The majority of startups begin without a chief technology officer (CTO) due to their limited size and budget. However, the necessity of this position increases with the growth and scale of a company. So, what should you do when the time comes for the inevitable need for hiring a CTO, and you still don’t have enough money? This is where CaaS comes in!

CaaS stands for CTO as a Service, and it provides a business solution for problems many startups face when scaling. CaaS, with its wide range of services offered, seeks to provide entrepreneurs with everything they need to grow their startup into something bigger.

Is a CTO essential for a company? Can a company function without a CTO? Keep reading to find out!

In this post:

  1. What Is CTO as a Service?
  2. Types of CTO Services
  3. Model of Cooperation with CTO as a Service
  4. In-House or Outsource CaaS?
  5. How Does CTO as a Service Work in a Current Project?
  6. How to Choose CTO as a Service: Skillset of a CTO
  7. CTO's Roles and Responsibilities
  8. How to Hire a CTO as a Service
  9. How Much Does Hiring a CTO Cost?
  10. Geniusee's Experience
  11. Conclusion

What Is CTO as a Service?

A chief technology officer (CTO) is a senior executive in charge of managing the technological requirements of a company. The foundation of a successful startup depends on the quality of the people on the team, and CTOs are responsible for hiring and managing teams and directing the company's technological goals. 

Now that you know what a CTO does, let's explain what CaaS is.

Chief Technology Officer

CTO as a Service for startups is a new trend that makes it possible for a company of any size or budget to hire this specialist. CaaS aims to make this position accessible to companies that can't afford an in-house CTO. Unlike other chief technology officer services initially created for larger companies with bigger budgets, this service is designed to accommodate a startup's limited budget.

Think your company can function perfectly without a chief technology officer? Perhaps. But, before you say no, here are all the ways a CTO can boost your company's performance.

Benefits of CTO as a Service

  • Observing industry market trends and business transformations. Due to the large number of projects a CTO manages, it's critical to establish and implement software development strategies that follow modern software development techniques and best practices, focus on target business markets, and implement initiatives that help improve customer experience.
  • Team building support. A CTO strives to ensure mentoring, coaching, and professional development help for teams, recruiting new personnel, and addressing technical gaps in the search for the required technical specialists.
  • Reducing operational risks. By monitoring budgets and resource planning, the CTO aids in the establishment of robust operations, processes, and infrastructure. Also, they engage in business crisis management, security issues through overall governance and risk management, product management, and planning.
  • Creation of a digital transformation strategy. By supervising the transformation of each business process and suggesting how technology might aid a company's success, a chief technical officer helps develop a digital transformation strategy within a company.

Now that you know all the benefits of CaaS, let's see which types of services are available.

Types of CTO Services

There are multiple types of CTO services, ranging from hiring a full-time CTO to paying a one-time fee for the services. It’s important to be familiar with all the different types of services, so you can choose the one that suits your company goals and budget the best.

Let's examine these services and how each one benefits your business.

  • Full-time internal CTO. This service allows full-time access to the CTO as a service, who will work onsite with your company. They will become part of your team and help your company focus on technological innovation by fulfilling technical and business responsibilities.
  • Full-time offshore CTO. This option ensures high-quality CTO services while keeping the additional expenses to a minimum. An offshore CTO works remotely, and you'll need to organize remote meetings and video calls in order to communicate with him.
  • Part-time offshore or fractional CTO. This service also provides high-quality CTO services at a minimum cost. The fractional CTO as a service works only for an agreed number of hours when required.
  • One-time CTO servicesIf you need a CTO for one specific project, you can opt for assistance with a fixed cost for that particular project only. Companies often choose this type of service for duties such as troubleshooting in particular technical areas or conducting an audit.
  • Interim CTO. An interim CTO as a service is a technical consultant hired to temporarily assist during a transition period while the company is searching for a full-time internal CTO. If you need to hire a CTO for a limited time, this service is ideal.

CTO types

Now that you're familiar with the services you can choose from, let's explore the most common cooperation models with CaaS.

Model of Cooperation with CTO as a Service

There are three main models of cooperation with CTO as a Service. In this section, we explore each of the three models, explaining when companies should choose either option.

CTO Consulting

This model is suitable for a company in need of a one-time consultation for issues regarding design and development. The CTO is paid a one-time fee for each consultation session.

CTO consulting is excellent in situations such as when a company cannot decide on a technical stack for product development or when a technical team is not able to quickly and efficiently solve issues that arise during product development.

CaaS Fixed Price

This model is best for companies that need ongoing support. If you prefer to have a CTO with whom you can plan ongoing strategies, this model is perfect. You will pay quarterly or biannually for the services provided by your technical consultant.

If you need ongoing support in product development and technology management, but you're not looking to hire a CTO, then CaaS fixed price is the right choice for your company.

CaaS Time and Material

This model is best for companies that base their business on product development. This approach allows you to purchase services as needed. You will pay your CTO hourly, and this type of service works well if you need help developing a new product or other tasks related to technological innovation.

Each CaaS model is different and comes with certain benefits. Companies should base their choice on their specific needs. However, one question remains. Which option is better—hiring an in-house CTO or choosing CaaS?

CaaS Cooperation Models

In-House or Outsource CaaS?

If you're unsure whether to hire an experienced CTO or choose CaaS, here are the pros and cons of both options that will help you decide more easily.

In-House CaaS

Pros:

  • Constant control. Hiring an in-house specialist will allow you to control and manage all processes in which that person is involved.
  • Deep understanding. The in-house CTO works on a company project from the very beginning. Therefore, an in-house specialist will know everything about your product from A to Z.

Cons:

  • Great costs. Hiring an in-house CTO is not cheap. Not only will you spend money during the hiring process, but you'll also have to cover other costs for your new full-time employee such as salary, vacation time, etc.
  • Time. It can take some time to hire a high-quality CTO. Experienced specialists already have a good job, so you will also need to persuade them to switch to your company.

Outsource CaaS

Pros:

  • Cost efficiency. Outsourced CTO as a service will undoubtedly help a company save some money. You won't spend any money on the hiring process, salaries, or other costs associated with full-time employees.
  • Quick CTO specialist change. Not satisfied with the work your CTO does? It is much easier to find a new one if you choose CaaS since you're not looking for a full-time employee.
  • Focus on essential business activities. By choosing CaaS, you'll be able to delegate some of your tasks and focus on more important business activities.

Cons:

  • Communication problems. Hiring a remote, offshore CTO can be slightly challenging if the person lives in a different time zone. So, make sure to check the person's availability and work hours upfront.
  • Management issues. Business owners sometimes find it difficult to stop being fully in control of everything when it comes to projects. However, there is no need to handle everything by yourself with a reliable CTO.

Before making a final decision, make sure to identify your company's needs and capabilities, such as the budget. Hopefully, keeping these pros and cons will help you decide more easily.

It becomes obvious from the pros and cons that companies often hire a CTO at the start of a project. But what if you already have an ongoing project, and you're not sure if a new employee will be able to handle it? Here are several reasons why CaaS is an excellent choice for current projects.

How Does CTO as a Service Work in a Current Project?

If you already have an ongoing project, but the company doesn't have a CTO, or it's not clear who will handle technology management, then CaaS is right for you.

Here is how CTO as a Service can help you with an ongoing project.

Project Audit

You can get a high-quality project audit by involving the CTO as a service in an existing project. A CTO can identify the main problems with your product, study the issues that lead to a decrease in conversion, assist in developing a plan to fix issues, and find ways to change all processes in your favor.

Hiring Process

An experienced CTO can assess the performance of the existing team, point out flaws, and assist in the employment of new staff. The CTO will identify experts who can quickly join a new team and take on new product or software development responsibilities.

Roadmap

A CTO as a service can assist a company in the creation of a project roadmap and development process, which consists of a list of tasks that must be performed to reach your long-term objectives. Regardless of the project's complexity, developing a clear roadmap aids in the building of collaboration.

Knowledge Sharing

Finding a skilled and experienced CTO is an excellent opportunity to expand your team's knowledge. The CTO probably worked on numerous projects and products, so they will have plenty of advice to share.

Speaking of a skilled CTO, how can you know if you've found one? Here are the essential skills your CTO must possess.

CTO as a Service Work in a Current Project

How to Choose CTO as a Service: Skillset of a CTO

A skilled CTO should be equipped with more than technical skills. In this section, we explain how to choose the right CTO for your company based on their skillset.

Experience

The more experience a professional has in this field and the more projects they have worked on, the better.

Reviews

To ensure you're hiring top talent, it is recommended you read the reviews of other companies the CTO worked with previously.

Technical Skills and Knowledge

To ensure that the CTO has the appropriate knowledge, look through their portfolio, including projects they worked on previously.

Personal Skills

In addition to technical skills, a good CTO has to possess leadership qualities and excellent communication skills.

Have you finally made up your mind and decided to choose CaaS? Check out are the roles and responsibilities your new CTO will take on.

Skillset of a CTO

CTO's Roles and Responsibilities

These are the most common roles and responsibilities of a CTO within a company:

  • Assistance during the discovery phase
  • Technical solutions
  • Project planning
  • Project scaling
  • Project pitch
  • Hiring
  • Project audit
  • Soft skills management within a team
  • UX/UI Design

Any project and company can benefit from CTO as a service, considering the wide range of tasks and responsibilities a CTO can take. Find out the easiest way to hire CaaS for your company!

How to Hire a CTO as a Service

The hiring process of CaaS consists of multiple stages. It’s necessary to properly prepare for the process, do thorough research, and, ultimately, make the right decision. 

Preparation

The first stage of hiring CaaS is the preparation stage. The Geniusee team has prepared a short guide to help you and your team prepare for the process of finding and hiring a CTO as a service:

  • Decide whether your project really needs CaaS.
  • Think about what tasks the CTO should perform.
  • List the basic requirements for a CTO.
  • Determine if you need a full-time CTO or a part-time CTO.
  • List basic interview questions.

Outsourcing Companies

Select a responsible CTO for your organization by examining several outsourcing companies and their employees. Pay attention to customers’ reviews and experiences.

Freelance Services

You can also try to find a freelance specialist. It is a cheaper method, but the CTO you hire might perform more poorly compared to those offered by verified outsourcing companies.

Recommendations

Asking your friends, partners, or coworkers for recommendations can be quite beneficial when seeking a responsible employee such as a CTO.

After getting to know the hiring basics, it’s natural to wonder how much it will cost you to add a CTO to your team. Let’s figure it out!

How Much Does Hiring a CTO Cost?

The cost of hiring a CTO depends on different factors, such as the experience of the person but also their location. We researched CTO average hourly rates in different regions.

  • Eastern Europe ($50-120/hr)
  • Western Europe ($80-200/hr)
  • South America ($45-110/hr)
  • Asia (<$65/hr)

We recommend you consider employing a CTO located in Eastern Europe. With nearly a million highly qualified professionals, this region has evolved into one of the world's major IT outsourcing centers.

While the rates in Eastern Europe are pretty cheap, the quality is also promising. This region has a strong and established IT expertise due to its availability of technical educational institutes.

Now, let’s take a look at how one of the notable companies from Ukraine can help you hire the right CTO for your company.

Geniusee's Experience

Geniusee is a custom software and product development company aimed to help FinTech, EdTech, and other businesses worldwide thrive through tech partnerships. Founded in 2017 in Kyiv, Ukraine, the company accumulates the expertise of 150+ skilled professionals who have already delivered 100+ notable projects in FinTech, EdTech, retail, and other industries.

From complex cloud solutions implementation to hiring a dedicated team of experts, Geniusee carefully selects specialists according to the requirements of your project. The dedicated team is fully focused on the project, works on it exclusively, full-time, reporting directly to you.

The advantage of choosing the Geniusee development team over classic hiring? You get a loyal team of external personnel, a flexible approach, fully predictable costs, and total budgetary control.

Hire Geniusee’s dedicated team—70% of our customers have a genius team of specialists who are selected according to the requirements of the project. 

Conclusion

chief technology officer helps a company make better decisions about its tech stack, avoid aberrated costs, and deliver the product to the market faster.

A CTO as a service will help you with:

  • selecting the appropriate technologies;
  • solving complex technical problems;
  • deciding on core product features;
  • determining the best commercial and technological methods;
  • recruiting new personnel, forming development teams, and providing support for the development process;
  • pitching your project to investors, and so on.

If you need to hire quality external CTO, feel free to reach out to see how the Geniusee team can help with a solution.