Startup-like mobile division helps CRi achieve continued growth
Sue Thaden, the founder and president/CEO of Client Resources Inc. (CRi), describes her company as one invested in making an impact on anyone it encounters. "Our company, culturally, is all about helping people and companies 'Get it great,' " Thaden (left) said, echoing her company's motto. "If you give first and you lead with service, you get it great."
To do that, Omaha-based CRi provides a range of IT services, including consulting, custom application development, infrastructure and managed services solutions. Demand for CRi's array of offerings grew considerably in 2011. "We experienced 59.8% growth in the past year," Thaden said. "We couldn't be more excited about it."
The company's mobile efforts account for a healthy piece of that business.
"We are definitely not just a mobile company … but we love it," Thaden said. "One of the things about mobile technology that we feel very strongly about is that the same rules apply to this service as any other. You still have to make sure it aligns with your corporate strategy and it's really about what is this company trying to get done, what do their customers want, and you align mobile to that vision."
Kevin Berry is the director of emerging technology at CRi and oversees the mobile solutions portion of the business. A job opportunity for his wife brought Berry to Omaha a little over four years ago. "I was originally doing web consulting work before I made the transition to mobile," Berry said. "A colleague of mine — James Hoshor — and I wanted to build a company around mobile technology and solutions."
After pitching their ideas to Thaden, Berry and Hoshor (right) decided the best place for them fulfill their vision was with CRi. Inside of a company that has been around since 1999, Berry said his mobile team maintains the feel of a younger company.
"The mobile solutions group at CRi operates like a startup within the organization," Berry explained. "Sue has been instrumental in giving our work stream that flexibility."
The mobile team of CRi is comprised of about 15 members, within the larger solutions group of about 50 people, inside a company that has about 160 employees total. Berry said CRi uses mobile to bridge the gap to the other services it provides to its clients.
"We use mobile as a market leader for us," he said. "It's a really great way to get in front of clients. When it comes to services like web development and hardware, a lot of these companies have partners well established in those areas already. Our mobile niche helps us get in front of those clients initially, which is a crucial step."
On the subject of latest projects, Berry is quick to talk about several Omaha projects CRi has been involved with recently. "We did some back end work for the Havana Garage iOS application with local creative firm New BLK," he said.
In that app, users can learn how to make the perfect Havana Garage cocktail. It Includes an instructional video, mixology quiz and background information on the drink and its ingredients. "It was a very fun and interactive project for us," Berry (left) said. "We really enjoyed working on it."
Berry also mentioned a project aimed at raising the profile of CRi's hometown. "Another application that we are really excited about is a tourism app for the city of Omaha," he said. "It's going to present Omaha like nothing else that is currently out there, we are really proud to be showcasing the city in the way that we are."
Berry reiterated the full-scale scope of the service that CRi provides to its customers. "We are a technology partner of the companies that we work with," Berry said. "If you have any technology issue, we are the company that you can come to with a question, whatever it is. If you have an issue with a printer, we are definitely not in that business, but we'd be happy to point you in the right direction. We have a passion for technology."
Thaden said that in Omaha CRi has found a community that shares that passion, and that seems provide fuel for the company's continued growth.
"What we've found is that this community is very generous in giving; they want to collaborate, they want to support each other, they want to hear best practices and share ideas," Thaden said. "It feels like we are all in it together. People are consistently surprised by the progressiveness of the companies here in Omaha."