Nowadays, very few businesses have no technology. A technology function is an important part of your business and something you should invest in. So much so that some big businesses have almost forgotten what they do and how to service their customers. They are spending all of their time building their technology function in overdrive, and not focusing on their customers.
You need to be able to function as a business and you need the right technology to help you grow.
A CTO can help you with this.
What is a CTO?
As I have explained in more detail in my previous post – What is a CTO? – a Chief Technology Officer is someone who helps your business from a technology stand point.
They are the person who helps you to make the right investment decisions, at the right time, to make sure that your vision can be realised through your technology teams.
What is a Technology Function?
The moment you purchase a piece of software for your company you effectively have a technology function.
Here are 11 reasons why your business can benefit from having a CTO or tech function:
1. A CTO can help you get ready to scale
This is not only for small businesses or start-ups, big companies also need to scale. Whether it’s a new project, a change in the market, or simply growth – every business needs to scale. They need to change at some point and they need to be ready for that.
In order to scale you need to understand your technology function and make sure you can manage it effectively. Typically, a CTO would be in charge of that part of the business and be able to run this for you.
2. A CTO understands the long- term vision of your business
A good CTO understands your overall strategies, the roadmap of your company, and where it is you want to go. They will work closely with the business owners, founders, or co-founders of your business and that is important because you want that relationship to be as strong as it can be.
As soon as there is a change in terms of growth, or you need to understand your customers in a different way, you will need to be able to shift your technology. You will need to be able to change the way you are servicing your customers. We often get caught up in technology and forget about what is good for our customers and a CTO can help you avoid that.
3. A tech function can help you avoid PSS
PSS stands for Paid Software Syndrome. Particularly if you are a smaller company without an established tech function, people will often go out and randomly select software.
As the business grows you can end up with lots of different software that doesn’t join up, that is incurring costs, and you are not even using it! So, you must be careful about how you manage and invest in software. When you scale you don’t want your staff to be choosing software at random.
4. A CTO understands your processes
You can only select the very best software if you are choosing the software to manage and execute the processes that are running your business.
That could be to service a customer, or for internal use to manage your teams more effectively.
5. A CTO or tech function can manage your people more effectively
A CTO understands the people that you need for your individual tech function. They know the best ways for them to perform and the range of skillsets that you need.
Whether you have hired staff internally or you have outsourced, or both, your CTO should have a clear overview of your tech function. They should be documenting the skills you need to scale your business.
6. A tech function is all about managing your software
This is the key part to people – process – technology. You want all your software to be managed. You want this because your technology is part of the DNA of your company and you need to be able to know what you’ve got and how to manage it at any one time.
A good CTO will have a register of all the software that you have implemented at any one time. This is a great way to manage certain aspects later on and will save you money, especially when software is no longer needed.
7. A CTO can help your business run in a super lean way
Super lean means your CTO is constantly looking for ways to save you money. This includes using software that runs lean; cloud software, software as a service, and online software that people can operate easily. Your business should be looking to run on all of these, especially in the early days.
As your business matures security may become a feature and you may think about this differently, however, many web applications nowadays are secure and there are multiple ways to secure them using valuable authentication methods. The days of owning everything and having to have large servers on-site no longer exist, there are numerous, smart ways to buy cheap, effective software that can be used by a small business and then used to scale up.
Of course. if you develop your own software or you need a specialised program this is also a key part to having your own personal tech function run by a CTO.
8. A tech function can save you money
Your CTO should be looking to save you money constantly. Whether that is to see if users have left and no longer need a licence for software or maybe your processes or the way you interact with customers has changed and you no longer need a certain type of software.
A CTO should be constantly looking for ways to improve your technology to make it faster and better.
9. A CTO has a real time view of your business architecture
This means the overall landscape of your tech function, all the software you have, how it interacts, who connects in to it and how it looks currently.
A CTO can offer you a clear view of an architectural diagram that constantly says how your business is set up. They can discuss this with you and explain the current landscape at any time.
10. A CTO understands your technology but doesn’t need to know all the details
A CTO can know why you bought a piece of software and what it is that you need, but they don’t need to know every single piece of information about that software. Why is this important? Because software changes all the time.
What is more important is the part of the software you use and how you use it. For example, a CTO understand that you need a database to make reports but how you implement that will change from time to time. They understand how you can upgrade, scale, and acquire the next piece of relevant software.
11. A CTO has an innovative mindset
There is an abundance of great technology out there. This should seem inspiring to you and your CTO. You should not be left thinking that there is anything that can’t be bought or built for you. A CTO can help you create the most effective tech function for your business and your vision.
At times, your customers may think of unique methods for servicing their clients, a great CTO will go out and research what can be done and help you to deliver a better service.
A CTO and an effective tech function can help your business to run smoothly and prepare it for growth. They will shape the direction of the business through technology, both now and in the future, and help you to run super lean to save you money.
For advice on what to look for when hiring a CTO take a look at my previous blog post – What To Look For In Your CTO.
A CTO will appreciate the core values and vision of your business, and they will understand you.
Here is a video where I am discussing how valuable a CTO or tech function can be: