Suppose you want to reach place B from place A within the next 30 minutes. Suppose there are 3 routes connecting places A and B. How do you choose the best route?

You’d most likely refer to a navigation app that suggests you the best route considering real-time data like traffic density, closures due to repair work, etc. The navigation app here was your technical guide helping you reach your destination.

Extending this analogy to the IT business, a CTO plays the role of a guide who would help the organization realize its goals efficiently.

Roles and responsibilities of a CTO

A Chief Technology Officer leads the engineering and technology department in an IT company.

CTO acts on the ‘how’ part of achieving technical milestones and is responsible for choosing the right platform and tools for implementation, for shaping the software development strategy in the organization, and overseeing the research and development at the organization.

Prerequisites for a CTO

In order to execute their duties effectively, CTOs should have vast knowledge about software development platforms and methodologies. It is also crucial for them to stay updated about the latest technology trends and developments in the industry as well as have strategies to adapt them to meet the goals of his/her company. 

Innovative thinking would be an added advantage. Also, it is a huge value add if the CTOs have an expert skillset in a few niche areas.

Why virtual CTO?

Given the time and effort they invest in amassing their knowledge base, CTOs are to be compensated equally in salaries. This might prove to be expensive for startups and small companies to afford a full-time CTO. Also, for industries like real estate, construction, pharma where the volume of projects is limited, it does not make financial sense to hire a full-time CTO since their scope would only be for a limited amount of time.

In such scenarios, an organization can avail the services of virtual CTOs that are provided by consultancies like Pace Wisdom. Virtual CTOs are CTOs who reside in offshore locations. Organizations can stay associated with the virtual CTOs for a duration until their project is stabilized and becomes self-sustainable.

 
Find out more about how our engagement models suit your IT needs
 

What does a virtual CTO do?

Virtual CTOs are not your in-house hires. Rather, they provide the same service while residing offshore and working at a different consultancy. They will, however, understand the goals and objectives of your organization and work towards achieving them.

Other responsibilities handled by virtual CTOs are:

  1. They provide unbiased expert opinions while taking technical decisions for the organization
  2. Provide efficient and elegant solutions for difficult tech problems faced at the development front
  3. Study the landscape of your organization and suggest optimizations and measures to increase your output
  4. Find a middle ground between user expectations and constraints at your organization and provide appropriate solutions for the benefit of both the parties
  5. Help your organization in adopting new technologies or to undergo transformation
  6. Design a framework for the technical growth at the organization giving enough room for flexibility and scalability

Advantages of virtual CTO over in-house CTO

As opposed to full time in-house CTOs, having a virtual CTO is beneficial in the following aspects:
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Ease of hiring and a higher probability of finding the best fit 
  • Wide range of experience from working for different organizations and a different set of challenges
  • Diversity benefits when the consultancy provides a team of learned resources who work as virtual CTO in tandem
  • Minimal ramp-up time and training needed

Final word

A CTO is the answer to all tech-related confusion at an organization. Considering the cost benefits and other advantages, hiring a virtual CTO seems like a wiser decision for IT startups and non-IT companies requiring backend IT services. Large companies can also hire virtual CTOs for some standalone projects to take advantage of the benefits that come with this model.

By Sapna
Sapna is a technical content writer who writes mainly about the latest trends in the software industry. She comes from an engineering background and has worked in the software field for over eight years. Her areas of interest include project planning ,management and talent acquisition. She has authored tech blogs on a wide range of topics ranging from software engineering to management. She has also written case studies for IT project services.

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