How to Pick a Good Software Partner? Q&A with Gregg Castano of News Direct  

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16 January 2024
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A few years ago, we had the opportunity to work with News Direct on developing their platform. After carefully analyzing their needs, we’ve helped them design the system and developed a microservices-based architecture incorporating state-of-the-art modern technology allowing for communication using both synchronous and asynchronous calls to ensure high system flexibility and scalability. The main challenges were data security and the ability to process content formats that came in many different shapes and sizes and might contain complex tables, images, or other unstandardized data formats that need to be presented in multiple media and layouts while maintaining integrity and readability.  

If you wish to learn more about his particular project, we have a separate case study for it.  

5 Questions to the CEO  

Some time ago, Gregg Castano, CEO and Founder of News Direct asked us once again for our technical expertise in further development of the News Direct platform. We decided it’s a great opportunity to get his perspective on running software projects, choosing technological partners, and the associated risks businesses may face.   

What were the biggest challenges in the project, looking back?  

“During the build, there were a number of activities going on at the same time, with the developers in Poland working on the back end, others in Hungary working on the UX, our own IT team in the US overseeing various aspects and numerous other business areas such as sales, marketing and customer success having a hand in the process.  As the CEO, that made it a challenge to stay on top of and aware of all the different things that were being done and being built to make sure they were being done to my specifications and expectations. “

What characteristics should a good IT project partner have?  

“The willingness and ability to learn the business of the company they are working with as much as possible. Having an understanding of the business model, objectives and context of what is being developed makes the process move faster, and more smoothly and to a large extent prevents mistakes and the need to go back and re-do things.”

What are the biggest risks for businesses when choosing an IT partner?  

“It’s very difficult as a non-technical person to know if the IT guys truly know what they’re doing.  We were fortunate in having our CTO come from the industry and having worked at the same company previously as I did.  That isn’t ordinarily the case, and when it isn’t, the risk is that your CTO will not be able to clearly communicate the specific goals and concepts of the CEO/management team to the developers. That, obviously, can lead to things not being developed correctly, which, for a startup, would be fatal.”

What made you come back to work with us again?  

“Your guys built an incredible, immaculate platform. Customers love the simplicity, elegance, and intuitiveness of the workflow, a major USP for us. The code is extremely strong and stable, and after the typical initial “bug squashing” phase following launch, has not gone down for even a second. That is both unheard of as well as a testament to the talent of your developers.”  

In your opinion, what makes a vendor or IT partner worthy of recommendation?  

“Thorough expertise in the technical tools being used and the software language they are writing in, a high level of confidence that they know they are the best at what they do – which gives them the stature to question things when that might be necessary, the flexibility of having people with backgrounds in different software and tools and the intangible of being both serious about their work but easy to work with.”

About Gregg Castano  

Gregg Castano is the visionary behind News Direct, serving as its esteemed Founder and CEO. News Direct stands as a groundbreaking content and news distribution platform, meticulously tailored for contemporary media engagement.  

Boasting an impressive 32-year tenure in the industry, Mr. Castano honed his expertise during his longstanding role as President at Business Wire. Over the course of eight transformative years, he developed an innate understanding of media outreach, while fostering strategic acumen and adept management skills. Gregg effectively channeled this profound perspective and invaluable knowledge into the inception of News Direct, a game-changing news distribution platform.   
 

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