Five Questions With: Ernie Gaines

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“we are a financially conservative company that has been able to organically grow our business during a time when other companies are contracting,” said ernie gaines, brave river solutions president. / pc: pbn

Ernie Gaines, president of Warwick-based Brave River Solutions, recently took the time to answer five questions about his company’s recent mobile projects and its new venture into the software development market.

PBN: Brave River Solutions recently designed a mobile version of the R.I. Division of Tourism’s website. What is Brave River’s approach to designing a mobile version of a website? Do you analyze what pages are most viewed through Google Analytics and highlight them or do you have to start from scratch in order to “think mobile”?

GAINES: A little of both. Google Analytics allows us to review where users spend their time on the R.I. Division of Tourism’s website. We have to understand the different way a user from a mobile phone will navigate the website, as you say, “think mobile”.

The mobile browsers give you the advantage of providing location information to the website. There has been much discussion about this [recently] around the iPhone retaining such information. The location information allows us to direct relevant content to the user. If you are looking for a restaurant from your phone and would like to find a restaurant in close proximity, we can deliver that information. Also, we had to be aware that a lot of the mobile devices are on slower connections than a typical browser, so we had to make sure to keep the pages light to allow them to load very quickly.

PBN: Brave River said it used the Wireless Universal Resources File database to keep up-to-date on which browsers are mobile. What is the WURFL and why is this a notable part of the project?

GAINES: WURFL is a database – some call it a “repository” – of wireless device capabilities. It is a notable part of the project because the database has a stated goal of being open and available to simplify programming for mobile devices. The WURFL database keeps information on such things as size of the screen and type of browser so that we can identify the browser as originating from a mobile device and then deliver the content appropriately to the browser.

 

PBN: Brave River’s first quarter closed with a record number of project on the books. Of the 20 completed, ranging from search engine optimizations, Exchange Server migrations and software selections, which stand out to you?

GAINES: One of the noteworthy search engine optimization projects was with a division of International Packaging in Pawtucket (jewelrypackaging.com). The company rolled out a new eCommerce website that we developed for them and saw a sales increase of 80 percent over the same period last year.

We finished an exciting ERP (enterprise resource planning) software selection and implementation project with Metro Medical in Nashville, Tenn.

Metro is a medical supply and pharmaceutical distributor that had outgrown their current software system. They utilized our team and methodology to gather requirements, evaluate the software vendors, and select a system to meet their current and future needs. As is often the case, we also assisted in a project management role during the implementation of the selected system.

 

PBN: Is Brave River on “safe” ground financially now after the economic downturn?

GAINES: We are a financially conservative company that has been able to organically grow our business during a time when other companies are contracting. This is a direct result of our employees caring about the quality of work our customers receive and delivering to their needs.

 

PBN: Brave River also announced the formal rollout of its software product group with DataBridge, an ETL tool, and FileCloud, a file-sharing application. Why now? What kind of role will software be playing in the overall business plan?

GAINES: On the development side, we have traditionally been a custom website and programming company, but our founders’ roots are in software development. My partner, Jim McAssey, and I looked at the types of projects our customers were requesting and market dynamics around these applications then decided it was the right time to invest in the development of these software products.

This was in part due to the recent Massachusetts laws around data protection. These laws apply to any company with employees or doing business in Massachusetts, so it truly impacts Rhode Island companies. FileCloud allows them to safely store and share their data with their partners on a project or internally.

 

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