Insights

CTO-as-a-Service, the key to the digital world

With Unikoo, we offer a CTO-as-a-service. What does that mean exactly? We sit down with Cynric, lead of our CTO service offering.

8/2/2024
5 min. reading time
Cynric Huys
Lead CTO Services

Digitizing is not easy. Making the most out of the abundance of technology at hand is even less so. To help companies navigate the world of digital business operations and to support them in every step they take here, we offer a CTO-as-a-service with Unikoo. What does that mean exactly? We sit down with Cynric, lead of our CTO service offering.

Hi Cynric, welcome aboard! With your arrival, we will expand our offer with a new service: CTOaaS. What exactly does that mean, and what is the difference with a traditional CTO?

Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the digital world in which they operate, and, above all, of the fact that they cannot be left behind. They know they need to embrace technology even more, yet they don't always know how to get started. The knowledge is missing and unfortunately so are the budgets for a full-time CTO who can supervise this. We want to accommodate and offer customers this flexible and cost-efficient on demand CTO services to that fit the organization's budgets. For example, support can project-based are, or just a few days a month and can scale up or down flexibly depending on the customer's needs. Moreover, we not only support strategically, we can also fall back on a team of operational implementation experts. As a company, this is how you always have one partner and point of contact for all your questions about technology and digitization without the cost of a full-time CTO on the payroll.

The extra value with Unikoo also lies in the integrated approach. Even outside the technology spectrum.

Why would you choose to work with a part-time CTO?

I just talked about the cost-efficiency, but of course there are even more advantages. First, we offer a great deal of flexibility. Customers can use our services based on their needs and budget. Second, this type of cooperation also offers access to high-quality technology expertise and a network of experts. And thirdly, our pragmatic and hands-on approach really helps you move forward. Not only do we advise, we are also going to implement effectively.

The extra value at Unikoo, he is also in the integrated approach. Even outside the technology spectrum. We can support customers in almost all their needs, from technology to finance, HR and marketing. At Unikoo, we always look at the big picture. This way, even as a small organization, you can also create economies of scale.

Exactly what services does Unikoo offer as part of a CTO-as-a-Service?

Our support is in my eyes twofold. On the one hand, we determine in consultation with the customer a tech strategy. We align the overall business vision with the technology that can help achieve business goals. In doing so, we draw up roadmaps, milestones and associated budgets. Afterwards, we can also supervising operational implementation, such as creating and validating application, data and infrastructure architectures, setting up development processes, assembling and onboarding teams and managing external parties.

By definition, if you want to digitize in an organization, this is an integrated end-to-end approach. We want making digitization manageable. The implementation of a range of tasks depends very much on the customer. What are the ambitions and how are we going to achieve them? Communication is also key to success here: how are we going to explain progress, decisions and their implications to management, board and investors? And then there's the hands-on work: diving into the code, setting up frameworks, adapting best practices to the company, setting up test flows, CI/CD pipelines,... In order to do all this, we're going to make sure the team is complete and well aligned. If necessary, we will look for the suitable profiles within Unikoo ourselves.

 

And what makes you a suitable profile for the role of part-time CTO?

Partly because of my courses as a burg. ir. in computer science and my recently obtained MBA, also the fact that I already experience have gained in many different environments and sectors. I have held various roles in supply chain, product development, finance, HR-tech and healthcare environments, within companies that vary greatly in scale.

I'm not a domain expert with in-depth knowledge of all aspects, but I do have a very broad knowledge. And that's the most important thing: as a CTO, you need to have sufficient technical expertise to communicate with the experts in the field and lead them into the bigger picture, across the boundaries of the technical.

My technical background on the one hand and my strategic business background on the other hand flow together in an integrated approach. As a result, I do not operate from an island of technology, but I always take into account the impact for the wider organization when making decisions. And that, I think, is what our customers are looking for.

At Unikoo, we understand the importance of change management and take the time to listen to the team's concerns and needs.

What types of companies benefit most from CTO-as-a-Service?

From start-up to big enterprise, it The CTO-as-a-service model is extremely dynamic and fits various business sizes. However, we can mainly mean value in the companies that are today. wrestling to go with in the digital transition. We switch to the speed and budgets that these customers are comfortable with. We help them get the most out of this, taking into account the complexity within the company. Companies that have the drive to move forward but simply lack the expertise are, in my opinion, the customers we can do the most for.

Suppose a customer like that found you. What steps do you take between the moment someone shows interest and the realization of a customized project?

It is very important to know how the company operates, what the current landscape is and where the company wants to go. We are mapping all this out. Not only in terms of technology, but also in terms of culture. That's why I also prefer to work on site with the customer: you get more in touch with the company. Based on these insights, we look at what the company's needs are: how does data flow through, who are the key actors, where are any bottlenecks? What are the pain points at the moment or where is just the low-hanging fruit? We can then set priorities based on budgets and risks, and then define action points. This is followed by the implementation.

‍‍That's a lot of steps. Can you specify the minimum amount of effort that a CTO would need to achieve this?

With a few days a month, we can already help the customer further, it is difficult to do so once and for all to say. Of course, everything depends on what the company wants to achieve. Of course, you won't get around to implementing the strategy in a few days. A certain regularity is then a requirement for everything to be done properly.

In addition, you should also actually see a part-time CTO as a full member of your management team, which, like the internal team, represents the interests of the organization to external parties. It also has a leading role. He leads your digital transition, even if it isn't our man job. There is one CTO as the point of contact, who can rely on Unikoo's internal team or network to carry out certain projects, or for more in-depth knowledge and insights into the problem statement.

At Unikoo, we understand the importance of change management and take the time to listen to the team's concerns and needs.

What do you see as the biggest challenges for the CTO-as-a-Service model?

One possible challenge is integration with existing teams and processes. Sometimes there can be resistance to change. At Unikoo, we understand importance of change management and we take the time to listen to the team's concerns and needs. We strive for a collaboration that runs smoothly and where everyone involved feels heard.

How do you see the future of this CTO-as-a-service service?

More and more companies are coming in need of part-time support from experts. I think that not only applies to CTO-as-a-Service, but also to expertise in general. We see more and more that the classic employer-employee collaboration is fading and that companies prefer to use ad hoc expertise. We live in a service world. I think that will continue in all areas; not least in professional collaborations. Everything is faster and tailored to companies with certain questions and needs.

At Unikoo, we hope a lot with our CTO-as-a-Service model to show companies the way in a digital world. I'm really looking forward to taking on the technological challenges with passionate companies and, above all, seizing the opportunities that this progress will offer!

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