The Case for Chief Technology Officer

The Chief Technology Officer, also known as CTO, is an executive-level position responsible for product development as well as Research and Development (R&D) for an organization.

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What a Chief Technology Officer Does

The Chief Technology Officer is typically responsible for the creation of technology to sell to customers whereas a Chief Information Officer focuses on managing infrastructure for the business operations.

The Chief Technology Officer, according to TechRepublic, does the following:

  • Serves as the company’s top technology architect
  • Runs the engineering group
  • Uses technology to enhance the company’s product offerings
  • Focuses on external customers (buyers)
  • Collaborates and manages vendors that supply solutions to enhance the company’s product(s)
  • Aligns the company’s product architecture with business priorities
  • Develops strategies to increase the company’s top line (revenue)
  • Has to be a creative and innovative technologist to be successful

Why do you need a Chief Technology Officer?

Recent McKinsey research shows that companies that make it a practice to build new technologies into their strategies and operating models are simply more successful. So who, exactly, is tacked with doing that?  As McKinsey points out, “when companies have chief information officers, chief digital officers, chief innovation officers, chief design officers, and more, just what is the job of the chief technology officer anyway?”

“Any large product-based company today must have someone at a CXO level who is explicitly responsible for understanding how emerging technologies will affect its customers and products. That person, we propose, should be the CTO.” — McKinsey