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Ron Harris of ‘Omega Computer Services’: “Find your voice/niche”

Find your voice/niche — Be the best at what you do and in your market. Build marketing material around that. Get those small sound bites for the website, or ask for referrals for google, or Facebook. Let the world know how good you are! I know it seems silly sometimes to ask someone for a review, but […]

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Find your voice/niche — Be the best at what you do and in your market. Build marketing material around that. Get those small sound bites for the website, or ask for referrals for google, or Facebook. Let the world know how good you are! I know it seems silly sometimes to ask someone for a review, but most people will do it without hesitation. If you want to make it a thing, put something behind it, sports tickets, or gift cards, gamify it! Every year we run some sort of giveaway for reviews or referrals. Happy customers are your best salespeople.


As part of our series about “How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ron Harris.

Ron Harris is the Vice President of Omega Computer Services, an I.T. Managed Service Provider in Michigan specializing in managed I.T. solutions for insurance, financial, and non-profit industries.


Can you help explain what exactly Digital Transformation means? On a practical level what does it look like to engage in a Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is the process change and culture change to working in the new digital world. We are no longer lugging around piles of papers or going to filing cabinets to pull out information. You are now able to pull up all your records and correspondence via an app on your phone or web app on your device. People tend to think that the march to become paperless is this digital transformation, but its only a piece of it. As you search for nirvana by going paperless, you are also starting to see the transformation. Less time spent digging through piles for information, now you can get what you need in a few clicks.

Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?

Any business of any size will see the benefits. Typically, we see the most success with the SMB market as they are agile to the change. Any business that is has transactions, files, or even their policies available in an app or cloud are to see the efficiency quickly.

We’d love to hear about your experiences helping others with Digital Transformation. In your experience, how has Digital Transformation helped improve operations, processes, and customer experiences? We’d love to hear some stories if possible.

I started my IT journey working with an insurance agency that was ready to go paperless. They wanted to really get away from paper and start working with documents in a filing system. We had to scan 1000’s of polices, and dec pages, but we were able to file everything away on server and make it available in a few clicks. Once we got that process down, we went to a Red/Yellow/Green Folder system within the server. This would allow the CSRS to move their work through the folders, so they knew what they had to work on when they logged in in the morning. By pairing this with the front end scanning we were able to speed up the processing process and allowed the CSRs to service the customers quicker with richer information.

Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?

We started working with a smaller insurance company that was ready but was not ready to make leap into the transformation. They were not ready to follow the processes that we worked on, nor the folder structure we co-worked on to create. They did however find great success with a new website, new signatures in their emails, an online referral program. They went from going to BNIs to being able to get word of mouth referrals from FB, and Google, and shares on LinkedIn. So, while the internal processes broke down and did not make the changes, they were hoping for they found the silver lining by boosting their online presence.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”? Please share a story or an example for each.

Find your direction — Do you want to start internally? Do you want to start externally? Do you want to put your sales flyer online in a mass email program? Do you want redo your folder structure, so everything aligns with your current ERP? Whatever direction you go do not give up at the first roadblock.

Look for the time-consuming tasks, or repetitive tasks. In our industries, we have password policies in place with our customers, so every 90 days we get hundreds of requests for assistance getting everything logged in after that. We had to look for a solution that give our staff time back, and our customers a streamlined solution for the process. We were able to find an app, that would sync with the customers active directory, and allow them to self-manage their own passwords. We were able to cut our tickets back 40% and customers were not scared to change their passwords.

Find your voice/niche — Be the best at what you do and in your market. Build marketing material around that. Get those small sound bites for the website, or ask for referrals for google, or Facebook. Let the world know how good you are! I know it seems silly sometimes to ask someone for a review, but most people will do it without hesitation. If you want to make it a thing, put something behind it, sports tickets, or gift cards, gamify it! Every year we run some sort of giveaway for reviews or referrals. Happy customers are your best salespeople.

Do not give up! Lots of time we look externally, how can we beef up our website, and how we can drive more leads to it? This is the long game when it comes to content, or keywords its going to awhile to give those results you read about everywhere. Being resilient is important as you make this change.

Start Small — We meet with customers, and we get geeked up about changes, and processes we can help change through automation, or workflow changes. While in my mind in the care on my way back to the office it seems fantastic and easy. Those ideas are quickly shattered as we get further into the process. Make sure you start small and slow. You can rush and see results, but you want the processes to stick and become part of the culture within the organization.

In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?

Innovations requires risk, and change. Do not be afraid of the what ifs! Sure, make sure the math adds up, but if you believe in it roll the dice. Most people keep doing the same because it works, and that is great until it does not work anymore. While those companies are looking down the long road of what is next? You want to be going 100mph down that road, and if you crash you had an adventure getting there. Risk is well risky but the pay off can be huge.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Failure is not fatal, only failure to get back up is” — There has been many times in my life personally, and professional where I’ve been down. Lose a big deal, lose a mentor in life. Those are setbacks. They make the ones you do finally close, or the moment you connect with someone so enriching. You have to grow through what you go through.

Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I started working in IT at 16. I had no desire to be a salesperson or leader of any sorts. I loved tech, it was easy it worked, or it did not. I was able to keep climbing the ladder in responsibility through my soft skills, and sometimes I suppose just pure luck. I met my current business partner while I was working as a Service Desk lead for larger insurance company. We always talked about what ifs, and what we do and how we do it. We eventually made it a reality, and 12 years later we have changed office 3 times due to growth and are now servicing customers across the country.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

When we started, we got our first customer paying us money that was not related to us! (Thanks Mom) While they did not really believe that we were monitoring things 24/7 for them the owner would randomly come in and unplug devices and turn power off to “test” us. He did this for 3 years until he unplugged the server, and it never came back up. He blew the power supply. (whoops) We learned two things in the moment. Do not let customers question what you’re doing. Be in front of it, with value and data. Secondly lock the rack so they cannot get into it!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My business partner Bill — He not only believed in our idea and funded it through his existing contracts he believed in me. He believed in me in times when I did not believe in myself. Early in the process, we were not making money but paying for tools, and wages, the math was not looking good for us. We were working out of my house at the time. Late at night we would walk around the block to talk, and brainstorm, and he hit me with it. We were going to have to stop in the next 2 months if we did not figure something out. I knew he believed in me and what we were doing so I knew I had to do everything we could to keep our dream going. So, for the next two weeks I cold called, and emailed everyone on our list. I setup meetings with people I knew, and we were able to close 2 deals, and that allowed us to keep going.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Crush it! By Gary Vaynerchuck — There was not one thing that really stuck with me other then the overall theme of its about taking risks and believing in your product and yourself. I had 2 of the 3 so I knew I had to keep working towards professional freedom. I worked 5 tech jobs while very fulfilling came with daily grind that was mind numbing it was my time to take a risk, and when the offer came to take it.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your company started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

Our vision was not grand, or money driven. Bill is a salt of the earth guy, and I like to think I am. We both wanted to be proud of the company and people we might one day have working for us, but more importantly we wanted to care about our clients, and their needs. We still preach that to this day. We must care about those people that believe in us and our products. Anyone can get tech help, but if you have someone that knows you and cares about you then it’s a different ball game.

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Currently we are working on a big security roll out for customers. We want to take something very complicated, overdone and simplify it. So, the average person can understand and feel safe. We are pumped about the value it will bring to our customers, and the end users.

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