LiquidHub, the Wayne-based firm that offers "digital customer engagement" services and IT outsourcing to corporate clients including Vanguard, SEI, Subaru, Independence Blue Cross and others worldwide, says it has acquired Electronic Ink, the Center City digital industrial-design shop run by Harold Hambrose and chaired by Joseph H. Weiss, and its staff of cognitive scientists, graphic designers and industrial engineers.
With sales around $175 million/year, LiquidHub employs around 2,000, mostly in Wayne (corrected) and in Hyderabad, India, plus satellite offices in several countries and acquired firms that service Salesforce.com users in several U.S. cities.
Electronic Ink, which counts Penske, Morgan Stanley, Johnson & Johnson and Ford as current or past clients, employs around 45, down from 80 in 2011. About 30 of the 45 will join the new firm, chairman Weiss told me. The firm lost business in the recession, "but we've been recovering nicely," he added. He's working on his next tech investment, "a nice piece of software I may be ready to announce soon."
The move gives LiquidHub its first Philadelphia office, said Hank Summy, a partner at the firm. Cofounder Jonathan Brassington told me earlier this year that the company hopes to base more of its operations in Philadelphia and other cities, where young tech and sales talent congregate.
Electronic Ink will help LiquidHub "understand the 'human effect,' through cognitive research and observing how people use pieces of technology, and then creating a better design," Summy told me.
"That's different from our capability around design operations and automating designs into a private cloud, that we sell in a platform. They bring us human understanding."
Electronic Ink's recent clients include Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where the firm "used design-thinking methods to research the patient experience, from awareness and knowing what Jefferson offers to contacting the hospital, getting a doctor or scheduling a follow-up visit," Hambrose told me in an email.
"When Jefferson asked our team to look at these processes from a purely human experience – what do patients need, what do they desire and how can Jefferson rise up to meet patients where they are? -- we performed observations, built models and identified real opportunities to develop different services and ways of interacting that would provide patients and caregivers the comfort and satisfaction they need.
"We built several models and ran many workshops over the course of four weeks this past spring," he added. "The Jefferson project might very easily be something LiquidHub can help take beyond the design phase to help deliver real patient-centric solutions" for patients and caregivers. (Updated and revised)