5 Things Your CTO Should Be Doing Instead of Desktop Support
The role of CTO is frequently misunderstood, and it can be a costly mistake for business owners and executives. Our purpose today is to demystify it. Here are 5 things your CTO should be doing instead of desktop support.
The first thing that should be noted is that not all businesses (especially small businesses) need a CTO full time on staff. Since one of the key functions of this job is to manage IT and technology staff, there must be enough need for several full-time staff members before a CTO is hired. For most businesses this would be an IT department of 5 employees or more, however there is flexibility there depending on the type of business, complexity and technology stack.
That’s not to say that smaller companies don’t need some of the services that a CTO offers. They absolutely do. However, their need may be small enough that a Virtual CTO, or part time CTO would be a better fit.
When companies grow to several hundred employees and have consistent technology needs and staff needing oversight it would be a good time to investigate hiring a CTO.
Defining the CTO Role
A CTO has several key responsibilities. Spoiler alert, none of them involve handling desktop support. These are the things that a good CTO SHOULD be spending their time on.
They should be involved in doing strategic technology planning for the business. This includes but is not limited to planning for the companies’ technology infrastructure, identifying new technology that will increase productivity, and looking for ways to automate tasks within the current technology environment.
A CTO Should be an effective manager of people. It’s a significant misnomer that your smartest engineer should be your CTO. That can be the case, but frequently engineers dislike the idea of having to manage others. They also cringe at the idea of having to sit in meetings with other C-levels. A quality CTO will be able to effectively manage their team as well as meet with other key individuals inside and outside the organization. They will be able to share their vision for the company’s technology.
The CTO is responsible to your business partners. They fulfill that responsibility by aiding acquisition efforts, building the company’s presence and voice, and keeping up on competitive trends. The CTO keeps an eye out for new technological developments that can help the company improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.
For the public, the CTO provides a face for your company’s technical vision. This is done by engaging in speaking opportunities, conferences, media activities, etc. Also, the CTO utilizes social media and online marketing strategies to build a strong online presence. Within the company, the chief technology officer works with the marketing team to develop strategies and plan community-related efforts.
As with any business unit the ability to deliver projects and functionality on time and on budget is key. A CTO oversees the technology budget for an organization and ensures that solutions are cost effective and delivery maximum value.
Don’t Fall into the trap
Many small and medium businesses fall into the trap of thinking they need to hire a full time CTO before they do. This can be a costly mistake. The average salary for a CTO is around $216,000 per year. If you hire a CTO too early, they may end up doing desktop support at the highest possible cost. Alternatively, they could hire an entire staff of underutilized technical resources so they can justify their existence because of the department they “manage”.
CTO for Small Businesses
For most small businesses having the services of a CTO is a huge benefit. Having a resource that you can consult with on the technology solutions that you select to run your business is key. In addition, oversight on the technology solutions used can be hugely beneficial. Having a professional that can oversee budgets and ensure that you’re getting the best bang for your technology buck is vital as well.
The good news is that there is a more efficient way to handle those needs to maximize your benefit at the lowest cost. A quality managed service provider can assist you with all the duties of a CTO, with a highly trained resource, for just the time your business needs. They can do this at a small fraction of the cost of hiring in-house IT staff, giving you the best return on your investment. Call us today to discuss how our virtual CTO services could benefit your business.