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Sunday, 29 April 2012 20:00

Michigan 50 Companies to Watch: Optimal Solutions Inc.

Written by  MiBiz Staff
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Founded: 1993

Location: Wyoming, Mich.

Top executive: Jeff Ingle, president

Primary business: Software development, network systems engineering

Employees: 18 full-time equivalent in 2011; 23 expected in 2012

Optimal Solutions is a provider of software and systems engineering services for the education and health care markets. The company developed the world’s first interactive patient system that is 100-percent data network based, a product it debuted at Metro Hospital.


How have you managed to grow your company?

We have grown by building and developing our own products such as the eVideon interactive internet protocol TV (IPTV) system for both education and healthcare and SchoolFinance, an enterprise financial package specific to Michigan K-12 schools. We also focus a significant effort into our computer network systems integration services. We have a culture that encourages individuals to make decisions, get support for those decisions and help when a decision might not have been the way to go. Our culture encourages personal growth and ideas, which in turn promotes innovation. This is true for continued refinement of existing products, developing new products and heightening the level of services we offer to the marketplace.

How did you survive the recession?

There was/is no “silver bullet” – people worked their tails off. We are a very lean and nimble company that can adapt to change. Long ago, we recognized that the networking and server products we sold would become simpler and commoditized, meaning our customers would need us less and less for service within these areas. We needed to focus on building specialized and unique products of which we could somewhat control our own destiny. And at the same time, we needed to continue to heighten the systems engineering services we provided to stay ahead of the commoditization realm. We had to make some tough decisions. But we have a fairly diversified portfolio where one area may be “up” while another area may be “down.”

What’s the largest challenge you have in your business?

Many hospitals across the country are now just in the beginning stages of wiring patient room TV locations with Ethernet cable. Also, it takes a few years to build a hospital and our product is installed at the tail end of the project.

We also had to put off developing some products so that we wouldn’t become too thin. We are very excited to get some of those underway as more dollars become available. There is no running out of ideas here. And part of the frustration has been in holding off developing new products due to head count restrictions.

Another challenge is correctly addressing growth. We have a pretty diverse range of thinkers and talent; it will be a challenge to maintain our culture as we grow.

How do you innovate in your company?

We are a highly intelligent, intuitive and customer-focused company with an innate ability to see things that others might not and hear things unsaid. With a combination of ideas from our customers, plus through our own thinking, we design, build and deploy great solutions. We prioritize the ideas and conduct an analysis and then we move forward. There is always a way to make something work or refine something to simplicity. Simplicity to the end user is the ultimate goal of everything we do.

What’s your company’s biggest opportunity?

Our company’s largest opportunity is growing our eVideon Healthcare customer base.  We have many projects out there all across the county and a few overseas.

Read 1750 times Last modified on Saturday, 04 August 2012 16:19

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