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What a Fractional CTO Does
A fractional CTO (fCTO) is a Chief Technology Officer who works to resolve technology issues for a fraction of the time and cost that a full-time CTO would require. In other words, an fCTO serves as an on-demand consultant for developing and implementing technological solutions in response to your business’s specific needs. However, more than saving cost, an fCTO provides crucial value to your business’s success.
Carrying out these duties usually involves coordinating technology planning with a company’s executive team on some or all of the following tasks:
- Assessing the effectiveness of a business’s current technology profile
- Providing an independent, strategic perspective on a business’s technology needs
- Developing a technology roadmap for any changes needed to achieve a business’s goals
- Assisting with developing realistic budgets to accommodate future technology needs
- Managing specific technology projects and bringing them to successful conclusion
- Advising on relationships with third-party hardware or software vendors as needed
- Coordinating with and training current staff on implementing any needed technological changes
- Evaluating effectiveness of technological changes in achieving desired goals
By the way, the duties of a CTO overlap with those of a CIO—a distinction without a difference.
When You Should Consider Hiring a Fractional CTO
When to retain an fCTO is an important business decision. Generally, businesses of any size—but especially small businesses—find it helpful when one or both of the following conditions occur:
- The company lacks the resources to hire a full-time CTO but needs CTO services to achieve significant business objectives.
- The amount of work requiring CTO attention is less than would justify the cost of hiring a full-time employee.
Businesses that need help with specific, major projects involving technology often find an fCTO quite helpful. Perhaps their in-house team lacks the expertise or time to handle a project. Or maybe the executive team needs an independent, objective perspective on improving their company’s technology. However, we find that having more than one team manage your technology often proves ineffective.
Circumstances that require phasing in new software or applications (perhaps for budget or training reasons) make hiring an fCTO especially attractive.
Optimizing internal efficiencies and improving cybersecurity measures to protect a company’s data and assets are also the kind of projects that an fCTO would handle.
One important point to consider: a good fractional CTO will approach tasks proactively with a view toward achieving a business’s goals over time.
Questions to Ask When Retaining a Fractional CTO
With the current shortage of experienced tech experts, finding an fCTO who will be a good fit can be challenging. Here are a few questions that you might ask when discussing your specific needs.
- What experience do you have working with businesses of my size and type?
- How do you manage projects over time? Would you phase in new technology to accommodate my firm’s budget and/or continuing operational requirements?
- Can you help me improve my firm’s cybersecurity profile without loss of efficiency?
- Do you take a proactive approach to helping resolve my challenges? What would that mean?
- How much access will I or my team have to you?
- Would your services include help for managing day-to-day technology problems?
- How much will your services cost? Is there a range of services that you offer?
At Now IT Works, we provide fractional CTO services as part of our technology package for small businesses and organizations. We would love to discuss with you whether our approach and expertise would make a good fit for your organization. Get in touch today to arrange a free consultation.