Any project that is going to be long-term must have a well-defined roadmap, an evolving technology stack, and scalable architecture. Without this, its updates will be complex and resource-intensive. How can this be prevented? Why do many teams, despite their experience, still find themselves forced to transfer previously created solutions to new platforms and re-create each feature from scratch? The answer lies on the surface: these teams lack an experienced CTO. We will tell you below about what tasks this specialist performs.
Who Is a CTO?
The chief technology officer (CTO) is one of the management positions in a company responsible for developing new services or products and optimizing performance in the teams that work on them. In particular, a CTO consultant helps improve the development, testing, and deployment of software, performs training, expands the skills of development team members, as well as implements and supports various processes within the company.
Is it possible to do without CTO consulting in the company? In theory, yes, if you create n trivial projects, the progress of work on which is clear and understandable. However, when it comes to innovative solutions, startups, or large-scale apps and/or websites with an uncompleted list of requirements that can change over time, this specialist will be vital to the success of your software solutions, as they will help you match the technology stack and roadmap for each such project with your business goals.
Key Responsibilities of CTO
Now, let's figure out what tasks are usually taken on by a Chief Technology Officer (although, of course, they can vary greatly from project to project).
- Managing the company's technological plans. As you may have guessed, one of the main tasks of this specialist in the company is to match its business goals with the technology plan. And indeed, no matter how, at first glance, the technology stack you choose, if it ends up contradicting your budget or any other financial aspects, the CTO will offer you a worthy replacement. And vice versa, often companies, to save on development, choose tools and technologies that do not allow the project to scale. Thus, sometimes they have to be redone from scratch, while initially, the right choice of technologies would make it possible to make changes smoothly and without unnecessary time and financial costs.
- Overseeing data security and management. The role of the CTO expert is especially critical in companies and/or projects that need to deal with big data and ensure that it meets specific digital security standards. The fact is that the experience of the internal development team is often not enough to effectively manage the possible growth of this data without contradicting security policies. In turn, CTO will help them choose the right IT strategy and suggest technologies and architecture to ensure the necessary compliance.
- Maintaining a company's network. When a CTO has been hired for a company with a complex or evolving IT infrastructure, this specialist can provide invaluable assistance in ensuring and maintaining its efficient operation. Indeed, as this infrastructure grows, it may not run fast enough or be too expensive to maintain. As for the CTO, this specialist will offer optimization options and help avoid unnecessary costs where possible.
- Envisioning how different forms of technology will be used throughout the project. If your project is created with long-term prospects, you are unlikely to be able to stick to the same technology stack to keep it up to date. Therefore, from the very beginning, you will need a specialist who will help you select a set of technologies and tools that can be expanded by new ones without the need to radically redo the main part of the project. In particular, a CTO can easily cope with this task.
Research ways the company's technological assets can be improved. And, of course, to keep up your company's development with your leading technologies, you will need an expert to help you synchronize them effectively and build a successful technical strategy. And vice versa, sometimes the right choice of a technology stack opens up new verticals for the company's development that were previously inaccessible.
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How to Make the CTO Role Successful?
Behind the successful work of a CTO on your project/projects is always their effective interaction with all your company’s employees who are somehow related to the specific digital solution being created. No matter how experienced the expert you hired is, if they do not thoroughly understand how the internal business processes in your organization are arranged and what the specifics of your business values and goals are, they will not be useful to you.
Also, the CTO needs to understand what level of expertise your internal development team has to give them the right motivation and bring their skills up to the required ones. And finally, this expert will be responsible for expanding your team, which means they must be clearly aware of the pace at which work on your project is progressing and see clearly what problems your in-office specialists face.
Why Do You Need a CTO Consultant?
Let's summarize the above and emphasize that not all businesses need a CTO. In particular, if your project has a well-defined roadmap and, in general, there are no pitfalls in its implementation (and it is not expected in the future), you can get by with the standard "configuration" of the development team.
On the other hand, projects aimed at automating the internal business processes of the company, innovative solutions based on advanced technologies, startups, as well as projects with flexible and changing business requirements may "suffer" from the absence of a specialist of this level in the team.
Indeed, in this case, your expenses may turn out to be irrational, and at some point, you will realize that it is easier to remake your digital solution from scratch than to update an initially poorly scalable one. In any case, when communicating with potential CTO candidates, you can personally ask them what perspectives they can bring to your project and/or company in general.
Where to Start Looking?
As for the best places to look for CTOs, unfortunately, there are no universal recommendations here. The fact is that software development consulting specialists must have a fairly extensive set of skills and many years of experience, so they cannot be found on ordinary online job boards. As for the publication of a vacancy on your company's website or on any other web platforms that are the official representation of your business activities, with this approach, you risk spending many months searching because, usually, specialists of this level are already involved in some other projects. Perhaps, of course, you will be lucky and “stumble upon” someone who decided to leave their previous project for some personal reasons, but in reality, this happens quite rarely.
So, what to do in this case? Usually, CTOs are the lead developers in the company who have been with it since its inception. At the same time, this is not a universal story, which may not be applicable to business owners who either do not have their internal development team or who have not previously been puzzled by creating non-trivial digital solutions. Therefore, the only viable model for finding and hiring such a specialist would be to contact staffing companies that will provide you with their virtual CTO services. You will be able to agree with them on the optimal collaboration format (be it on-demand collaboration, remote full-time, or team consulting for a few hours a week) that meets the specific needs of your project. Thus, you can always terminate this collaboration at the end of your product’s life cycle.
We hope that we have helped you understand who a CTO is and whether this specialist is needed specifically for your company and/or project. In particular, if you realize the need for a CTO for your business, you can free yourself from spending months looking for them and contact us. We will provide you with a CTO as a service for startups who have helped development teams successfully implement projects specifically from your business niche. Write to us right now to discuss the details of our possible cooperation and agree on its format.
Why is a CTO consultant essential for long-term projects?
A CTO consultant is crucial for long-term projects as they help to create a well-defined roadmap, an evolving technology stack, and scalable architecture, which prevent updates from becoming complex and resource-intensive.
What are the key responsibilities of a CTO?
The key responsibilities of a CTO include managing the company's technological plans, overseeing data security and management, maintaining a company's network, envisioning how different forms of technology will be used throughout the project, and researching ways the company's technological assets can be improved.
Why do businesses need a CTO consultant?
Businesses require a CTO consultant if their projects have flexible and changing business requirements, involve automating internal business processes, innovative solutions based on advanced technologies, or startups. In these cases, a CTO consultant's absence may result in irrational expenses, leading to the realization that it is easier to remake the digital solution from scratch than to update an initially poorly scalable one.
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