According to recent research by Deloitte, A common fraction of all the respondents, who are corporate leaders and directors, have acknowledged that adapting to technology is a great way to have a competitive edge. Half of them shared getting help from external resources is a unique strategy for the success of an organization. They’ve also admitted that they rely on the help of external resources such as CTO as a service.

You may have a fantastic startup idea or be considering to expand your current business. In these cases, what most businesses struggle with is that they either don’t know how to bring their ideas to reality or don’t have the proper knowledge to do so. The decision they make at this stage will lay the foundation for the future. If things go south, the damage that it can cause may cost even more time and money to fix later on.

So for technological advancement, partnering up with a CTO is the way to go. These individuals contribute in ways other than just software development.

What is CTO-As-A-Service?

Now let’s answer the most obvious question. Well, CTO as a service, AKA CTOaaS or CaaS, is an external third-party consultant, who helps a company with the design, and development of products. As well as guiding the tech team and assisting them in implementing aspiring ideas.

To make it even more simple to understand, its a unique strategy is to outsource a C-Suite executive who looks after the technological aspect of your business.

Now, before we dive into CTO-as-a-Service, let us first understand what or who a CTO is, and How this individual works, and contributes to your business.

What or who is a CTO?

Although the definition of a CTO is a topic itself, So let’s get to know this person briefly and how this individual works and contributes to an organization. A CTO is a senior executive who focuses on technological requirements, challenges, and business opportunities within an organization.

A CTO takes care of all the technological requirements, which may include choosing the best technology, and resources while also keeping the challenges in mind. What are the business opportunities of a product or project that the company is, will be, or should work on, and how the tech team will operate and evolve? In short, the CTO looks after the technological aspect of a business from a bird’s eye view.

If you’re a business owner who’s not certain how working with a CTO will work out. Let’s look at –

What are the implications of using CTO As A Service?

Now that you know all the types, and use cases of this service, You should now have a better idea of how this process will unfold depending on the stage of your project.

In the case of a new project

Making The Technological Plan

A CTO will begin project development by making a plan based on the specifications of the business and, if necessary, analyzing competitors. The CTO will also help to make the budget for your projects or come up with technological solutions to run projects according to the constrains. The CTO will also analyze the existing human resources, and plan for hiring resources to fulfill the project requirements. Also plans to build the team according to the project requirements.

Functional Requirements

Before all the works begin, the CTO will become the guide for the Product or the project manager to write up the functional requirements. This document will contain all the basic work requirements. Which will work as the Bible for the design and development team.

Planning Projects

After that, the CTO will guide the project managers in making a project plans. In these plans, the task priority will be set, and the plan of action will be drawn. At this stage, the project management framework (ex. Agile, Kanban, etc.) will be selected. This will help monitor the implementation, and progress of the project, and prevent threats by identifying critical elements, and using resources in a goal-oriented manner.

UX/UI Design

Next, a CTO can, (if necessary) will guide, and monitor the UX/UI design process to see if the work is up to the product’s requirements or not.

Development Process
The most crucial part is the process of development. Here, it’s necessary to take control of each step. The CTO can properly take control, and make sure the development process is playing out as planned in coordination with product/project managers.


To ensure the product is up to the mark a software quality test is needed. Here a CTO can define & monitor the testing objectives, and methods, measure results, etc.

Coordination with Marketing & Sales team

CTO will coordinate with the marketing & sales team to help them define their targets. So that it can align with the product’s or the company’s capacity.

Coordination with the CX Team

When a product is in the hands of users. The CTO can coordinate with the CX team to get customer feedback on the product.

Product Improvement

To make sure the product doesn’t stay in the same place. CTO can get actively involved in the improvement process, and define the required technologies, and assign the required resources to keep the improvement process running smoothly.

In the case of an ongoing project

Now that you know how a CTO handles a project from the beginning stage. It’s just fair that you should know how a CTO may get involved in an ongoing project.

A Project Audit

In the case of existing projects, the CTO will get to know where the projects are standing. So you get a high-quality project audit, where you as a business owner will get insights on how the projects are playing out so far. The CTO will figure out all the issues that needs to be solved, gaps in resources, so on and so forth to change the process that favors the overall success of the organization.

Hiring Resources

As in the audit, the CTO has already figured out the shortcomings. Which also includes the shortcomings of the team working on the project. Based on the analysis the CTO aids the team with new resources to overcome them.

Drawing The Roadmap

Now the CTO will draw the roadmap. Which is a list of tasks that needs to be completed in order to achieve the objectives of the projects. With the help of this tool, the execution of the tasks will become much easier for both specialists, and different departments involved.

Distributing Knowledge

Usually, CTOs have worked on various projects, and products in their career. So now you as a business owner have the opportunity to learn from the experience, and knowledge of an expert. Such specialists also have so much advice, and knowledge to share with the tech team as well in various stages of a project or product development.

By now you have a clear idea of who is a CTO, and how this individual works and contributes to the company. Now let’s get a better understanding of the types of CTOs out there. To be more specific the types of CTO Services you can find on the market.

The Types of CTO-As-A-Services

The type of CTOs depends on the way your company cooperates with the CTO. The way your company decides to work with the CTO defines his/her duty. Well if you have no idea of where to start, we’re here to let you know some of the popular types of CTOs out there.

Fractional CTO

A fractional CTO assumes only a fraction of the responsibilities of a CTO.

Part-Time CTO

A part-time CTO is a type of fractional CTO. But in this case, the service is measured by the hours of work. That way the company can gauge the responsibilities of the CTO, and the time needed to fulfill them.

Pros Cons
You pay for what you need You only get what you pay for

To get the most out of a fractional CTO the first thing you need to make sure of is, to check if you properly understand why you need a CTO. If you can successfully identify the process, and the responsibilities you want the CTO to take over then going in for a fractional CTO is in your best interest.

Temporary CTO

A temporary or interim CTO is a Tech veteran a company hires to assist them temporarily.

Pros Cons
You get a veteran to take care of the technological process of your company. Only for a limited period of time.

If your company is in between the phase of hiring a full-time CTO, but needs someone to immediately take care of the duties of the CTO while they find the right candidate, hiring the temporary CTO is the option to go with. The temporary CTO may also be able to help the company find the best-suited full-time CTO as well.

One-Time CTO

A one-time CTO is someone who takes ownership of particular responsibilities. They are usually hired to audit or troubleshoot a specific technical section.

Virtual CTO

As the name suggests a virtual CTO will take care of responsibility virtually. Usually, a virtual CTO is hired for consultation purposes, or if a company needs a one-time CTO or Fractional CTO whose responsibility can be achieved remotely.

Why CTO As A Service is getting popular?

Nowadays more, and more companies are using this service. There is a vast example of very successful companies with non-technical founders. Who used this service, and gained success? Among them, there are some popular companies such as YouTube, Snapchat, etc.

There are plenty of reasons why it’s getting so popular. Some of the key reasons are

  • You Get someone overseeing the projects and keeping up with market trends
  • A CTO helps you build the foundation of your tech team.
  • Getting your development plan
  • Operational Cost & Risk Reduction
  • Creating your digital transformation strategy
  • Access to a technical leader at the fraction of the price

Now that you know all the types, and advantages of having this service rather than hiring an in-house full-time CTO. Let’s jump into —

What makes a CTO-as-a-service great

To know what makes a great CTO-as-a-service first you need to learn what makes a great CTO. A great CTO is your companies technological buddy. Who looks after the big picture of the technological process, and the tech team of a company. Even though the experience is a great aspect to look at. But let’s face it. CTOs with 12-14 years of experience can be average-level engineers or product managers. So experience is not always the right or the only metric to look at. Other than just experience there are some characteristics or qualities that a great CTO should or usually has. They’re the following

  • Substantial Technological Knowledge
  • Keeping themselves up-to-date with tech market trends
  • Great Communication Skills
  • Understanding, and familiarity with the organization
  • A realistic, and balanced approach to work
  • Team building, management & recruitment skills
  • A clear understanding of priority & targets
  • Openness to change, forward-thinking & strategic mindset

Now that you know the qualities of a great CTO. Understanding a great CTO-as-a-service will become much easier. But before going in with the money, you should know who it is for. Now let’s dive deep into

Why & which companies don’t hire an In-house CTO

  1. First of all, not all businesses can afford such executive service full-time. Companies such as startups have limited resources to retain a CTO
  2. Having a full-time in-house CTO is not always necessary to create a successful tech venture. Popular companies like YouTube, and Snapchat gained success without having non-technical leader.
  3. A company’s existing resources are capable enough to run the show without the guidance of a CTO.

Why do you need CTO-As-A-Service?

The main advantage of a company with non-technical is that these services are

  • Keeping up with market trends: A good CTO always observes the market trends. As a CTO works with a large number of projects there must be a smooth development process. Where the strategy aligns with the development process.
  • Building your tech team: One of the key responsibilities of a CTO is they help you build your tech team. A CTO consultant will help you hire the right talents, nurture and motivate them. Fill the technical gaps by hiring the right specialist the company needs.
  • Reducing operational risk and cost: A CTO consultant will help you create a smooth process, and build a strong infrastructure, and operation while keeping the budget in mind. That way a CTO will be able to establish a system that can minimize the operational cost and risks.
  • Technological Transformation: A CTO consultant can supervise each business process, and suggest options for how technology can aid the company to become more successful.

Who Needs CTO-as-a-service?

The need more specifically fits businesses with non-technical leaders, and businesses with limited resources to retain a full-time CTO. The following are examples of who needs this service.

CTO-as-a-service for startups

If a startup founder or the leader of that startup is from a non-technical background, Then they need a CTO to scale and look after the technological aspect of the business. But as a startup are you confident you have the financial resource to hire, and keep a in-hand CTO?

If the answer is yes then go for it, and if the answer is no then you need one. This is where this service comes in. As a startup business, you don’t need a full-time CTO who’s gonna be always there to look after the technological aspect of your business. At this point, you need someone who can help you build your ideal tech team, make the necessary decisions, and set things in motion. With advice and consultation from an expert, a startup can properly execute, and achieve the technological target of the company.

CTO-as-a-service for companies with non-technological leaders

This service is not for startups only. Companies with non-technical leaders can also use this service. So that they can scale their business, and its process with the help of an expert. It’s not necessary that you may need an in-house CTO to achieve success. We’ve already covered earlier that popular companies have achieved success without having an in-hand CTO. If you think the technological processes of your company are not up to the mark then having a CTO is necessary. And to properly optimize the situation depending on what you are facing, going for the -service can be an even better option.

How to get CTO-As-A-Service

If you think your business needs this service, then you’re at the right place. We’ve already prepared a list of things you should keep in mind before going for the hire. And Where can you find such executive service?

Things you should keep in mind before going for the hire

  • Be clear if your project or the company needs this service or not
  • Take your time to think about the project or the product you want the CTO to work on
  • Figure the tasks you want the CTO to do
  • Be clear, and List all the basic requirements you want in the CTO
  • Decide if your project or company needs a full-time CTO or part-time CTO
  • List out the questions you wanna ask to assess the requirements

Where to find a CTO as a Service?

Outsourcing/Staff Augmentation Firms

Security Audit, UX Audit and design or Development, and quality assurance are some of the most known services outsourcing or outstaffing firms offer within the software development industry. But in the case of outsourcing a CTO, you need to be a bit extra careful as a lot depends on how the CTO will manage your products, projects, & the technological aspect of your company. So the cons of outsourcing are always present. So before going in for outsourcing you should look at the portfolio of the agencies, and the resource you’d like to hire. Also discuss the partnership in depth. This will help you to select the responsibilities of the CTO better.

Word Of Mouth

If you have a great network, and you have trusted people who can recommend a good CTO. Who is willing to work in the desired model then that’s a source you should consider.

Freelance CTO

A freelance CTO is also a great option if you’re trying to minimize the cost very extremely. Again before going in for the hire you should look at the rating, Client reviews, and portfolio of the freelance specialist.

Polygon Tech CTO as a Service

An organization packed with a bunch of techies. With world-class tech resources at the frontline, Polygon Technology will help you realize your needs for CTO-As-Service better.

About the Author: Sadman Sakib Khan

Sadman Sakib Khan
Sadman is a tech-enthusiast, passionate marketing professional. Who loves exploring technologies and marketing. In his free time, he likes to travel, attend cultural expos, and practice music.

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