When I asked myself these questions, I knew I was missing some details. My name is Ionut Ignat, and I started working at OSF as a Junior Developer in 2014. Since then, I’ve made my way up the ranks to become a Front-End Solution Architect.
I was living in Suceava, a picturesque Romanian city in the Carpathians Mountains. At that time, I had everything I wanted: a secure and challenging job, the flexibility to customize my working schedule, and all the perks and benefits of working in a global company.
However, I soon realized that, even though I liked my job as a Front-End Solution Architect, I needed to do something more fulfilling. I had a dream to create an IT product from scratch. I wanted more opportunities to use my creativity and contribute to the world. I had an adventurous spirit, and I was itching to make a change.
OSF listened and helped me move to Iasi, another city in Romania.
They understood my desire to experiment with new ideas and projects and moved my office in the blink of an eye, no questions asked. I felt like part of a big, supportive family where I had the opportunity to grow.
So there I was, a newbie in Iasi, in an environment that was so exciting for who I wanted to become. You might not know this, but Iasi is one of the most popular education and research centers in Romania. It has an incredibly vast IT community full of energetic young people!
This gave me the chance to get involved in the mentorship program at OSF and become a mentor for employees who participated in the Fast Track program. Most of my mentoring responsibilities involved helping students or recent graduates who were passionate about their work and had a strong desire to move things forward. It felt great to live my values and use my skills to pay it forward to others. Although OSF has a framework in place, we can craft the mentorship program according to a participant’s knowledge and personal style. So, I maximized the relevance of the mentoring experience by matching the skills students were learning at their university to the work they were doing at OSF.
By helping others, I was truly fulfilled, and here’s where the magic happened. Because I was helping others to find solutions, my creativity emerged.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I always knew that the emerging trend in e-commerce would be video marketing content. A 2018 Hubspot survey confirmed my suspicion. They reported that 54% of consumers wanted to see more video content from a brand or business they support. Brightcove’s 2018 Video Marketing Survey showed 76 percent of all consumers and 85% of millennials report making a purchase after watching a video clip. With these statistics in mind, I wanted to create a product for OSF that would allow merchants to amplify their e-commerce efforts.
Luckily, OSF is a company that values people who drive change and are passionate about innovation. They reflect this value through OSF Product Labs, a program where any employee at OSF can submit an idea for a new product. In the past three years, 28 OSF products have been launched as part of OSF Product Labs. I’ll share the idea that my colleagues and I submitted, but first I’d like to share with you how the process works.
To participate in OSF Product Labs, you first need to describe your idea in an internal forum to see if anyone has had the idea before and also ask for feedback from your colleagues. When I submitted my idea, three OSF employees expressed their interest and we formed a team. We started working on a business case including a reference to metrics and the return on investment the product would provide. We first presented our case to our direct manager and then it was approved by management. At the end of our project, we all received an incentive to reward us for our time and effort. So you can see that OSF creates a playground where employees can innovate and have the freedom to develop new products that can be used within the company or can increase profits for our clients.
Together with Daniela Balta, Alexandru Grigore, and Adrian Luca, we developed the Phase 1 Implementation of VideoLIB, an SFRA compatible cartridge for Salesforce Commerce Cloud that assists our clients in managing their video library content on their website. Merchants can choose video cover images and video types (YouTube or mp4 custom video), define what videos are promoted in the videos section, and sort and set the number of videos shown on grids, all with one goal in mind: to increase their sales.
Working on a new product is an example of how an employee can rise to their potential and make a contribution. This was certainly true for me because I have the chance to work with global brands that you usually don’t have easy access to.
What would you like to create? I am certain that, if you are clear about your values, advocate for yourself, and find like-minded colleagues to collaborate with, you will inevitably make a contribution. OSF showed 100% support for my lifestyle, way of thinking, and dreams. And we have more great things to create together.