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.
Technology alone rarely delivers value. The greatest challenge is to make organizations and businesses work together with Technology. 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 technology initiatives and decision-making.
The best CTOs bring a cogent commercial and technical vision for how technology 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.
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