What is CTO as a Service and why do you need one ?
Some startups have awesome ideas, but when it comes down to the technology and product development, they offshore or outsource that. And while that can work, it may not always be the best philosophy. Or the magic black box software becomes a confusing chaotic mess they can’t explain. Nor realize it wasn’t very good under the covers. Just a mentality to get things done quickly versus quality work fine well.
Sometimes a startup is founded by a senior developer with a strong tech background, Be it development or AI. That works well in leading the software development team and getting work done and making technology-related decisions, But soon enough it becomes obvious , yet not mentioned, that They too require a technically sound individual who would spearhead the projects, that understands the business and client side of things and takes managerial decisions to the next level To achieve their goals.
CTO (Chief Technology Officer) , responsibility is to lead the strategy, architecture and product stack for Technical teams and R & D teams of an organization. They will identify and lead the business and technological needs, think in short & long term goals, visions and strategies of the organization , utilize the capital investments of the organization and achieve the key agreed upon business objectives.
Do you have a great idea for a product or mobile app, but don’t know how to get started ?
Or did you develop the product or app or MVP with a low budget, and now you realize that the design is insufficient, can’t scale and isn’t ready for the next level of your product?
Do you need personnel with years of technical leadership to help you meet with investors, assess your vendors, develop technical roadmaps, build product strategy or help build out your product teams ?
Do you want someone to be flexible and not have to be tied to long-term contracts? Do you need to pay only for what you use?
Many of the business tycoons or successful entrepreneurs have faced these situations at the infant stage of their startups. In order to tackle these challenges, CTO as a Service has been a lifeline of Sorts.
Why hire a Virtual CTO ?
Having a tech-business savvy individual as a cofounder is not always possible for every startup or SMEs. Most of these technology-centered firms have little or no money to acquire a full-time CTO. Or it was a friend of a friend who just took the title.
Another reason is that startups have a few resources in their bundle with no differentiation of positions. The same resource can be working as the manager and developer while the founder who is a non-technical personnel can deal with the sales and marketing operations.
Early on, there might be no real requirements of a permanent full-time CTO. So they chose to hire a part-time or Consulting CTO. It’s basically a Virtual CTO. This Virtual CTO helps startups design, develop, expand, troubleshoot and mentor their technical teams, help build and scale product and engineering teams and turn ideas and dreams into reality. This serves as a cost-effective option for startups or small organizations.
CaaS stands for CTO as a service and refers to hiring a part time Or virtual CTO. CaaS provides the assistance of a technical business consultant to focus on technology-driven challenges, strategies and leading the organizations vision, roadmap and timelines in line with their business targets.
CTO as a Service (CaaS) helps achieve the following objectives :
Develop a business plan by estimating costs and timelines for the company’s technology development and deployment. Think of it as startup roadmap and business vision planning
Provide expert suggestions on the development platform for the business
Help & recommend how to lead, manage, scale and support dedicated product and engineering teams
Establish best practice policies , processes and standards for software architectures, coding conventions, documentation requirements, AI/ML models and planning and quality assurance processes at the very beginning of the project
Ensure business scales with growth and survives investors’ technical due diligence reviews
Provide technological and business recommendations for the product or mobile app if it’s already developed but the technology is out of date
Provide advice on technology, business and product related issues
Key Benefits of Virtual CTO :
Delivers value of a CTO while eliminating the cost incurred by hiring a permanent CTO
Help address the technology and business related issues faced
The main benefits of hiring a Consulting CTO or Fractional CTO :
Business and technology performance growth
Deliver immediate value through experience at a lower cost
Helps Develop your own leadership & talent development plan
Keep Investors happy with long-term financial planning and realistic roadmap
Reduced operational risks and improved risk mitigation strategy
Oversee the industry market trends and transform the business
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Once you know how to analyze everything, your information can be gold. The value and importance of leveraging machine learning to create a true competitive advantage is known to most successful startups & businesses. Artificial intelligence provides actionable insights, which lead to a stronger business strategy and plan of action. It is essential to have usable data and actionable predictive analytics to make the most of your analytics and data science pipelines, and for a business person to understand the typical product life-cycle flow.
Artificial Intelligence Drives Innovation
Retail Case Study
For several years, inventory and sales information has been obtained by a network of integrated but silo department store systems. Mergers, Acquisitions, various consultancies and data warehouses turned this business intelligence and ‘big data’ platform into a data swamp, not a data lake. Nobody wanted to use it because it was like a scary swamp monster.
This system acted as the analytic and AI center of excellence used to train a machine learning model by the Pagarba Solutions data science team. The team helped the founders, directors and C-Level executives identify strategic actionable priorities and act on them in a timely manner. The current system was the method used to create a demand forecasting model to make future predictable trends and forecasts.
By analyzing data from the past five years of retail sales, an adaptive selective model approximated demand for the coming month. Vector auto-regression models coupled with external data sources are often used in machine learning. That made it possible at any time to forecast demand for any particular product. The company was able to maximize inventory and warehouse management by using this solution to provide alternatives available.
BioTech Smart Medicine Inventory Management Hardware Case Study
The Pagarba Solutions client was advised to use multi-modal bio-metric authentication object recognition system that required a user to pass both a facial and voice recognition to gain appropriate authorized access.
Pagarba Solutions Artificial Intelligence experts suggested introducing enhanced security features to the system, such as image and object recognition technology like optical character recognition (OCR). This was for driver’s license or passport ID authentication. Another strategy and plan was to reduce outliers and overfitting by using deep learning algorithms to prevent fake or biased facial recognition. And finally using Natural Language Processing technology( NLP) for security based written quiz like challenges. These changes also culminated in the development of an event-as-a-Service (EVaaS) platform.
Artificial Intelligence Process Flow & Pipeline
Executives, Directors, & Business owners want to know how to use AI and emerging technology to achieve actionable and realistic business goals. What’s the Return on Investment? They are less interested in the details of how the technology works.
Steps of a Artificial Intelligence Strategy & Development project
1> User Experience (UX) is Key
How will your customers and end users use this Artificial Intelligence (AI) product ? Think of the “old school” recommendation engines we see on Amazon, Wal-mart, any ecommerce site or even youtube and netflix or Hulu. A recommendation engine is really a subclass of information filtering systems that predict the “rating” or “preference” a end user would give to an item.
Recommendation systems work best with unbiased explicit user feedback like Amazon and shopping cart purchases or watching a video on Youtube or Netflix or listening to a song on Pandora or Spotify or Apple Music. But in many use cases the application and platform offers mostly implicit feedback scenarios. Think click through rates, page views, google search queires, like or dislikes, up or down voting and so on. This data is heavily biased and we’ve seen people cheat these systems or bully younger users. Click-through rate is heavily dependent on the position of content on a page. Poor UX/UI and web design and it’s like putting Milk at the front of a grocery store. Not ideal if you think with a data-heavy analytics scope. Implicit feedback also tends to perform worse. Google search results are heavily sponsored and ad based on page one now, so a lot of the content may show sponsored results and/or clickbait headlines. And then the site is all spam. This results in high bounce rates after initially high click through rates. This may not matter to a spam site, but a legit business might not be getting the results they desired.
The user experience (UX) can be broken down into three parts:
- Initial Impression
- What is the user trying to achieve?
- How does the user arrive at this experience?
- Where do they go?
- What should they expect?
- Interacting Stage
- What should they see ?
- Is it clear what to do next?
- How are they guided through errors and processes ?
- Feedback Loop
- Did the end user achieve their goal?
- Is there a clear “end” to the experience? Call to Action ?
- What are the follow-up steps (if any)?
Knowing what an end user should see during the start, into the interacting stage and feedback after of your app or software will ensure the data science and AI team pick the right features and variables for the models and the data science team trains and continuously improves and updates the AI models on accurate proper data from the start. And it helps the engineering and devops teams to automate the MLOps process flow. And they can build and design valuable automated feedback loops for analytics that offers the best solution for end users.
The Wyoming Banking Board just voted to approve Kraken, a San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange, as a special purpose depository institution (SPDI).
Technically it’s the first crypto exchange in the United States to become a bank. “By becoming a bank we get direct access to federal payments infrastructure, and we can more seamlessly integrate banking and funding options for customers,” David Kinitsky, a managing director at Kraken and the CEO of the newly formed Kraken Financial, told CoinDesk.
If this plays out as it seems , good and bad in a sense , Kraken Financial will no longer have to deal with a variety of different rules for regulating digital assets, depending on which state.
SPDI banks in Wyoming, started in November 2019, are still different than regular national banks. They never actually hold full legal ownership over any digital assets, but are legally allowed to hold them. Any assets following a bankruptcy must be returned to customers.
What about crypto debit ?
Kraken has plans now that it has been approved. “We would expect to offer a host of new products as we get established,” Kinitsky told CoinDesk. “Those will range from things like qualified custody for institutions, digital-asset debit cards and savings accounts all the way to new types of asset classes.”
In the wake of a July letter from the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency giving national banks the go-ahead to custody crypto, the Division of Banking also announced it has been working with Promontory Financial Group, a prominent Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm made up of lawyers and former government regulators. In October, the division along with Promontory will publish the first manual for banks regarding procedures and policies for handling digital assets, Land said.
In addition to more products, Kraken Financial will give Kraken the ability to operate in more jurisdictions, Kinitsky said. As a state-chartered bank, Kraken now has a regulatory passport into other states without having to deal with a patchwork state-by-state compliance plan.
“By becoming a bank we get direct access to federal payments infrastructure, and we can more seamlessly integrate banking and funding options for customers,” David Kinitsky, a managing director at Kraken and the CEO of the newly formed Kraken Financial, told CoinDesk.