Business Management Consultancy
Orangutech’s Senior Director of Public Sector
Since 2003, Ottawa-based harmon.ie partner Orangutech has been working with more than 20 Canadian Federal Government agencies to help them solve their IT challenges. Working with SharePoint for more than two decades, Orangutech has grown and expanded its offerings to shepherd government agencies through major digital transformation and change management initiatives leveraging Microsoft 365.
By focusing on government agencies and building out comprehensive programs that tackle Information Management from a holistic perspective, Orangutech has helped Canada Post, the Public Service Commission of Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and many other government departments and agencies achieve their goals and make them more productive and efficient.
Government agencies are vast bureaucracies with large workforces, mountains of data, and stringent compliance requirements. Different departments are in various states of transitioning to digital workflows, but these transformations are slow and often meet lots of internal resistance. However, because many legacy systems have reached end-of-life and are no longer supported, there’s a new urgency to migrate to modern Information Management solutions such as SharePoint and Microsoft 365.
“We’re seeing right now that they have to change, they’re being forced to change,” said Eric Hein, Orangutech’s Senior Director of Public Sector. “Making that change a frictionless experience is what we try to do.”
The best-architected solutions, however, aren’t just focused on systems and software. Equally important is a smooth end-user experience that encourages adoption and compliance by seamlessly integrating into existing workflows and optimizing them for superior performance. Far too often, organizations invest in these products and create or modify workflows without accounting for how difficult and time-consuming they can be, which can heavily influence adoption and compliance rates.
“harmon.ie ties digital transformation with end-user capabilities, to drive a real, long-lasting change in organizational information management. After all, plans are great, but if people don’t use the solutions, it doesn’t matter how powerful they are,” said Hein. “If it takes me 40 minutes to complete a task, is that a good thing?”
Orangutech offers full-service, end-to-end migrations to Microsoft 365. In addition to SharePoint, Teams, and the standard Microsoft 365 applications, Orangutech also bundles in four other applications—including harmon.ie—to make these Information Management initiatives even more successful.
“If that end user isn’t engaging with that platform in the right way, they’re either creating incorrect data or not using it at all,” Hein said. “This is where you’re going to spend your day. It’s going to be compliant, you’re going to be able to store records. harmon.ie is a massive component of doing Information Management without thinking it’s a slog or a hassle or that it breaks your flow.”
Emphasizing the importance of the end-user experience is paramount to creating lasting, meaningful change. Tools that make workflows faster and easier than before create a natural incentive for end-user adoption.
“It’s a cultural transformation—It cannot be understated. The projects that fail are the ones that don’t think that all the way through,” Hein said. “We see harmon.ie as an integral piece of what we’re doing on the services side because it fits so tightly with our services niche.”
Hein shared some tips on selling Information Management solutions and how to use harmon.ie to overcome objections.
Beyond solution design and implementation, selling into the government sector has additional challenges. Sales cycles are quite long, often taking 12-18 months to close a large-scale enterprise deal, and then another three to five years for a full implementation and deployment. To help prospects navigate this process, Orangutech became procurement experts in the Canadian government space.
“We’re engaging with Information Management managers and directors. But they don’t have decision-making or purchase power. You have to work up the chain to get approval and funding,” Hein said. “Every spend is scrutinized—there’s a lens of scrutiny for any new spend on software or the cloud. That’s challenging out of the gate.”
One way Orangutech has made it easier for their customers to acquire harmon.ie is by getting it listed in the Canadian Software Licensing Supply Arrangement (SLSA) catalog, which is the federal government’s pre-approved list of software products with negotiated prices, security compliance, and approved vendors. Orangutech is the exclusive vendor for harmon.ie on the SLSA, giving them a competitive advantage as well.
harmon.ie’s unique value proposition may not always resonate with prospects, but this usually comes from an incomplete understanding of email’s role in Information Management and confusion about Microsoft 365’s capabilities. When demonstrating the ability to drag and drop emails from Outlook directly into SharePoint via the harmon.ie panel in Outlook, for example, not everyone understands its novelty or function.
“We hear ‘Outlook already does this’—which it doesn’t—but it’s just enlightening the user that the built-in Microsoft technology isn’t powerful, efficient, and robust enough for their Information Management needs,” Hein said, emphasizing that harmon.ie partners must educate on the solution’s entire value proposition and not just the slick user interface.
Orangutech experiences the most success when they establish themselves as a trusted advisor for Information Management, not just a vendor pushing software. And because they have a large roster of other customers in the Canadian government, the firm can connect them with other clients as references operating under the same general rules and regulations.
Orangutech introduces harmon.ie early on in the sales process because end-user engagement should be a throughline for the entire engagement. Hein likens it to the Agile development methodology.
“You can’t ‘waterfall’ user engagement at the end. You should be thinking about how your users are going to engage with your system from the start,” Hein said, adding “If people don’t use it, it doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter how nice it is.”
Orangutech also focuses on selling harmon.ie at the enterprise level. “Don’t undercut your opportunity and avoid user counts,” Hein said. “We try to avoid how many users are in your group., etc. We don’t want to limit ourselves.”
While Orangutech does offer high-level training on harmon.ie, what really helps with adoption is sharing the great experiences other government departments have had.
“Government doesn’t want to be the first, but we have a ton of success stories at the federal level with harmon.ie,” Hein continued. “We can’t make it mandatory, but if you care about the end-user experience, meet them in the apps they’re familiar with. It’s part of our total Information Management story.”
Artificial Intelligence is dominating the headlines, and IT and IM professionals are feeling pressure to leverage this new technology in-house, and government organizations are no exception. While AI isn’t Orangutech’s core business, its work sets the stage for success on that front.
“Information Management is still hyper-relevant,” Hein said. “It requires everything to be in M365. AI is a future state, but getting all the data in M365 has to come first. Your AI is only as good as your IM. It could revolutionize the way they do work and you get some huge time savings. But if your data is bad, the AI is bad.”
Orangutech has found harmon.ie to be a great partner. Hein talks to harmon.ie staff regularly and finds the company to be very partner-focused.
“harmon.ie is continually making the product better, which is important in a Microsoft landscape that changes a lot,” Hein said “They’re constantly looking at what’s coming down the line at what Microsoft is doing.”
Weaving harmon.ie’s value proposition into your company’s overall story as an integral pillar for success is key. “We’ve had the most success by making harmon.ie non-negotiable in our engagements.”