Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – Definition

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Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Definition

A chief technology officer is an executive employee charged with the responsibility of overseeing the overall company’s technological needs. His or her major role is to ensure that he align decisions related to technology with the company’s objectives and goals. The CTO answers directly to the company’s chief executive officer (CEO). Another name used to refer to this position is chief technology officer (CTO).

A Little More on What is a Chief Technology Officer

The CTO has always been considered a job in the IT industry. However, it is now common in almost all industries due to the rate at which technology is advancing. Today, manufacturing processes including production, storage, transportation, distribution, and purchasing uses technology.

For this reason, most companies have embraced the use of technology to keep up to date with the new innovations. This has made the CTOs be the most sort after personnel by organizations and businesses. They do research on the new technology and align them with the company’s goals to boost its productivity and profitability. This way, the company is able to gain a competitive age in the industry in which it operates.

The CTO position has been seen to overlap with that of the chief information officer and chief security officer. Whether or not all these positions exist in an organization, it all depends on the organization’s size and its focus. Generally, larger organizations will often maintain the three positions with well-defined roles for each position. In smaller organizations, the responsibilities of these three positions are usually merged to create one position.

Chief Technology Officer Versus Chief Information Officer 

Where the roles of the above two positions are not properly defined, there will be often confusion. This is because the two positions deal mostly with implementing activities related to information technology. However, if their roles are defined as required, they are different from the other.

For instance, the CIOs are charged with the responsibility of researching, creating, and implementing the already existing technologies. Also, they mostly focus on internal IT issues. On the other hand, the CTOs focus their work on technologies and also on external IT issues that affect the company. Their concern is to develop new technologies that will create more revenue and sales opportunities. Their external focuses on handling customer support and content delivery.

It is worth noting that the roles and responsibilities of this particular position will always differ depending on the organization. This means that the organization will always define the CTO roles, depending on what it plans to achieve in the long run.

Duties and Responsibilities of a CTO

Though CTO’s responsibilities vary depending on the organization, there are obvious roles that apply to this position. They include the following:

  • Responsible for directing and approving IT infrastructure designs, communication systems, and software. This includes internal communication systems as well as email.
  • Ensure that the governance of activities related to IT are established. This includes reviewing and approving IT-related policies, incident response, and control planning.
  • Monitoring of social, technological, and scientific trends, to ensure that the company’s business goals are achieved.
  • Identifying risks that are likely to affect the business operations as well as possible opportunities for the business.
  • Carrying out research and recommending an appropriate and effective content management system.
  • Ensure that the company maintains the current standards of technology and it complies with the existing regulations.
  • Responsible for ensuring that cybersecurity procedures and policies are communicated to the management. Also, he or she ensures that the management enforces compliance of these policies.
  • In the case of security breaches, the CTO is responsible for reviewing the incidents.  He or she assesses the impact of the incident and give recommendations on how to avoid such vulnerabilities in the future.
  • Responsible for managing technology programs and operations to ensure that they operate within the budget and that targets are completed.
  • Ensure that he or she put in place a good security plan so as to protect the entire IT infrastructure. This includes the stored data, customers and employees’ communications.

CTO’s Education Qualifications and Experience

The chief technology officer should hold a postgraduate degree in either Computer Science or Information and Technology and in other related fields. An undergraduate degree with several years of practical experience in the technology field is also a preference. Should have practical working experience of more than 10 years in the field of IT. He or she must have also held an extensive managerial experience position.

Key Skills and Competencies

  • Must be Knowledgeable in technology and software trends.
  • Should be knowledgeable in developing business and project plans.
  • Skills for conducting research and analyzing data and results.
  • Should demonstrate excellent leadership and organizational skills.
  • Should possess excellent communication skills.
  • Should have skills for solving problems.
  • Should possess strategic planning skills.
  • Should have interpersonal skills.

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