No company can manage without technology these days and strong start-ups are the ones where software and technology can be effectively transformed for the benefit of corporate success. But where does a starting company who has no need or means to hire a full-time employee find a competent CTO? The good news is that just like lawyers and accountants, the services of a CTO can also be contracted.

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 “A CTO or Chief Technology Officer is the right hand of the CEO who is responsible for the adoption of the technological platform necessary for corporate goals on the management level. Their job is to make sure that present-day investments support the company in the short and long term,” says the CEO of the Estonian technology company Net Group Priit Kongo.

He says that the strong start-ups across the world are the ones that employ a CTO or where the CEO is competent as a CTO. At the same time, the CEO obviously has many other corporate issues to handle and therefore, it would be good to be able to hire a person with professional knowledge and technological experience who understands the corporate strategy and is also able to consider the clients and partners who are part of the value added by the organization.

Experience is important for a good CTO – Kongo says that this should be at least 10 years and the experience should include failures and managing complicated situations in addition to successful projects. And business-related knowledge is crucial, because it’s extremely complicated to start training oneself in business as a technologist or vice versa.

“When talking about wages, hiring a CTO with 10+ years of experience should come with a consideration of 6000-7000 euros for monthly wages, plus other bonuses and benefits,” Kongo admits. “This is the wage level of top performers and unfortunately, many especially young and small companies can’t afford to create this position, since it may seem unreasonably expensive and isn’t necessary for everyone 24/7 and all year round anyway. However, a CTO is needed in companies with a sizable staff and specific needs, such as banks, telecom companies and large public offices.”

And if a small beginning start-up or spin-off wants its development to fly fast and far then it most certainly needs a board member with a good technological background or a separate CTO. “If you want to create a new product or service, are securing new clients, considering a new business model or would like to provide a comprehensive service where products, services and a different financing model need to be tied together, the simple solutions that worked before may fall short and you need the help of a professional,” Kongo states.

Rent a CTO for a day, week or month

This is where Net Group can help, providing a rental service of a CTO for companies who need a CTO but not full-time. Net Group recently launched CTO as a Service, which helps clients resolve technological challenges, such as developing a technological solution for a larger change or a completely new idea together, compiling an action plan to execute, aiding in preparing an investment plan and calculating a profitability report.

In essence, it’s similar to hiring a lawyer or an advertising agency. “It hasn’t been used much in the field of technology so far, since we haven’t yet reached this level of maturity as a society, but an increased need can already be felt for it on the market,” Kongo says. “However, this service has been well known in Nordic countries for a good while now, which also incited us to start providing the rental services of CTOs.”

“We offer a CTO with various levels of experience on a daily, weekly or monthly basis,” the CEO of Net Group specifies. “There is absolutely no need to worry that the same CTO might also work for a competitor, because all corporate secrets are restricted with contracts. Secondly, our experience shows that sharing proficiency, problems and solutions is desired more and more, which is what’s reasonable in seeking the best solution. There are no two companies with exactly the same product, service and corporate setup anyway. Everyone has their own specific thing.”

Concluding a rental contract is preceded by a thorough preparation – the future CTO to be hired first needs to understand the client, their product, customers and business specificity. “We need to understand the client and generally don’t charge for this preliminary work. If the thoughts of the client and CTO line up, then work can start in small bits. Our service has already been used by a fair few start-ups with awesome ideas, who still have few resources at the time of founding. We have offered them our solutions, they have used the know-how of our CTO and once the company has matured, it’s been able to involve investors. After that, they can continue with us or recruit their own person,” Kongo explains.

For example, Net Group has provided this service to a start-up in the field of insurance who was seeking for a new business model to provide life insurance where insurance payment is calculated according to lifestyle. Another good example is a Finnish spin-off in the field of energy, who needed a mobile platform to service its customers.

“We offer the journey to the solution: attempt to understand the current situation of technology and business processes of the client and where they’re trying to get to, what is the expected change, how will it impact the business and how much can we help. The next stage already falls under investments – will the change result in large investments or do we move forward with simply an assessment. We can provide such a plan and proposals in a short period of time,” Kongo explains.

In addition to offering a solution, Net Group can also execute the project

Additionally, Net Group as a technological company also provides execution of projects. “Technology is never done, it needs constant work. Our methodology and framework are with a vectorial philosophy – after the end of work or stage, we provide a roadmap with directions and principles that the client can then continue to work with. And if they come up against new challenges, such as the need to replace or update a technological solution, we can come in again to help but don’t have to 100% be there all the time. The framework of our creation can be grasped by a CEO also without the involvement of a CTO. Stages of work and solutions are very thoroughly document and have nothing to do with Net Group, but are entirely logical and easily understood by the next CTO.”

Today, the service costs 190 euros per hour, but Kongo says that a monthly contract should be preferred. “Our CTO is on site with the client for 25-30% of the effective working hours and according to our analysis, that is entirely sufficient because in general, clients don’t have 24/7 work to give them. We always agree on a specific goal to be achieved and should our CTO work for a few more hours than was agreed upon then Net Group covers those costs.”CTO as a Service is suitable for organizations and companies who struggle to invest in information technology but have no CTO. “I encourage to contact us regardless, because we don’t charge for the first meetings, they provide an understanding of the mutual synergy and whether our service is even needed,” Kongo adds.

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