By Terry Harmon, Chief Technology Officer
You’re trying to grow and scale your tech-sector business, or maybe you’re a startup with a new software project poised to deliver in a big way. You know managing and overseeing the technical aspects requires a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) but the prospects of hiring one seem daunting — to put it mildly. The solution? You need to find a fractional CTO.
Finding a qualified CTO is difficult for startups and SMBs, even in the best of times. And there’s plenty of evidence that acquiring tech talent is challenging for most companies in today’s climate. There is a growing tech talent shortage, which has led to inflamed competition for candidates for jobs across the industry — let alone CTOs.
Hiring a full-time CTO, while recognized as a necessity by many, is often a pipe dream in practice. Offering a competitive salary requires a commitment simply out of reach for most SMBs and startups. Even if there is room for that kind of expenditure — several hundreds of thousands of dollars — finding available candidates in a competitive market is difficult. Then you need to convince that candidate to work specifically in your area or industry. Even vetting proper candidates can be a challenge given the highly technical nature of the knowledge needed for the position.
However, when you decide to find a fractional CTO, you’ll discover more readily available, accessible, and cost-effective leaders that can drive the vision and tech-reliant strategy of your business.
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So, you need a CTO to coordinate the technology and business aspects of your company. But, a full-time CTO isn’t the right fit for your organization — due to the reasons listed above. What are your options? You can hire a part-time CTO, and hope you’re able to answer the questions regarding viable candidates and vetting. You could place an interim tech officer in the position, and hope they grow into the role as they gain experience. However, many businesses are turning to fractional CTOs for a variety of reasons.
A ‘traditional’ CTO is a senior executive with a full-time role within a company and tasked with handling all technological requirements of the organization. A fractional CTO will largely do the same but for a fraction of the time and on a fraction of the projects — for a fraction of the cost. There’s little to no distinction between the two in terms of education, experience, or any other trait or skill. The only difference is a fractional CTO is there — essentially — on demand to consult on specific projects, technology advancements, or plans.
A fractional CTO, just like a full-time version, will be responsible for designing a company’s tech strategy, looking for optimal technical operations, and overseeing product launch. These executives are actively involved in decision-making, play a critical role in connecting upper management with tech teams, and responsible for guiding products to market. When companies elect to find a fractional CTO they unlock the capabilities and benefits of the position, without overextending their reach. Let’s examine some of those a bit further.
When you find a fractional CTO you take the responsibility of sifting through potential candidates, and vetting them, off your plate. When you work with a proven outsourcing partner, they provide CTO services — as well as other personnel support — that come with the experience needed to guide tech teams and projects. Fractional CTOs won’t be learning on the job, they’ll come with complete resumes, proven track records, and the know-how to direct your initiatives from the very beginning.
If you’re shipping buggy products or missing deadlines, a fractional CTO can help you devise a plan and adjust in order to engineer a turnaround. Having a fractional CTO in place gives you an on-call expert in product development, cybersecurity strategies, and business process optimizations. You’ll be able to better align your technology, strategy and business goals.
And because fractional CTOs come from outside the organization they’ll be far less prone to be influenced by internal factors like office politics or groupthink. With experience across several companies across the IT landscape, a fractional CTO can bring a new perspective — and potential solutions — to the issues you’re facing.
With a CTO in place, the risk of a zero release is greatly reduced. No one envisions their startup failing to deliver at the end of development, or a new product initiative failing to even reach the market. But the fact of the matter is that it does happen. Failure is far more likely without someone overseeing the operation that has the technological experience and insight to know how to coordinate teams and what to look out for.
Let’s say you’ve outsourced to an overseas team with little oversight. Problems develop and your project hits a dead end. With the launch in jeopardy, what do you do? With a fractional CTO, you’ll have a resource that can identify the risks at each step, envision what could go wrong — and then take steps to address them before they threaten to scuttle the entire operation.
Finding a fractional CTO, especially for a startup or SMB with a non-tech based founder, provides peace of mind. They establish the right technology strategy, make sure the right technologies are used, create product roadmaps, oversee development and internal IT operations, and help you build a scalable finished product.
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If you don’t have technology experts on your leadership team, finding a fractional CTO provides incredible value. You get a seasoned professional with diverse experience (and a fresh perspective) at a fraction of the cost. It provides confidence and reduces the risk of everything you’re working on.
No longer do SMBs and startups have to go without the leadership, vision, and strategy that comes with having a CTO organize your architecture and connecting the technical and business sides of your company.
At Vault Innovation we’re more than just another custom software development company — we’re a partner in your success. For more than a decade we’ve assisted tech-powered brands, founders, and visionaries in solving design challenges and ship purpose-driven products and software. This includes robust staff augmentation and fractional CTO services. Our experienced and proven professionals add the human capital necessary to get your projects to the finish line, with flexibility, accessibility, and resiliency that comes with our Learn, Build, Grow model.
Find out how our fractional CTO services can help your business eliminate risk in development and expand your possibilities. Reach out now to explore what we offer or to request a discovery call.