CIO vs CTO: Key Differences in Roles and Responsibilities

Furthermore, they keep an eye on competitors’ products to keep up with the latest developments. As a tech leader, the CTO needs to bridge functional abilities and other company’s resources to improve efficiency. Additionally, the Chief Technology Officer makes the collaboration between workers easier and optimizes the company’s inside processes. Deirdre Mulligan, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, has been appointed deputy U.S. chief technology officer for policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Depending on company structure and hierarchy, there may also be positions such as R&D manager, director of R&D and vice president of engineering whom the CTO interacts with or oversees. After World War II, large corporations established research laboratories at locations separate from their headquarters.

chief technology officer roles and responsibilities

Information management technology is the distribution, organization, and control of the technology and data of a business. In 2009, the White House announced the appointment of the country’s very first CTO, an official in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. This official’s main focus is to use technology to help stimulate job creation, improve healthcare and security systems, and increase broadband access. The continued growth of business conducted over information systems is the main cause of employment growth in this role. Rapid advancements in business solutions and growth in mobile device usage and cloud computing usage have also contributed to the expected increase in job openings.

What Does A CTO Do?

In technology-focused organizations, the CIO and CTO positions can be at the same level, with the CIO focused on the information technology and the CTO focused on the core company and other supporting technologies. Chief Technology Officer role is one of the most after-sought careers in the IT industry. CTO is an executive level position in a company who usually reports to a CIO or CEO. Most larger corporations need two technology executives, CIO, and CTO, while smaller companies have one of these two roles. A Chief Information Officer is responsible for entire IT department of the company and CTO focuses on R&D, development, and adoption of technology. Most of the software development, technology choice and adoption, and building new products usually falls under a CTO.

The CTO job role has expanded to include producing individualized customer experiences that would previously have been handled by marketing or product development teams. When CTOs assist in developing business plans, they guarantee that consumers receive actual benefits from a product or service. While positions in the following categories may only require a few years of experience, people seeking managing or directorial positions should have about 10 years of experience and more. According to the average startup CTO job description, IT employees who wish to serve as CTOs must often spend an extra five to seven years polishing their leadership and business abilities once in a management role.

As technology became a fundamental aspect of many products and services, companies needed an executive to direct and understand the technical nature of the business. CTOs are now more important and integral to the operations of a business than ever. For example, CIO-driven initiatives that change internal technology systems and processes will often indirectly impact customer experience or service quality. CTOs might promote a technology that changes the service model for different customer segments, adding complexity to IT service delivery, or they might add new capability requirements such as DevOps, or rewire connections between systems.

chief technology officer roles and responsibilities

Because of their mandate to use tech to improve customer services and products, CTOs think about how to solve customers’ problems and about assembling the resources needed to do that. Savvy about business, they think about building core technology platforms that provide a competitive advantage. They also focus on increasing the barriers to entry for competitors by creating a disruptive technology ecosystem that is hard to mimic. CTOs are responsible for building technological products/services that meet the customer needs. The role of a CTO requires constant research for high-tech solutions to improve the company’s product/services. They manage engineers and developers who design the products/services and evaluate the appeal and functionality of the final product/service versions.

● Compelling and verifiable track record of success as a strategic thinker and builder in a high-growth setting. ● Design, build, and implement best-in-class Learning and Development processes and systems in order to foster a culture of excellence and continued learning. Read what Chief Technology Officer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career. Able to confidently lead and guide a technology team and drive tech strategy.

Clarifying the CTO’s role

Managing business IT systems such as ERP, finance, and CRM has always been at the core of the Chief Technology Officer’s role. For decades businesses have depended on enterprise core systems to run and operate their businesses. In simple terms, the Chief Technology Officer is the executive responsible for managing and driving value from technology within an organisation.

chief technology officer roles and responsibilities

For a lot of companies, this can encapsulate the role of a CTO — CRM and ERP implementation and supporting international teams with tech issues. Product management – Technology and product often go hand-in-hand in the tech space. A top CTO should understand the product chief technology officer roles and responsibilities life-cycle and how to build new products and maintain existing ones. Technical domain knowledge – In the tech realm, previous experience and strong knowledge of the industry is vital. Sometimes a CTO can learn along the way, in tech, it’s a little more complicated.

As a result, most CTOs have worked a technical or engineering role at some point in their early careers. A key part of this area is working with software vendors and partners to ensure that service levels are maintained and any new features are delivered safely. CTOs need to evangelise technology in order to inspire people inside and outside the company and drive change where necessary. They will have to design a pragmatic operating model, working out how to structure their teams for maximum effectiveness, knowing what to outsource and what to insource in to get the best return on their technology investment. User Enrollment creates a management profile for BYOD iPhones, but IT must remove that data in cases such as device loss or theft… They develop corporate strategies and business models while analyzing different target markets.

Chief Technology Officer Career Path

Today, networking is a key factor in obtaining a better position in most industries. Meeting new professionals and maintaining professional relationships with industry leaders can influence your career. As long as you have the education and experience under your belt, nurturing professional relationships can lead you to achieve the position you have always wanted. Strong communication with ability to convey technical topics in easy-to-understand business terms and work collaboratively with cross-functional teams and external partners. As a CTO, you must gather the most appropriate staff to complete the tasks. The CEO of the company is not always in charge of hiring or supervising developers.

chief technology officer roles and responsibilities

This is important for attracting talent, getting the best from vendors, and driving valuations with investors and analysts. Almost every CTO will need to manage a large portfolio of projects and balance a range of stakeholders. At the same time, they will need to build an inspiring technology roadmap.

Chief Technology Officer FAQs

The vast majority of high-profile CTOs have a computer science degree or engineering degree but that is not a prerequisite. In fact, having a technical experience is seen as essential to understanding the nuances of technology strategy and delivery – and if you’re looking to hire a CTO, you should expect them to be skilled in these fields. Chief Technology Officers need to hire, build, grow, and develop high-performing technical teams. Building a culture where technical people can thrive and build their careers.

  • In non-technical organizations as a corporate officer position, the CTO typically reports directly to the chief information officer and is primarily concerned with long-term and “big picture” issues .
  • The CTO is always staying alert to new trends in technology and remains the lead product architect and system administrator.
  • The title first developed at dot-com companies in the 1990s and then expanded to IT departments.
  • As with most jobs in the IT industry, the path to CTO starts with a bachelor’s degree in a computer- or information science-related field .
  • But having certificates on project management, architect, leadership, security, and other latest and relevant technology helps.

Not only he or she should work on the migration plan but should also have a good understanding of costs, efficiency, time, and resources the migration will take. R&D teams are involved in learning new technologies, build POCs, and try to build solutions that can help a business to be more productive and effective. It is found in businesses that do not look to the technology teams for thought leadership.

Project Manager

Such a CTO type is a perfect fit for a tech startup, reckoning that their product will interest their core audience and investors through the technologies. The CTO is more focused on using technology to innovate, evolve and enhance customer experience. Sharma sees the CTO job as also very tech-focused — but in a different way from the CIO’s.

What are the responsibilities and roles of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO)?

CTOs play an important role in the C-suite along with other types of executives. Insidenetwork is the specialist in articles on business, tech, real estate and marketing. Their exceptional ideas should relate to the company’s requirements overall. C-Suite is a widely-used informal term used to refer collectively to a corporation’s most important senior executives—as in CEO, CFO, and COO. However, they may report directly to a company’s CEO, especially if there is no CIO position. Many large corporations need both a CTO and CIO, while smaller companies tend to have one or the other.

By this, I mean a CTO will blend knowledge of existing and emerging technology to provide a business with the best future solutions possible. Usually, in companies where technology is a core part of the customer proposition e.g. technology-led companies, software companies, eCommerce, the CTO is usually the more senior role. This type of role is commonly found in organisations with large technology teams focused on the day-to-day running of IT. In terms of qualifications, many organisations require an advanced degree such as an MBA, as the role involves a great deal of complex financial, business, and management skills.

Keeping up with new rules, updated technology, changing customer requirements, and, most importantly, the company’s current scalability may be challenging. When it comes to building software products, the responsibility of CTO is to be adaptable, have an open mind, and strive to alter. A CTO needs both commercial sense and technical understanding to outline a strategy in terms of what product is necessary to be developed and who the correct audience is to be sold to. Business Intelligence tools might also be used to help them make the best selection.

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