Orvis is a company that’s never been afraid of trailblazing.
Since its beginning in 1856, the company became one of the first mail-order retailers in the United States, as they brought their message of embracing, exploring, and protecting the wild to outdoor enthusiasts everywhere.
Today, Orvis is one of the most trusted fly-fishing and outdoor apparel brands in the world, and like most businesses of their size, the way their employees work has changed dramatically. Many people travel for work or work remotely, and the company realized they needed new ways to collaborate and communicate with each other.
They were already implementing Office 365 and recognized the need to move to an improved intranet, but they didn’t want to purchase a whole new set of software tools.
The company began searching for a potential partner online and found a Microsoft Partner, Aerie Consulting. By offering a custom solution, Aerie quickly distinguished themselves from other intranet companies that seemed to want Orvis’ needs to fit into a pre-existing box. “Aerie wanted to understand what we needed,” said Gretchen Farrell, VP of Human Resources. “They said, okay, we’re going to build your box, and we already have the tools to do it.”
Orvis aimed to cut down on the time it takes to search for and find information on their intranet. They wanted a system that could be accessed by multiple people in different locations, with easier systems for managing content. They also wanted accessibility outside the physical organization beyond a VPN and the ability to reduce the amount of email and attachments being sent between employees.
The existing platform at Orvis was showing its age, and managers knew they needed a better one for communication and collaboration. “It just was not flexible at all,” says Gretchen. “We needed a better tool.”
It was time to update the intranet in order to manage documents more efficiently and securely access information through multiple means.
Aerie Consulting provided a tagging system that allowed for sharing information across departments to occur easily without multiple logins. It also allowed staff to work on multiple documents at the same time and to access those documents when they were on the road or working at a different site.
"Aerie wanted to understand what we needed. They said, okay, we’re going to build your box, and we already have the tools to do it.”
VP of Human Resources
Solution & Results
Aerie’s solution focused on design and user experience as they deployed an Accelerated Intranet for their client. Working with Aerie gave Orvis the chance to talk through each problem, one at a time. “They gave us multiple avenues to look at our problem, while other vendors just didn’t get us or they didn’t listen,” says Erin McEnaney, Orvis’ Corporate Administration Manager.
To begin building the new intranet, Aerie asked Orvis’ team to identify how they wanted their content organized. They set up a taxonomy for the site that was efficient and simple. When the internal staff at Orvis didn’t have the resources to complete a task, or when staff didn’t understand the new terminology and systems needed to implement the upgrade, Aerie Consulting stepped in to help. “They were patient as they worked with some of our team members to work out permissions so that different audiences could see what they need,” says Erin.
“Aerie has a really great system.” says Erin. “Their work was great, and they were really good at keeping us moving forward.”
After the work on the intranet was completed, Orvis moved toward company-wide adoption. While it’s not always easy to sell people on a new way of doing things, some departments discovered the system’s benefits right away. The customer service department needs to have quick access to items on the intranet, and with the new Orvis Connect intranet, it’s all right there.
As internal rollout continues, Aerie has helped Orvis guide the implementation forward. Aerie’s representatives recently conducted an all-day training session for staff that needed help with certain tasks on the new intranet.
“They don’t abandon you,” says Gretchen. “Whether it’s tech help, or an issue we need to solve. They’re there.”
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