Digital Operations Group succeeds by staying connected to the everchanging trends of technology
Electronics and technology have always been a central part of Timothy “Tim” Smith’s life. As an adolescent, he took electronics classes. When he was a young man, he joined the U.S. Navy and became a navigation electronics technician. By 2011, he had founded Digital Operations Group, a network cabling and fiber optic services provider wiring up many of the local businesses and developments in and around Northeast Ohio.
Even more, being in the tech industry is his family inheritance. “It’s in my blood,” Smith says. “I’m third generation—my granddad worked for Ohio Bell (the phone company) and my dad retired from Ameritech Corporation before it became AT&T. I actually started my own career at AT&T.”
Smith worked for 20 years as an AT&T tech before deciding to start his own business. He says it was his customers that inspired him to take the leap.
“Quality is really important, but when you’re working at a company as large as AT&T, it’s hard to justify the time to do a better job with customers,” Smith says. “After years of watching customer service not be as good as it could be, I decided to do my own thing.”
He knew that he could bring a new level of customer service to the industry. “Now, as the owner of my own company, I can finally work with customers the way I want,” Smith says.
Veteran owned and operated, Digital Operations Group is a technology infrastructure contractor staffed with employees who share Smith’s values of professionalism, attention to detail and integrity. “Our team understands the impact that technology has on clients and their businesses. We also partner with trustworthy contractors and service providers to offer clients an unlimited suite of technology services and solutions without the headache of managing multiple vendors,” he says.
To date, the company has served more than 150 clients throughout the Northeast Ohio region and completed over 200 projects. The firm’s expansive suite of services includes low-voltage and structured cabling, fiber optic cabling and installation/setup of wireless equipment. The team is also capable of handling any IT need, including web hosting, data migration, cloud-based services, VoIP telephone systems, computer system configurations and backups, and much more.
“There are plenty of technicians out there who have the same knowledge and skills as our techs,” says Director of Business Development Brennon Wilson, “but what many of them lack is the heart and soul that our team puts into every project. This is what really makes a difference in our line of work.”
He adds, “If you want cheap and fast, we’re probably not your first option. But, if you want your project handled with professionalism, attention to detail and care—give us a call.”
Customers appreciate the company’s commitment to quality service and ability to provide ample customer support.
“Digital Operations Group provided us with expert, friendly and professional service for a wiring project with a fairly quick turnaround time,” says Nathan Scott, Owner of Queen Consulting and Technology. “We really appreciate the values and standards that Tim and his team make shine through in the work they do.”
Growing with the Industry
When he started his business, Smith was the only employee—traveling from job to job on his motorcycle as he handled the outside data wiring needs of local companies. At the time, AT&T and similar telecommunications providers only dealt with cabling lines inside buildings—they had not yet expanded into data or fiber optics.
While Digital Operations Group initially specialized in fiber optic services, Smith knew he didn’t want to just be a phone guy.
“I saw it coming—the focus on data—and I wanted to be on that side of finding solutions for customers,” he says.
By anticipating change in the industry, Digital Operations Group continued to grow with added subcontracts involving the wiring of security and fire centers for various organizations, including the Canton branch of Johnson Controls. The global company is known for creating energy-efficient, intelligent buildings that integrate innovative technologies connected within and across a secure digital infrastructure to optimize operations and reduce resource use, as well as increase productivity, comfort and safety for building occupants.
On this project, Digital Operations Group is installing the wiring and parts needed for this unified, intelligent network in collaboration with IT consultants that offer the complementary programming and software support. “I always say, ‘We don’t do the smarts, but the parts,’ “ Smith says. “We install anything related to the hardware, but we do not handle the system programming.”
On another job, this time for Fastenal, a 52-year-old fastener manufacturing company with net sales of $5 billion in 2018, Smith’s company installed security camera lines for Fastenal’s local branch. Digital Operations Group also handled the conveyer controls, office and cubicle wiring and data ports throughout the shipping facility.
One of Digital Operations Group’s most recent projects required the installation of 280 lines for a new Dave & Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue soon to open in Canton. Smith’s crew is installing about 57,000 feet of data wiring each week while the facility is being built—something that doesn’t happen as often as Smith would prefer. Often his company is called in to install wiring long after a structure is completed, which makes the job even more difficult.
But the team at Digital Operations Group is always flexible and willing to accommodate any client’s needs, in any setting, at any time.
Family Owned and Operated
Digital Operations Group is a smaller company with about 10 full-time staff members—half of whom are technicians. Smith hopes to continue growing his young company as time goes on.
There is also a lot of family support. Smith’s wife, Dawn, is the Office Manager and his daughter, Kayla, is one of the support workers. Because Kayla is considering opening her own business one day, being part of her family’s business is a great learning opportunity.
And just as Smith created his company on the tide of technological change (the move to fiber optics), he is aiming to make a similar move for the future of his company. In fact, it’s why he has invested in The Blue Book Network’s services and the industrywide connections offered by the commercial construction networking organization.
“Technology is everchanging and comes and goes so fast, so we have to adapt,” Smith says. “We want to collaborate with other contractors to get bigger jobs.”
Smith sees a future where his company helps bring together the many technology specialists in construction to serve larger contractors. Nowadays, he says, the focus of many building owners and general contractors is to create intelligent infrastructure equipped with internet-based technology to increase automated services. “In these ‘smart buildings,’ we’re installing the means to coordinate security, fire alarm access control, lighting and even more,” Smith elaborates. In a homebuilding analogy, he explains that contractors are incorporating smart home technology, video doorbells, smart locks, programmable lighting systems and other high-tech solutions into residences.
“Technology is not going anywhere—and neither are we,” Smith says. “We’re continuing to build our business expertise to help others deploy their cutting-edge equipment properly and quickly. Because of our core values and our dedication to enhancing the customer service experience, we’ll always have work.”