A CTO (Chief Technology Officer) is a top executive who is responsible for managing an organization’s research and development (R&D). Depending on a company’s structure, CTOs may also act as strategic planners and infrastructure supervisors. What is a CTO in business? What does a CTO do? We will respond to these questions in the following article. Read on.
What is a CTO? – table of contents:
What is a CTO in business?
The chief technology officer’s primary responsibility is to take all decisions related to research and technology (R&D) in an organization. CTOs are individuals who develop, implement and manage the company’s technology resources. They usually report to chief information officers (CIOs) and chief executive officers (CEOs).
Companies are using new technologies on an ever-increasing scale, so the role of the CTO has become almost as important as that of the chief executive officer (CEO). The position involves managing the company’s IT departments and all of its technical operations.
CTOs must anticipate what kind of technology the company may need in the future, both in terms of hardware and software. These tasks include overseeing the current IT configuration to check if it has enough potential to achieve the organization’s goals.
To ensure the company’s success, CTOs also need to build and manage IT teams, which involves hiring new members or training the existing ones. This requires a great deal of knowledge and experience, as well as appropriate training courses.
CTOs hold a top technology executive position in the company. They lead technology and engineering departments. As part of their responsibilities, CTOs develop policies and procedures to improve products and services that focus on customers. They also prepare strategies to increase revenue and conduct cost-benefit analyses.
CTO vs. CIO
Originally, chief information officers (CIOs) often acted as both CIOs and CTOs, but with the advancement of technology, there has been a growing need to split the work of the CIO into two roles. Therefore, they are now two separate positions.
It has become widely accepted that CTOs are executives who concentrate on strategic planning, while CIOs have a more technology-focused, operational role. CIOs are responsible for technologies that support internal company operations and business procedures.
CTOs, in turn, are accountable for the technologies that develop the business externally by implementing services and products that serve customers. Typically, large corporations need people for these two positions, while smaller corporations fill them with one person. The choice depends on the company’s vision and budget.
Types of CTOs
Advancements in information technology and communication have increased the importance of CTOs in recent years. Companies focusing on scientific and electronic products hire CTOs who are responsible for overseeing intellectual property and have industry experience.
Usually, there are four different types of CTOs whose main responsibilities may vary:
- Infrastructure overseers. They may oversee the company’s data, security, maintenance, and network, and may implement (but not necessarily set) the company’s technical strategy. They may also manage the organization’s technology roadmap.
- Strategic planners. CTOs as strategic planners decide how technology will be used in the company while setting its technical strategy. They also oversee how to implement new technologies in the company to ensure its success.
- Customer liaisons. They act as liaisons between the client and the company, taking responsibility for client relations, learning about the target market and helping to bring IT projects to market.
- Thinkers. CTOs as thinkers assist in setting a corporate strategy, including that for technology infrastructure, analyzing target markets and creating business models. They have a close relationship with the CEO and other members of the company’s senior management.
CTOs need to have the necessary skills to communicate complex technical goals to non-technical people and make them enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead.
Moreover, they must manage the technology used in the organization, collaborate with other executives to maximize the organization’s potential, and take advantage of any technology that can increase corporate profits.
CTOs also develop policies and use technology to improve products or services that focus on external customers. They communicate with them, trying to understand their problems in terms of technology, and help them get familiar with the innovations the organization uses. CTOs must ensure a proper balance between business and technology strategies, assimilating information and turning it into important trends that show where the company should be heading.
Generally, the role of the CTO depends on the company itself, its internal structure, but also the requirements of the industry.
Key duties of a CTO:
- formulating a strategy for the use of technology in the company,
- establishing the company’s goals and timeline for research and development,
- developing the technical aspects of the company’s strategy to align it with business objectives,
- ensuring that technology resources meet the company’s needs,
- overseeing the consistency of technology practices with standards,
- identifying and implementing innovative technologies that provide a competitive advantage,
- managing large teams, data, and the product life cycle,
- assisting other departments in leveraging technology profitably,
- mentoring team members,
- overseeing system infrastructure to ensure functionality and efficiency,
- monitoring IT KPIs and budget to evaluate technology performance.
What is a CTO in business – summary
What is a CTO in business? The main role of the CTO is to enable the company to achieve its financial goals, using an innovative technological approach. There is no doubt that this is a highly desirable function in any organization that wants to be successful in the market. However, since the CTO holds a position that requires technical and leadership skills, it is not easy to find the right person for the job.