Sullivan Alexander, is a Contributor on the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston), whom you can learn more about at www.contureadvisors.com
Sullivan Alexander recently interviewed Cory Crosland, President and founder of Croscon.
About the interviewee:
Cory Crosland is the President and founder of Croscon. Croscon is a business engineering firm focused on delivering innovative custom software solutions for their clients. Cory is a seasoned developer with over 15 years of IT and software engineering experience. Cory currently also serves as a CTO advisor for a number of companies and has been honored with numerous awards and accolades – including a Webby award and a Grammy nomination to name a few.
Describe the business model including (products or services offered, number of employees, location, type of customers you work with, etc.).
Croscon is a 15 person custom technology & engineering service firm based in New York City. We are focused on challenging clients to be more competitive by architecting, engineering and maintaining custom technology that instills greater ingenuity into their business. We are not satisfied with the status quo or “one size fits all” off the shelf software solutions. We believe there is a greater competitive advantage for businesses to have a solution designed and built for their unique challenges and opportunities. Our clients are disruptive and thought leaders, they come from almost every industry – insurance, advertising and production, finance, retail and startups to name a few.
Tell us about one of the innovative solutions or services your company designed for a customer.
One of our clients, Radical Media, is a global production company which produces television shows, films, commercials… literally every platform known to man. A few years ago, they came to us with a problem – to send their media and reels to clients they were either shipping them or using archaic FTP services. They wanted a platform that would allow their team to upload rough and final HD assets and then securely share them with their clients and partners. Alternative solutions existed in the market place but they would either lose control over their media and experience or their library was simply too big to be cost effective to keep on another service. We worked alongside them to design and implement a custom media vaulting and distribution platform. The platform became a competitive advantage for Radical and was also a key part of selling into new work and greater efficiency gains. We’ve continued to build on top of their original platform and we are gearing up to market it as a product together in 2014.
What challenges did you face and how did you overcome the challenges?
The greatest challenge with a custom project like this is how do you properly set expectations to define what it is and what it’s going to be? At the same time, our client wants what any reasonable client wants – an aggressive time to market. The challenge becomes balancing their initial ask with creating an innovative software solution that is built to last. Our most effective weapon to these challenges is to obsessively strategize, plan and prioritize the project. Every feature needs to be properly documented to ensure all key stakeholders have had a chance to weigh in on the build of the product before it starts. This minimizes surprises, production time and change requests. Once we have the project properly planned, it’s time to put every feature request on the chopping block. We challenge our clients to defend why they need a particular feature now versus after we launch the minimum viable product (MVP). Successful software lives or dies in your first steps and we challenge our clients to simplify and focus.
What do you see as “hot button” issues in your industry, and what are the implications?
Modern businesses are faced with a choice when looking to innovate with software. They can build out their own team or they can bring in an outside team. Both are filled with risks and downsides but we fundamentally believe in a hybrid solution – to partner with key client technical stakeholders to mutually deliver innovative custom technology. We prove that model by creating joint ventures with our clients to share in the expense and upside of creating truly disruptive technology that can not only solve just our client’s problem but many other companies as well.
What makes your business different from the competition?
We are our own client. Our mission is to create competitive advantages for our clients through custom technology and to that end, we’ve created in-house tools and methodologies that allow us to track the real time status of our projects. It was an investment to build the software but it has already paid for itself ten-fold, since rolling it out last year. We love data – we just installed a big board display in our office that tracks the progress of a project (i.e.: hours spent, tasks remaining, who is responsible and the latest delivery date estimates). Mixed with our team of elite technical specialist, our methodologies have one core focus – to create the best end result for our clients. This is our differentiator and has transformed our business and it’s what we’d love to do for our clients.