What we do
Fast Growth CTOs
More and more businesses are based on complex digital initiatives to drive sales, protect margins and improve customer service. Large companies are challenged by opportunities to replace costly administrative processes with efficient systems and apps; startups have the opportunity to reinvent ways of working to disrupt markets.
New business models are being launched on the back of digitised, automated platforms, particularly in the financial services sector – often called, fintech. Retailers are constantly chasing functionality to enable new marketing channels and to integrate new experiences to attract and keep customers.
“We make these changes happen. Our CTOs (Chief Technology Officers) engage on a flexible basis, to own and drive software solutions and deliver digital transformations.”
A quiet revolution
Companies are finding ways to remove time and effort, to disintermediate, simplify and disrupt entire markets, and to create new value. This often involves replacing outdated systems, overgrown spreadsheets or other risky and labour intensive processes. Every sector is seeing innovation and the UK, especially London, is a world leader.
Quietly, a number of factors have been lining up to drive this change:
1. Competition – at one extreme is the ambition to be a sector leader and at the other to simply survive. Either way there is a need to continuously grow revenues, protect margins and improve customer service.
2. Strategic thinking – following the global banking crisis, many larger firms became reactive and new product and service initiatives struggled to survive whilst they were preoccupied dealing with the requirements of demanding regulations and compliance. As a result, they now need to move fast and innovate to remain relevant.
3. Regulatory and tax regime – regulators in the UK have been (relatively!) open-minded and encouraging to new ventures. And tax and grant schemes have been positive influences.
4. Mobile devices and infrastructure – use of smartphones is now ubiquitous, trust is increasing, and “mobile first” is becoming the norm. If your plans don’t include mobile and social media then you don’t really have a plan!
5. Value – the value of successful new ventures is being recognised and success stories are driving further interest for entrepreneurs.
6. Capital – funding in the UK is generally more available than the rest of Europe, though to attract development capital and move through Seed funding to Series A and beyond will need significant evidence of innovation, adoption and credible management.
7. Talent – the UK, especially London, is a centre for incubators, consulting and finance so software development talent is normally accessible but commercially astute development leaders are rare.
8. Technical platforms – the plethora of cloud platforms and tools now means that start-up and scale-up technical platform costs are low, platform contracts are short-term, flexible and not capital intensive. However, choosing the right ones and getting them to talk to each other is the key to scalability.
Fast Growth CTOs
Experienced and commercially astute CTOs are notoriously difficult to find. Very few individuals have the magic combination of technical and real business experience, knowledge of fintech and/or retail. Often companies search for interim CTOs to engage for a defined period. However, interim culture is based on a “hired gun” mentality, their engagement with the business is fleeting and the commitment is simply based on a day rate.
Some companies, especially early stage, look to recruit CTOs at less than market rate but with the promise of equity, this approach is often compelling but invariably attracts the inexperienced.
“Often the CTO will be asked to represent the company in front of investors, clients and business partners. Credibility and experience dealing with these types of situations becomes increasingly important as the business grows and the stakes get higher.”
Many new propositions are borne out of a small group of industry experts and financial backers. They are able to create a clear vision for the opportunity, to analyse the market, to create momentum and build the back office and marketing. Some companies end up relying on one of the directors to run the software team even though they are not software experts so their understanding of the issues is not strong, and their patience with developers generally begins to wear thin very quickly!
At worst, companies have no CTO and rely on outsourced providers, consultants or run a software development team with a lead developer but no higher level technical direction.
Freeman Clarke – Fast Growth CTOs
We are the UK’s largest and most experienced team of IT leaders including hugely experienced and credible CTOs who have the broad range of experience needed.
Our CTOs have first class experience and knowledge of:
• Software and systems architecture, design and development
• Team resourcing and leadership
• Programme direction – including user experience design, development, test, dev ops, support, hosting, and back-office process design – whether it’s insourced or outsourced
• Board level experience – advice and guidance to enable critical decision making
• Commercialisation and Go To Market – a product mind-set to ensure rigorous focus on what matters to customers and what adds value
• Valuation – familiar with funding mechanisms and how to work with external backers
But critically our CTOs are able to immerse themselves in your business as well as being able to genuinely be part of your senior team and to represent you with external funders. Uniquely our CTOs expect to work flexibly with our clients over the short, medium or long-term but to be a fully committed rather than just another consultant.