Virtual CTO Services
Let us first begin with who a CTO is ? Most people are aware of the roles of a CEO ( Chief Executive Officer ) and a COO (Chief Operations Officer), but not many companies find the need to hire a CTO, most likely under the pretense of not being a Tech company. However, it is clear that the world we live in today is largely driven by technology running at blitz scale. Even industry areas which were traditionally running in a low-tech set up find themselves embracing technology at full force.
To begin with, it is imperative to remember that the roles of a CTO and that of a Virtual CTO are roughly the same.
What are the Roles of a Virtual CTO ?
A CTO is the Chief Technological Officer, and this executive is in charge of maximizing the value that technology may provide to a company’s bottom line. In simple terms, they are leveraging technology to make the organization more efficient to build a substantial competitive advantage over its competitors.
Who Does the CTO Report to ?
Often a CTO works closely with the CIO ( Chief Information Officer ) and CDO ( Chief Digital Officer ), but the CTO is the most senior role and reports directly to the CEO. In a larger business, there are substantial costs incurred by additional technology executives.
Key Responsibilities of a Virtual CTO
By now, we understand that the Virtual CTO has responsibilities related to technology, be it anything, whether it is to incorporate new software to manage CRM, which is focused on technology propositions for customer’s or to integrate technology to manage internal teams and build company morale.
The Role of a Virtual CTO is complicated, and every Virtual CTO will have its unique strengths but what is cardinal is that they will predominantly have technology running through their veins.
1. Technology governance – Governance plays a vital role in any CTO role. Technology investments must be executed well, policies and principles are set, and resources are well managed.
2. Build Technology roadmaps – Along with Managing an extensive portfolio of projects and balancing a range of stakeholders. They will be required to have an enticing technological roadmap to succeed. This means identifying a technological pipeline that the company will follow now and in the coming years.
3. Solid financial skills – as they will need to assess and ensure technology investments frequently are on track, to yield a solid financial return – they will also need to budget effectively for the organization’s technology needs.
4. Technology evangelism – has a lot to do with Innovation and R&D; they always need to keep an eye on emerging technology trends, use customer intelligence, watch competitors and the external market. All of this information should be used to drive business model innovation long before rivals have a chance to disrupt the company’s operations. Much innovation will come through strategic partnerships with start-ups, vendors, and technology companies. In order to derisk and speed innovation, it is beneficial to have an ecosystem of collaborations.
5. Product Development – In addition, you should expect them to work with the Product development executives to develop new technology-enabled products, and by doing so, will improve revenue and sales opportunities while also enhancing the company’s brand.
What skills and background should a Virtual CTO have ?
A Virtual CTO is a technologist first and everything else second. As a result, most Virtual CTOs have worked in a technical or engineering role at some point in their early careers.
Having technical experience is essential to understand the nuances of technology strategy and delivery – and if you’re looking to hire a Virtual CTO, you should expect them to be skilled in the fields of IT Management, Software, Leadership, Product Management, and Product Development.
The World of a Virtual CTO is vast, you may hire one based on the specific requirements you wish to fulfill within the organization, but one thing is sure s/he will arrive with the knowledge of what needs to be incorporated far more comprehensively than the requirements you started with. With the advancement of the internet and the access to the World Wide Web being far more accessible than before, companies now have the luxury of hiring for roles and the power to get individuals who are substantially more experienced and influential.
If Covid has taught us anything, it is that we can still execute most of the functions required from a CTO at optimum capacity completely remotely. The only difference being that one operates remotely while the other doesn’t for the most part and a Virtual CTO is far more economical due to its remote nature!
Stay tuned for the next in this series which will cover – business impact of a virtual CTO, When one should opt for one and the pros and cons of having a virtual CTO…