January 2, 2023

Do I Need a Soulmate CTO?

So you’re thinking about hiring a CTO, or chief technology officer, for your startup — or dreaming about it, at least.

Having someone to focus on IT best practices, disaster recovery planning and the implementation of cloud technology so that you can focus on doing what you love would be an absolute dream — perhaps an unreachable one, you think.

Even though history knows dozens of examples of successful startups with non-technical founders and without a CTO — like SlideShare, YouTube, Lyft, Snapchat, to name a few — this in no way prompts you to climb the same ladder. The market sets new rules for tech players as the days pass, so every startup carves its own way to a soaring height.

As for more prominent companies, there might be no strict necessity to engage a CTO permanently. The expertise of managers and senior-level developers suffices to handle routine technical tasks under the guidance of such company members as VP of Engineering, Team Lead, and Project Manager.

No matter in which growth stage the company is, eventually there comes the critical moment to hire a CTO from outside, namely leverage CTO-as-a-Service (CaaS).

How to spot the moment you need CaaS

The “right” time to bring in a CTO varies from company to company. While some companies might need one-time technical consulting, others are looking for ways to have CaaS on a long-term basis. Let’s see what might give you a hint to “It’s high time to incorporate deeper technical expertise.”

Early-stage startups. The dream of every startup is to create a second-to-none solution that will triumph on the market and bring high ROI. If the product is your business, it is imperative to thoroughly plan out everything upfront, including the development team and responsibilities, applicable tech stack and development tools, and development milestones and deliveries. Without a down-to-earth strategy at hand, there is a significant risk of failure in some steps to the growth just because something relevant was overlooked.

A CTO with a solid IT experience and knowledge of the industry may help with initiatives from the very beginning. By referring to СTO-as-a-Service on a long-term basis, you will get proof of concept, expert advice on the best tech stack for an MVP, professional management of the development team, and timely task coordination. The CTO also will consult with you on such options as integration with third-party applications and possible cloud deployment and migration.

Startups planning to scale. If the company is on the fast track for growth and planning to raise investment, it will take a significant effort to convince the investors of product potential and people who stand behind the exceptional work. Beyond all doubt, the chances are higher if there’s already a strongly skilled CTO onboard.

If not, think of the personal and professional qualities of the CTO you would like to push ahead with and start looking around. A qualified CTO is expected to pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of the previous tech approaches and help you out with the most optimal roadmap for future growth.

Mature startups. Once the whole way to become more prominent is gone and the solution hooks customers and users, do not stop to conquer new frontiers. To outperform rivals (they are everywhere), it is vital to establish a strong foothold by enriching the product with something outstanding.

A CTO with solid engineering expertise and strategic thinking will enlighten you on the latest tech trends and apt solutions to pick the cream of the crop for an unrivaled user and customer experience.

Deeply rooted companies. If you plan or already undergo digital transformation, you may face several challenges related to business processes, customers, market conditions, and industry-specific regulations. Adopting an advanced technology is not an easy process, for changes affect single people and departments, internal technical infrastructure, and the way people interact and manage data.

What is more, the market offers a wealth of digital solutions to drive business. Just think of the power of mobile apps, cloud services, collaboration and marketing platforms, automation tools, and many others you are unaware of. Still, they are there for you to be timely and wisely unleashed. Not to get lost halfway, pin down with the CTO as to which resources are best to incorporate and at which moment, what kind of risks to expect and how to mitigate them, and what additional tech solutions might be of great benefit in the future.

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