In this article, read what CTO-as-a-Service is and how technology consulting can shape your company's technology vision and improve business performance.

You’re a leader in a small to mid-sized company, and you have a great idea for an app. However, you have no idea how to implement it. Or maybe you need someone to help you ensure that the business strategy you’ve developed is properly supported with the right software. At some point, you decide to hire a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) who will take on all the responsibilities related to product architecture, technology stack, and product tech vision and roadmap. But you’re a growing company that’s not ready for a full-time CTO. This is where a CTO-as-a-Service and technology consulting come in handy. 

everything your need to know about CTO-as-a-Service

When do you need a Virtual CTO?

So here are cases when a virtual CTO can be helpful for your business if you:

  • need to translate your idea into a viable product
  • need a senior tech specialist who will help your business stand out from the competitors
  • want to audit your app, website, platform, system, or architecture
  • are not sure what technology stack will be most suitable for your business
  • want to update current organizational and technical tools
  • need senior guidance to support, manage, and hire tech talents for your project
  • need to create a project technology roadmap but can’t afford a full-time CTO at the moment
  • are ready to scale and need a temporary CTO to help you make the right decisions
  • pitch your product to investors and don’t want to screw up

If you agree at least with one statement, it’s time to consider virtual CTO as an option for your business. 

But first, let’s clarify what we are talking about here. Just like a CTO, a CTO-as-a-Service or a virtual CTO provides go-to technology consulting services to ensure that company technology decisions align with business goals. The only thing is that you don’t pay a full-time salary.

What does the external CTO do for your firm? 

According to Gartner, the CTO has overall responsibility for managing the physical and personnel technology infrastructure, including deployment, integration, systems management, and the development of technical operations personnel. 

More recently, however, the role is moving beyond infrastructure management and shifting focus to driving technology innovation and leading digital product development. 

Just like a CTO, an on-demand CTO acts as the organization’s technologist, responsible for developing product technology vision and roadmap.

McKinsey&Company distinguishes four types of CTOs:

types of CTO
Source: McKinsey&Company

Which style will be the best fit for your company depends on your industry and business domain. Here’s an example:

“Influencers” and “Enablers” can become a perfect match for low-tech industries, where CTOs have a lower level of control over technology agendas. 

By contrast, “Challengers” and “Owners” are a great choice for more technology-intensive companies with multiple business units, each with its vital R&D operations. 

But no matter which style will make the most sense for your company, the main requirements are the same for everyone: the CTO, whether in-house or remote, should shape technology vision, ensure that the technological resources satisfy the company’s short and long-term needs, keep an eye on the trends and turn opportunities into strategies.

Related video: Why do you need a CTO?

When Should You Hire a CTO on-demand for Your Business?

Let's take a look at several cases when virtual CTO can benefit your project: 

when should you hire a CTO for your business

You have a product idea and want to make it viable.

In this case, a virtual CTO can assist you with:

  • Competitors' analysis
  • Architecture design and development
  • Choosing the right technology stack and set of tools
  • Feature prioritization
  • Suggesting the most cost-effective way for your business.

You need an experienced technologist with business acumen.

The steps to be taken by your emote CTO include:

  • Selecting technologies according to business objectives
  • Auditing current technology stack and suggest improvements
  • Dealing with tech issues that your team can't manage or have no resources to solve.

Your business is scaling, and you need CTO to help create a scaling strategy.

The CTO-as-a-Service can help you with:

  • Cloud optimization strategy
  • Analysis of the current situation and suggest the most optimal approach
  • Creating an effective plan to scale up

You are going to pitch your product and need a CTO to help to convince investors.

To successfully pitch your idea to investors, the CTO will:

  • Answer investors' questions
  • Help to get prepared for the pitch deck
  • Describe the product's value proposition
  • Ensure that everything is smooth from a technology perspective

Your business is growing, and you need a CTO to help recruit the best people.

In this case, the virtual CTO helps the human resources department to recruit specialists. Her responsibilities include:

  • Evaluate candidates and conduct technical interviews.
  • Assemble a team so that they have the necessary soft and hard skills.

Related Article: Being a Virtual CTO is More Than Just Giving Advice: An Inside Peek

Benefits of hiring a remote CTO

Here are some advantages of hiring a virtual CTO:

benefits of hiring CTO-as-a-Service

The most apparent reason is cost-effectiveness. You can hire from any country where the salaries are lower. In addition, you may not need to hire a CTO full-time and pay monthly. You can employ a project-based CTO or a specialist who will provide technology consulting. 

To compare, here is the average CTO salary/year in different countries. As you can see, if you are a startup, hiring a full-time CTO can be a bit steep. 

the CTO average salary

You get access to a bigger pool of talents. Speaking of technology consultancy, usually, you don't engage with just one individual or a jack of all trades technologist. You get access to a senior technology team, including CTO and software engineers who use their collective skills to find solutions to problems like yours. 

You get a professional who can work independently. First of all, the virtual CTO shouldn't undergo any training. The only thing required is a series of meetings to dive deeper into your business needs. 

With a CTO-as-a-Service, you can stay ahead of the competition by providing a more significant customer value. It can be achieved due to the CTO's vast experience and deeper understanding of UI/UX design, efficient coding techniques, and architecture. 

How to choose an external CTO?

So, how can you effectively augment your team with a third-party CTO? You have three options:

how to choose an external cto?

Tech Consultant 

In this case, the CTO will audit your product and consult you on the most challenging questions regarding technology. Note that tech consultants work on multiple projects and won’t be dedicated exclusively to your project. 

Tech Lead

This is an option if you are looking for a part-time CTO who will create technical requirements for your project, provide ongoing consulting, and solve your current tech issues. 

Full-time CTO-as-a-Service

If you consider a long-term partnership, you can hire a full-time CTO starting from one month and more. In this case, the CTO will be wholly immersed in your project and help you make the right strategic decision aligned with technical and business requirements. In addition, this CTO will also help you conduct tech interviews with potential candidates to assemble the right team. 

As you see, the CTO-as-a-Service is a relatively flexible solution, whether you have a small to mid-sized business. It would help if you chose the interaction model, which matches your request. 

CTO-as-a-Service for Online Store - our experience

Now let’s take a look at how this service works in practice. Our client needed to automate manual processes, including:

  • adding and creating new product items to the online store
  • adding the Ukrainian language to the website following the new legislation (thus transfer data);
  • increasing website traffic and conversion rate by adding more product items to the online store.

The founders hired CTO-as-a-Service from CXDojo to consult the team. Having analyzed the project scope, our team provided the following solutions:

  • We created high-level project requirements.
  • Our CTO participated in the recruitment process and conducted interviews with potential vendors.
  • We developed a strategic technology roadmap aligned with our business goals with the project’s key objectives, important milestones, main deliverables, dependencies, and possible risks.
  • Our CTO constantly participates in strategic planning meetings.

We helped the client to automate the process of adding new items to their online store. As a result, the number of new products on the site began to grow faster.

So, summing up, the CTO-as-a-Service can work as an extension to your company and offer access to a pool of C-level technology experts without the expense of full-time IT executives. 

If you’d like to learn more about the service and get a free consultation, drop us a line, and we’ll get back to you ASAP 🚀