Being a CTO is no walk in the park but at the same time a rewarding position. As CTO you get deep insights into the technological advancements and management of an organization and in this article, we hope to help you keep your tech stack up to date with some of the must-have tools for every CTO in 2021.
A Chief Technology Officer has an immense responsibility to drive a company forward and lead the technological advancements, research, development, and management to generate business value and increase the return on investment (ROI). To be successful at this, a modern CTO must have extensive technical knowledge of different platforms and be skilled in one or many programming languages.
They also need to know how to prioritize and manage a diverse and global team. In addition to all these skills, they need to have a strategic mindset and be great communicators. This might seem overwhelming which is why we set out to give you some help. Here are five tools that should help you along the way.
1. A CTO Dashboard
Whether you are a CTO for a start-up, scale-up, or a large enterprise, having a dashboard with all important metrics is crucial to be able to keep a finger on the pulse of all ongoing activities. Do limit these as much as possible and only track the KPIs that matter in one tool. There are several business intelligence tools out there that can help you with this, such as Microsoft Power BI or Databox. Make sure that the tool that you choose integrates easily with as many data sources as possible to enable a high degree of automation. This will allow you to spend less time gathering data and more time analyzing.
With a good business intelligence dashboard, you can set both negative and positive goals. This means that you do not have to actively monitor the dashboard at all times, but instead get notifications on significant changes within your metrics, helping you identify when to act. Many companies have since long implemented business intelligence tools, but in 2021, a dedicated dashboard for the CTO is vital.
2. Collaboration Tool
Whether you like it or not, the role of the CTO has moved from a purely technical role with projects and initiatives revolving more around handling and managing people. Managing teams, regardless of size, is difficult without having the right tools in place. And this is where it becomes complicated. Many CTOs often find themselves having to use collaboration tools that simply are not made for more technically sophisticated teams where structured and organized information is crucial to run efficient operations.
Losing track of documents is a common occurrence with vital information getting lost in threads longer than a movie transcript. Ideas and comments are often posted in a separate tool which only creates more problems than it solves.
Using an agile communication tool that allows for multiple types of collaboration helps solve this issue. One such tool is Miro. In Miro, you can have diagrams, mapping, documentation, and strategy documents in one single place. Streamlining collaboration in this manner helps the CTO and the employees work much more efficiently.
3. Testing Tool for Visual Regression and Bugs
In the world of application and software development, the user experience is the deciding factor on whether the project was successful. If no one is using the solution you have created, it is irrelevant if the project was delivered on time or within budgetary constraints. Therefore, visual regression testing has become one of the most vital steps in software development. Using a tool to identify if the user interface changes when you make modifications to the code and that helps you identify bugs is crucial.
While the CTO might not have an active, hands-on, role in the development of new software, the responsibility often falls on the CTO’s shoulders to ensure that the project is delivered according to the triple constraint. Tools such as Screenster give the CTO a bird’s eye view on how easy or difficult users find the application to be and if there are any bugs in the system. Other tool in the same category is Percy.
Some tools focus on identifying bugs on your website or java applications, such as LogRocket. LogRocket lets you replay what the users do on your site and help you reproduce the bug and ultimately fix issues at a much higher pace than before. This is ideal for companies operating an e-commerce site.
4. Time-tracking tool
Speaking of the triple constraint, as CTO you are used to having freelancers or agencies working together with internal teams. Depending on your agreement, it is common for external actors to charge an hourly rate, making it crucial that you keep track of the time used on the project. While it is important to track time on your in-house team, it is often external services that end up breaking the budget.
Even if you have agreed on fixed pay, tracking the time will allow you to create benchmarks for scoping of future projects. When a project is based on hourly rates, tools such as Harvest can help you track time spent on projects. This can be used for all projects, not just software development, and will quickly help you uncover stages that take more time than others.
5. A data recovery tool
The risk of losing data is always there, regardless of whether it was unintentional or due to a security breach. Ensuring that you have the right processes and tools to get access to the lost data can be detrimental to the company. Even with the number of companies using cloud-services growing exponentially over the last few years, the risk of losing data is still there.
When it comes to data recovery and protection for Office 365 ecosystem, you might want to look into Veeam. Veeam eliminates the risk of losing access and control over Office 365 data, including the various apps on the platform such as SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams. Veeam ensures that your data is always protected and accessible.
The CTO is responsible for ensuring that data does not go lost, and while cloud computing may seem sufficient in terms of backup, it is certainly better to be safe than sorry.
The role of the CTO is similar to that of a conductor of an orchestra - making sure everything runs smoothly while allowing individual talents to unleash their skills for the world to see. Having the tools in place will help you and the company looking forward, have better collaboration, and creating products and services that users love.