What was the scope of their involvement?
Orases helped with reporting, client management, transparency measures, and online learning. Each state has different licensing requirements for security officers, and every client has a different requirement. That’s why we needed the tracking side of the product. If someone didn’t show up for a class, the product would call or email the boss to report that. It would track officers to let them know ahead of time when their classes were coming up and which classes were available.
Orases also designed a portfolio that officers could go into, even after they left our company, to download their training. This is a huge help for us because, by law, we have to give people their training results. All of this information is auditable by the government, and we could face really big fines if we didn’t have this information accessible. Also, after officers finish their training and get their state licensing, the tool automatically reports their training to the state. As you can imagine, different states have various programs that they wanted their training uploaded to.
So, Orases had to come up with a solution for us that looked cohesive on our side but, on the downstream side, worked with each state. The product also had to stay up-to-date. When the states made changes, Orases ensured those appeared in the program seamlessly.
Then, we had our clients. Government agencies want to know that we’re actually doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Anybody can come up with a spreadsheet that says someone took training on a specific day. Orases made an easy-to-use tool for our officers. In their portfolio, the state gives each officer a license after he or she passes training. Previously, we’d have to get these licenses back from the officer in order to report it to the government. Orases came up with a way where the officer just uses a cell phone and uploads copies of the license to our platform, where it’s shared to the right authority automatically. A client could walk up to an officer in the middle of the night, type in their name or scan a QR code that Orases created, and pull up the officer’s entire training record and license on the spot.
Nobody else had a system like this that incorporated QR codes. The new product has so many safety checks in place for us, and it really helped us streamline our process. Our training efficiency boomed, and labor costs went down because someone didn’t have to enter all the info manually anymore. We were certifying way more people.
The product also helps our online learning element. I needed to create online learning, but all my officers were marine corps infantry, army infantry, and police SWAT. None of us knew about e-learning elements or HTML before this project. We could work a website, but we certainly didn’t know any code or anything. We asked Orases to develop a learning management system that lets us create online classes easily. They went to the range with us, sat in our classrooms, and watched how we taught. They created a product that fit the way that we work and saved us immense amounts of time.
Sometimes, the state systems would go down while we’d be trying to upload training. On these occasions, Orases actually had to create a new solution for us. Once, a state system went down, but nobody realized it. Schools across the state had been trying to upload training and didn’t realize that anything was wrong. Orases actually figured out that the state system was down and let us know, called the state, and figured out a fix where we just hit a button. We could resend all the documentation from a certain date, which the state loved because they didn’t have to input everything again. It made us look really good to them.
I was impressed with Orases’ original concept, their implementation, and the support they provided to make sure that the product still worked. Everybody’s needs evolve, and so do ours. It’s probably the best vendor story that I had in my career.
The product was completely custom-built. They made it compatible with what we needed and integrated what we asked for, but it was based on their proprietary solution called 24Watch.
They did discovery, but the project took longer than expected because we didn’t know what we were doing. Orases wasn’t creating course content; we were doing that. They had their stuff up and running, and I probably cost them money because then we had to do our part, which slowed down the process.
We had meetings with their president, the project implementation manager, and possibly 6 developers. Different people assisted when we asked for upgrades and things like that.
How did you come to work with Orases?
I wasn’t in the computer community, so we went to the big players—Oracle, Adobe, and Microsoft. They told us that we had to adapt our needs to their product. A friend of mine is an IT guy who worked with Orases for several clients. He said they were great.
We solicited pitches from large companies and some smaller ones. Orases had the most comprehensive product at the beginning. Honestly, we decided to take a chance on them. They actually came through with what they said they could do.
How much have you invested with Orases?
The initial project cost $200,000. We added tasks later on, which cost probably double that amount.
What is the status of this engagement?
The initial project took 5–6 months. We’ve worked together for 6 or 7 years on updates and maintenance.