Viewing archives for CTO

What Is a Virtual CTO?

A Chief Technology Officer, or CTO, is a critical role in a mid-market business. A CTO is a C-suite position accountable for just about all technology in the company, from hardware to software to teams and suppliers. Reporting to the CEO, the CTO drives innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness across the business.

A “Virtual CTO” or “vCTO” has similar responsibilities, but they are usually more limited in scope. While a full-time CTO makes a long-term commitment to a business, a vCTO will be brought in for a specific task, such managing an ERP project, or shoring up cybersecurity and compliance.

Virtual CTOs have become more common during the pandemic, as many businesses found themselves with specific immediate needs when offices were closed. However, for an ambitious business with medium- to long-term growth plans, a vCTO may not be the best choice.

On the other hand, a fractional CTO will take responsibility for the day-to-day as well as larger projects. A Virtual CTO will, by definition, have a certain distance from the business. But a fractional CTO can deal with the people, process, and tech issues of a mid-market company.

“Fractional” simply means “part-time.” It is an executive position, with the full responsibilities of a CTO. It just provides more flexibility and affordability for a mid-market company.

(Click here for more details on the role of the CTO.)

Who needs a Virtual CTO?

Mid-market companies will turn to vCTOs for a number of reasons. They may need a CTO with very specific experience. Or perhaps the business could use an outsider’s perspective on its tech and growth plans. One very common reason is money: since vCTOs are by definition part-time and/or contract employees, they cost less than a regular CTO.

Fractional CTOs, however, provide benefits in the short-, medium-, and long-term, while remaining an affordable choice.

What do Virtual CTO Services include?

The services a vCTO provides will be specific to the needs of the company. They may take a broader view, providing an overall vision or strategy. Or they may spearhead a specific project, such as a front-end redesign, or purchasing and implementing new software. Whatever the brief, a good CTO needs excellent technical skills and communication skills, as they have to clarify their role to investors, the executive team, and staff.

How much does a Virtual CTO cost?

The salary of a full-time CTO will range from $140,000 to $280,000 per year, depending on the experience of the candidate, the role, and geography. A Virtual CTO will be less expensive, but the exact cost will depend upon the length and complexity of the assignment. A fractional CTO, however, can ramp up or down as needed.

Are there many CTO jobs?

There are hundreds of open CTO positions across the US, but the competition is high. It can be a challenging, secure, and well-paying job, with the possibility of making a real difference to a company, so it’s a sought-after position.

Job seekers should also consider fractional CTO positions, which offer more flexibility and variety. At Freeman Clarke, we specialize in fractional CTOs. Click here to get in touch.

“The Freeman-Clarke model has worked well for us at an important time of change. Our fractional CTO’s professionalism and ‘can-do’ approach meant delivery of a number of critical projects which have brought our IT systems up to date. Our CTO’s ability to pick up on the complex technology of our industry, combined with his IT capabilities, has resulted in a stronger, more secure IT environment.”

Why Freeman Clarke?

Quality. Our unique model provides a cost-effective way to get the best talent in the business on your team. We hand-pick IT leaders on the basis of their skills and experience and their ability to fit in to the culture of a mid-market business like yours.

Business-minded. We are business people, and we speak your language. Our IT strategies are always tuned to the needs of the business and financial realities.

Independence. Our CTOs are completely independent. We make no arrangements with suppliers, so you can know that our recommendations are completely objective.

Flexibility. We don’t insist on an upfront payment or commitment to a six-figure sum. We demonstrate value every day, or else just tell us to stop immediately. It’s as simple as that.

Affordability. Our people are the best in the business, but as you take a fraction of their time the price point is affordable. We set our prices appropriate to the mid-market and we don’t cross-sell or upsell.

 

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. To find out more about how we could add value to your business, get in touch.

What does an Interim CTO do?

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is responsible for technology, teams, and suppliers. They drive innovation and efficiency across the business.

Sometimes a company may be between CTOs and will hire a CTO as a stopgap. Thus an interim CTO, by definition, will be replaced by a permanent hire. This can create confusion and a lack of continuity for a company.

A better choice may be a fractional CTO. “Fractional” simply means “flexible” and can mean “part-time.” But a fractional CTO can stay with your business for years, providing strategy and continuity. And because they work on a fractional basis, it’s more affordable and cost-effective than a permanent hire.

Who needs to hire an interim CTO?

There are a number of situations that may drive a CEO to seek an interim CTO. Sometimes a company looks for an interim CTO to develop bespoke software. Or a start-up may need technology leadership to provide credibility to investors. A mid-market company may want an interim CTO to help it through a period of rapid growth. Finally, a company may seek an interim CTO to keep the IT and technology working well until they can find someone permanent.

In our experience, a fractional CTO has been a better choice in every one of these scenarios. An interim CTO, by definition, is for the short-term; a fractional CTO can help with the same short-term issues, but their long-term commitment means a more comprehensive and strategic approach. And you aren’t stuck with a contract: a fractional CTO can ramp up or down depending upon your needs.

What do CTO Interim Services include?

  1. Creating a robust, secure, trouble-free infrastructure (including desktops, email, phones, network, file storage)
  2. Managing business systems, including the processes, people, and technology needed to make them work well (such as training, data standards, and documentation)
  3. Delivery of digital initiatives that likely encompass customers, partners and suppliers
  4. Ensuring compliance and risk management (for example, GDPR, PCI, ISO27001).

How much do CTO Interim Services cost?

Surveys by recruitment companies indicate a pay range from $140,000 to $280,000 per year, depending on the scope of the job and location. An interim CTO will often work on a day-rate, and that can add up quite quickly.

A fractional CTO, in contrast, is a fixed, predictable cost that works out to be (of course) a fraction of a total salary. At Freeman Clarke, we specialize in fractional CTOs, from a few days per month to full-time, or even entire teams. (Click here to get in touch.)

How to hire an Interim CTO

There is no shortage of agencies who specialize in interim CTOs. When considering an interim CTO, consider the following points:

If any of these questions are not answered to your satisfaction, it is likely your business is better off with a fractional CTO.

“Freeman Clarke aligned our IT with our business strategy. Our systems now provide much greater support for our staff, reducing wasted time, costs, and problems. The culture and practices within our IT team have changed radically, and they are now a critical contributor to our success.”

Why Freeman Clarke?

Quality. Our unique model provides a cost-effective way to get the best talent in the business on your team. We hand-pick IT leaders on the basis of their skills and experience and their ability to fit into the culture of a mid-market business like yours.

Business-minded. We are business people, and we speak your language. Our IT strategies are always tuned to the needs of the business and commercial realities.

Independence. Our CTOs are completely independent. We make no arrangements with suppliers, so you can know that our recommendations are completely objective.

Flexibility. We don’t insist on an upfront payment or commitment to a six-figure sum. We demonstrate value every day, or else just tell us to stop immediately. It’s as simple as that.

Affordability. Our people are the best in the business, but as you take a fraction of their time the price point is affordable. We set our prices appropriate to the mid-market and we don’t cross-sell or upsell.

 

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. To find out more about how we could add value to your business, get in touch.

What Is a CTO Salary?

A Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is responsible for tech, teams and suppliers. They drive innovation and efficiency across the business.

What is the salary for CTOs in the US?

Surveys by recruitment companies indicate a CTO salary as high as $280,000 per year.

A CTO salary will vary by experience. Where they work also has an effect. CTO salaries in the Northeast tend to be higher, but CTOs can earn excellent salaries in other cities across the US.

With all these factors – experience, geography, the quality of the candidate and the needs of the business – it can be complicated to assess a CTO’s salary.

How to determine a CTO salary?

Assessing where a CTO should fit in this range can be complicated. We simplify it by using three key factors:

1. Does the CTO look to the horizon—to market leaders and emerging technology—in order to bring innovation and new ideas to the business? Are they genuine leaders in digital, custom
software, and identifying market opportunities? Do they continually learn and ensure they are at the top of their game?

2. Do they take a leading role in improving efficiency, effectiveness, and driving business value? Do they create new starting points and innovations to open the door to new business strategies? Or is their job to simply meet the agenda set by more senior leaders?

3. Finally, do they take broad ownership for delivering change? For example, does the CTO facilitate discussions with other leaders within the organization and potentially outside? Do they work as equals with other leaders to meet overall objectives? Are they credible and knowledgeable when dealing with investors and other external stakeholders?

Overall, the CTO is an extremely important position that can have a huge impact on a business. The CTO’s salary needs to reflect that. (For more information about the role itself, see our article, What is the meaning of “CTO”?)

We interview, screen, select and develop more executive-level IT leaders than any other organization. We’re always happy to discuss the recruitment process or any other IT challenges or opportunities.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CTOs work on a “fractional,” or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class tech leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional CTOs are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical expertise. They are strategic thinkers. They understand how to use tech to drive growth. But they are also suited to the culture and reality of mid-market business.

Whatever the remit, our CTOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking a business’s systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative company, because when the two disciplines are connected, we see real, sustainable growth.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

Responsibilities of a CTO

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) is a crucial position. They drive innovation, efficiency, and effectiveness across the business. They use tech – such as online or digital initiatives – to increase company value.

The CTO is responsible for tech, teams, and suppliers. They may oversee development of custom software and apps. And a CTO is a communicator, representing tech initiatives to investors and other stakeholders when necessary.

How CTO Responsibilities Change with Company Growth

Some claim there are two types of CTOs: those who provide technical leadership and those who provide operational management. In reality, it is often more often a continuum, with the roles shifting depending upon the company and its business goals. 

But growth will definitely affect the responsibilities of a CTO. A few factors to consider when experiencing or planning for growth:

Main responsibilities of a CTO in startup

In any business, the CTO ensures that the company’s technology supports its business goals. But of course, this will play out in different ways in an established company and in a startup. 

In a startup situation, the business may not even yet exist when the CTO gets involved. (He or she may be an investor.) The CTO will be crucial during the planning stages, evaluating the technical viability of the product and designing solutions to bring it to life.

Early in the life of a startup, the CTO will develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to attract investors or users. At the same time, the CTO will guide the tech architecture, focusing on security, integration and scalability.

As the product matures, the CTO ensures quality control and takes responsibility for building and supervising teams and IT operations.

“Freeman Clarke has always provided honest and clear advice, guidance and support to the senior team. Having someone completely independent and trusted who understands both the business and the technology has proved to be a significant business enabler.” – CEO, British Pathé.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time (we call it “fractional”) CIOs and CTOs. We work exclusively with ambitious mid-market organizations, and we frequently help our clients to use technology to beat their competition.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

What is “CTO as a service?”

“CTO as a service” means getting valuable advice from a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) as you need it, without ongoing costs. We live in an era where everything is a service; “CTO as a service” is an extension of this idea.

The Benefits of “CTO as a Service”

A CTO can deliver transformational benefits to a mid-market business by bringing expertise and traction to systems and digital projects. An effective CTO can streamline business processes, improve customer service, and increase value. They drive online projects, custom software and app development.

However, good CTOs are rare and thus command high salaries and benefits. So having a CTO as part of the senior team is potentially unaffordable for many mid-market businesses.

And even where budgets allow, it is a risky hiring decision and difficult to get right.

The solution is retaining a CTO as a service on a contract rather than full-time.

Issues with “CTO as a Service”

Of course, a CTO is a senior leader, and not all the benefits of a senior leader can be delivered as a series of well-defined tasks, or questions and answers, or opinions delivered from a distance.

Difficult issues are often ambiguous, and there are seldom simple solutions. To be blunt, if there is a problem you can fix with a phone call, you don’t need a high-quality CTO.

To achieve real, market-leading success, you need a clear vision, strong leadership, and expert judgment. There must be communication and action over an extended period.

Tech alone rarely delivers value. The greatest challenge is to make organizations and businesses work together with Tech. It isn’t practical to expect a remote, disconnected service person to deliver this value.

“CTO as a Service” vs. a Fractional CTO

A fractional CTO joins the senior leadership of a company on a part-time basis. This is a cost-effective approach and provides genuine and effective technology leadership. The fractional CTO is a part of the senior team, with ongoing involvement in tech initiatives and decision-making.

The best CTOs bring a cogent commercial and technical vision for how tech can deliver value to a business, and they bring innovation into the heart of the senior team. This cannot be achieved by someone working in a “taskified,” on-demand manner.

On the other hand, a fractional CTO shapes and influences a company without adding the overhead of a full-timer. A fractional CTO can have a huge impact on the growth of a mid-market firm without undercutting the bottom line.

Visit our Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) Knowledge Centre which includes all content related to this topic.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

CIO vs CTO: What’s the difference?

It is easy to assume that a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the same thing as a Chief Technology Officer (CTO). However, there are important differences from the point of view of a mid-market CEO. Read on to learn about both job titles and their functions.

Internal or External?

Although there isn’t universal agreement on the difference, one way of thinking about it is that the CIO is more internal-facing, while CTOs are more external.

CIOs take ownership of internal processes – the day-to-day tech, the systems and devices. A CIO also facilitates collaboration between the C-suite, IT teams, and other stakeholders. A CIO speaks the language of tech and the language of business.

Of course a CTO must communicate between techies and businesspeople. But they have a strategic function, developing the tech initiatives that will drive growth and value. For example, they will oversee the development of custom software and apps.

Is CIO higher than a CTO?

For organizations with both a CIO and CTO, the CIO is normally senior. But the positions should be complementary, especially if a business is looking to grow. And while there will of course be overlap in terms of skillsets, they are two different positions, with different career paths.

Do you need both a CIO and a CTO?

If the business is large and complex, it is a very good idea to have both a CIO and a CTO. Just make sure that there is a crystal-clear delineation of duties so that both roles add value and have space to operate effectively.

The internal vs. external idea is a good place to start. Remember: it’s the CIO’s job to keep things moving along inside the company and to communicate between the techies and business units. The CTO looks forward, developing innovations for growth.

And it behooves the CEO to ensure smooth communication and cooperation between the positions so there is no confusion or duplication of work.

Comparing a CIO and a CTO

CIO: Chief
Information Officer

image/svg+xml

Internal
IT operations
Builds systems to supports growth
Supervises vendors of internal systems
Represents IT teams to the Board
Focus on improving systems and processes
Organized, skilled communicator and technologist
Click to learn What is the meaning of CIO.

CTO: Chief
Technology Officer

image/svg+xml

External
Ensures connection between tech and business goals
Supervises medium- to long-term initiatives, e.g. custom software and apps
Skilled communicator and technologist
Uses systems and digital to drive innovation and deliver value
Click to learn What is the meaning of CTO.

“Freeman Clarke provided a CIO to help us develop a roadmap for the future state of our IT systems, together with a strategic plan to help us get there. Our IT has always been a significant value driver in our business, and we need to ensure it stays that way.… [Our] Freeman Clarke CIO has not only helped us with creating that roadmap. He also became a key member of our senior leadership team.” – Chris Johnson, Chairman, JJS Manufacturing.

Why Freeman Clarke?

Freeman Clarke CIOs and CTOs work on a “fractional,” or part-time model. This provides a business with first-class tech leadership without the full-time cost.

Our fractional tech leaders are uniquely suited to mid-market businesses. They have outstanding technical and strategic skills. They understand how to use tech to drive growth. And they are suited to the culture and reality of mid-market businesses.

Whatever the remit, our CIOs and CTOs operate from the fundamental idea of linking a business’s systems and digital strategy to business objectives. This should be the goal of every innovative, ambitious mid-market company because it’s one of the best ways to create real, sustainable growth.

To find out more about how we could add value to your business, Contact Us and we’ll be in touch for an informal conversation.

What Is a Fractional CTO or CIO?

Companies of all sizes are increasingly aware of the role technology plays in the success of their businesses — especially when business and commerce are conducted increasingly online.

A successful application of technology creates efficiencies, removes costs, reaches new customers, and opens new markets.  Ineffective systems add cost and stifle growth, frustrating employees and customers alike.

Watch this short video to find out how an astute and commercially driven CTO will ensure your technology strategy is inline with your business goals to optimise business success and growth.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

The Role of a CTO in the Mid-Market

Companies of all sizes are increasingly aware of the role technology plays in the success of their businesses. Business and commerce are conducted increasingly online. The successful application of technology creates efficiencies, lowers costs, reaches new customers, and opens new markets. Ineffective systems add costs and stifle growth, frustrating employees and customers alike.

Watch this short video to find out how an astute, business-minded CTO will optimize your company’s success and growth.

And visit our Knowledge Center, which is packed with useful, plain-English content on CTOs.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Why CTOs Are Crucial to the Success of Mid-Market Companies

Many of our clients use custom software and digital initiatives to drive sales, increase efficiency or improve service. Sometimes they are disrupting entire markets. As a result, the requirement for a commercially astute CTO is on the rise. Freeman Clarke Co-Founder and Director Graeme Freeman discusses this in more detail in this video.

Freeman Clarke is the largest and most experienced team of part-time, or fractional, IT leaders. We work exclusively with organizations looking to use IT to grow their business. For an informal conversation, contact us and we’ll be in touch.

Subscribe to our Business Insights

Plain English board-level briefings focused on technology strategies to deliver competitive advantage and business success.

* Please enter an email address
newnewsletterrecipient

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.

Graeme Freeman
Co-Founder and Director

Subscribe to our Business Insights

Plain English board-level briefings focused on technology strategies to deliver competitive advantage and business success.

* Please enter an email address
newnewsletterrecipient

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Thank you.

You’ll now receive regular expert business insights.

Call us on 0203 020 1864 with any questions.