the tool. We didn’t find that with other solutions we considered.”
The Digital Workplace team understood the similarity between harmon.ie’s focus on the end-user experience and their own. This was key in helping Emelie and the Digital Workplace team actively market harmon.ie to their own customers.
“Almost all of our competitors offer a single product for the whole digital workplace on Office 365. We believe you shouldn’t simply sell a product, especially as the Microsoft ecosystem changes so often. A standalone, all-inclusive product will likely be outdated or irrelevant three, four, or five years down the line. We believe in providing sustainable solutions, which means the technology within that solution can change. We never code solutions so heavily that customers must go with CGI Next and us alone. We want to keep it as simple as possible—we definitely don’t want to restrict our customers in terms of products and therefore functionality.”
In the same way the Digital Workplace team at CGU Next are looking to help customers find the right solution, not simply another piece of technology, the harmon.ie partner program provides a mutually beneficial relationship between harmon.ie and leading SharePoint-focused services providers.
The partner program not only lets businesses help their own customers—from solving information management problems to improving user adoption—it also helps them find new ones. harmon.ie is not built for a specific type or size of company. It’s for any business that acknowledges the importance of information management. This makes it easy to start a dialog around the solution, as Emelie explains:
“When we start conversations with customers, it will always be initiated by the SharePoint platform and improving things on the architectural side. But harmon.ie lets us expand and improve those conversations. We are still relaying the same message—we want to improve the user experience—but now we can have that conversation not just with IT, but with the end-users themselves.
“Our partnership with harmon.ie is very important to us. harmon.ie is the last piece of the puzzle; another important step along the digital workplace journey. The tool’s UX fits into our solutions very easily, and harmon.ie’s overall message matches our own. In the end, it’s the users that will work every day with the product we build. So, we need to listen to them and help them. And harmon.ie helps us do that.”
Look out for more harmon.ie partner spotlight blogs coming soon to find out how other companies have started using harmon.ie to provide more value to their customers.