"The word digital is being redefined," says Michael Lomanaco, director of marketing and communications at Open Systems Technologies
(OST). "10-15 years ago, technology was the innovation," he continues, but now, "innovation has moved toward the experience, the emotive…" In order to keep up with this rapid growth and change, revolutionizing digital for existing clients and new ones, OST recently launched Open Digital, an evolution of VisualHero, which the company acquired in 2016, to form a new digital consultancy.
Founded in 1997, OST has been consistently serving clients in West Michigan and across the country for over twenty years. Upon entering its third decade, notes Lomanaco, the company seeks to pair its expertise in IT with the "internet of things," or as he says, "the tangible and the intangible" supported by design. Most importantly, for the Open Digital team, is the "physical piece of products, intangible of experience and emotion that plays into a great digital transformation strategy."
Seem like a mouthful? Chief Designer Andy Van Solkema breaks it down. "This is really quite possibly about problem solving," he says, noting that the combination of Visual Hero's design savvy with OST's IT prowess creates a well-rounded team that can tackle any project.
Like many firms at the forefront of workplace structure, the new Open Digital will approach each problem with a "cross-disciplined group focused on value creation," says Van Solkema. "We're at the forefront of where roles were changing," he adds. "It's kind of like thinking of it as a matrix now."
At the heart of this redefinition is "our unique ability to connect both the human and technology disciplines together in ways that few others can," says Lomanaco. "That's because we have cloud architects sitting next to designers...There's something special that happens when you're able to do that."
This cross-disciplinary approach is based on human-centered design, a leading approach for designers across all industries throughout the world. "Our team at Open Digital is inherently wired to lead with the human element," says Meredith Bronk, President and CEO and COO Jim VanderMey in a letter
on OST's website..
"When it comes to digital, this team sees the entire customer journey, and thrives on ensuring first that our clients are solving the right problem, and then drives to solutions that aren’t just ‘smart,' but that create an immersive experience across all digital touch points," they add.
Though in their two decades OST has expanded to Minneapolis, Detroit, and even London, the company is still proud to call West Michigan their home as they grow and evolve. "This community is really well positioned because of the momentum and growth," says Van Solkema. "This is where we make things." And in the center of GR, on the city's Westside, OST is part of the community's growing tech scene.
"Why not Grand Rapids? Why can't we?" asks Van Solkema with a smirk. "We've come a long way, we've done a lot, this is the challenge in front of us. Let's tackle it."
Images and video courtesy of OST.