Author: Michael Fiedel
Date: February 18th, 2015
As my first entry into the Croscon blog, I want to address an important question that our business gets asked all the time: "So what do you do?". It’s amazing how simple that question is, and yet how complex it can be to answer.
The complexity stems from the pressure to be succinct in one’s answer, while your mind almost inevitably races through multiple thoughts to fully explain your company. And the second you catch yourself on a tangent, transitioning from one answer to another, you know that your response hasn’t accomplished the same simplicity with which the question was asked.
It’s not that I haven’t felt confident in what I’ve shared in the past about our goals & purpose as a business. Going back to my personal beginnings at Croscon more than four years ago, the business as I understood it was, first and foremost, about the technology we build. So the answer revolved around “we build business systems” or “we build systems that deliver a competitive advantage to your business”. These were fine answers, and the fact that they were quick and to the point, a good start in their own right. Not to mention absolutely true. The most tangible output of Croscon are business systems intended, through customization and a unique purpose, to deliver a competitive business opportunity for our clients. Some projects are more novel than others, but the expectation is always for the system to improve the business for which it was built.
That answer appears to clearly point to a purpose and certainly speaks to what we do. So it’s solid, right? Well, not necessarily, and I’m reminded of this every time the conversation turns to the next obvious question:
So what do you build?
Well crap!...We’ve built a ton of things. In 2014, Croscon worked with 29 clients, on 45 systems & projects, to build 152 components with hundreds of features. In that span we built e-commerce systems, inventory & fulfillment management systems, our own content management system, multimedia management systems, an OCR & document management system, an automated application scanning and security platform, our own project management & time tracking system, among many other tools. These systems were built for clients across a multitude of industries, so our expertise is spread across a wide range of trades.
Trying to recap this experience in just a sentence or two is futile. Each system that we planned, implemented and deployed is a case study and story in its own right. Trying to cram each project into a few bullets doesn’t seem to deliver the purpose or goal of the business that the original question “what do you do” is driving at. It’s also often distracting to lead this discussion with a project because these systems are quite different from one another, so trying to explain an expertise across multiple industries without an underlying and connecting thread can make us appear fragmented and unfocused.
A new approach.
So I reconsidered the question “what do you do?” about a year ago, around this time in 2014, as our core team at Croscon was solidified. After hovering around 4 team members from 2010 through 2012, we took advantage of momentum in early 2013 to expand our New York-based team to 9 spirited individuals. This new and more capable squad of engineers and strategists, brought a better sense of self and purpose to our business.
Over the course of last year, as I watched and experienced the growth of each team member, a more complete understanding of what we do at Croscon began to materialize. I came to a realization that answering the question “what do you do” was at times difficult because the best answer wasn’t about any particular piece of technology. The more I thought about it, the more I understood that the central point from which we derive our day-to-day purpose isn’t a project. The epicenter of our business is always our people.
So lets try this again.
Croscon is a technology engineering & consulting company focused on merging an expertise in software and IT with business and entrepreneurship. We work with clients to discover, conceive, plan, implement & support business systems that deliver a competitive advantage within their marketplace.
These systems capitalize on the people and processes within Croscon that we push everyday to improve and progress. Our mission is based on an understanding that the most powerful individual in today’s digital world is the one who can fully understand and communicate a business opportunity and, as critically, knows how to build technology to effectively capture the moment. And at Croscon, we are determined to build an army of these passionate and well-rounded “business engineers”, who aspire to be CTO’s or digital entrepreneurs.
As 2015 begins to speed by, we’re seeing smarter and more aggressive clients, who recognize how important this type of leadership is when seeking a strong technology partner.
I thank you for taking the time to learn more about our business and I look forward to sharing more details about Croscon and our work in future articles.