As anyone who has worked in a small business enterprise or in a startup can tell you, the time eventually comes when an organization desperately needs a technology leader. To begin with, a fractional CTO is a Chief Technology Officer that works for your company part-time and provides C-Level support to your organization. To help answer this question, we will first pose a few questions to get you thinking, help you understand where you are really at, and to help you better understand what a CTO does for a startup or an SMB.
- Is your company’s primary product or service technology driven?
- Is technology a major factor in expanding your reach?
- Do you currently have a future technology roadmap?
- Has technology become difficult to manage?
- Do you have existing technology leadership in your company?
- How would your company fare in 5 years if you made a bad technology choice now?
To better understand your current position you need to first understand what your existing technology resources are. Many companies may not currently need a CTO or even a fractional CTO if a well-established organization is providing deep technical support for the critical technical infrastructure of your business. For example, Microsoft provides deep technical support, and typically a dedicated staff member to help members of their startup sponsorship program for Azure. This personality can often help stave off the need for a CTO if you have existing technical talent in your company (such as developers or IT professionals).
With that being said, if you are focusing on developing new technologies that help engage your customers, add additional marketing, or are offering new technology solutions, relying on a single technology vendor (like Microsoft or Google) may be a mistake. These organizations will often steer you toward the use of their services. Your aim should be to create solutions and services that are the most cost effective, stable, and present you with the best opportunity to scale.
This is a simple checklist of things you should consider when you are looking at hiring a fractional CTO:
- Can you afford a full-time CTO, or is a full-time CTO necessary at your current stage (can you keep them busy)?
- Do you have projects or solutions your are currently working on where you are receiving a lot of guidance from a specific technology vendor?
- Are you starting to feel like there is no technology leadership and your technology professionals are working in silos?
Any of these three issues are big signals that it is the right time. If you want to look more into this, give us a call today, or email us at email@example.com.