Uplifted capability: How a vCTO can work in tandem with your in-house CTO

18 May, 2023

Engaging a Virtual CTO – or CTO-as-a-Service – is a highly regarded option for organisations with no in-house CTO, a service that continues to gain prevalence amongst businesses in Australia and abroad looking to increase their capability.

But bringing a vCTO into the fold in an organisation that already has an internal CTO can also be a highly effective option to consider. In particular, an organisation could extract immense value from the additional support of a vCTO during times of:

  • merge and acquisition: providing unbiased strategy to define new shared processes and determine product use
  • digital transformation: bringing specific and proven transformation experience and broad scope of industry knowledge
  • impasse within an executive group: working to unite a stalled C-suite by providing objective technology and business expertise

4 ways a 9Yards vCTO can support an in-house CTO

1. Planning and execution

No matter the finer details of the engagement, a vCTO will support an in-house CTO to develop a roadmap that will lead the organisation to their defined target state, considering both technological and business needs.

2. Product selection and implementation

By evaluating the existing systems and identifying any gaps, a vCTO can support an in-house CTO in making informed technology decisions with increased confidence. The recommended solutions would ensure the organisation is using the most appropriate products and platforms to align with its strategic objectives – resulting in efficiencies, a stronger employee experience, and better data management.

3. Mentoring and supporting the greater technology team

The support a vCTO can provide is not limited to the individual CTO – they can work with any team member within an organisation. In particular, they can provide mentorship (formal and informal) to staff in the technology office. They can optimise the team’s performance and ensure they have the tools and abilities required to realise the strategic roadmap, and beyond. They may even play an important role within an organisation’s succession plan – where the current CTO may be planning their retirement or exit and wants to ensure their staff are equipped to rise through the ranks.

4. Managing vendors

A vCTO can save countless time for the CTO by conducting due diligence on technology vendors, negotiating contracts and adherence to regulations, and ensuring these vendors deliver in a timely and accurate manner.

What an in-house CTO should do before engaging a vCTO

Define each party’s “jurisdiction”

As with any internal hire or decision to outsource, defining the roles and responsibilities of each party not only provides clarity, it also ensures there are no overlaps or gaps in authority and obligations.

Establish communication protocols

Unsurprisingly, developing a clear communication arrangement is the bedrock of a successful partnership. Define how you will communicate, which tools you will use to collaborate, and how you will escalate issues if needed.

Align expectations

A vCTO is an expert consultant who will be able to make a measurable impact on your organisation – but they still aren’t a magic genie. Set yourself up for success by having clear and realistic expectations for the vCTO’s contribution to your organisation and giving them appropriate time and resources to get the results. Identify the other factors in your organisation that could present roadblocks and determine what success will look like in this engagement.

Find the right vCTO

9Yards consultants bring a deep skill set that spans technical expertise, business acumen and C-level communication skills. Not only can they refer to their own experience in some of Australia’s biggest organisations, but also confer with their teammates as needed.

Learn how a 9Yards vCTO could support your organisation

Ready to bring a fresh perspective to your technology strategy? Arrange a preliminary discussion with a 9Yards consultant to identify how a vCTO could support you in your organisation.