What is a CTO: Ultimate guide to the Chief Technology Officer CTO

The CTO is a vital executive role focused on developing long-term technology goals, staying abreast of industry tech trends, and working with other executives on a company’s direction. While not every company needs a CTO, this role can enhance the alignment between a product or service’s strategy and a company’s technology strategy. The chief technology officer (CTO) is one of the least understood and most broad of all C-suite positions. Originally a chief information officer (CIO) previously performed dual roles as CIO and chief technology officer (CTO). However, as technology continued to advance, there was a growing need to separate the CIO job into two roles to ensure a company’s success.

cto responsibilities

Business Intelligence tools might also be used to help them make the best selection. This is not mentioned in the job description chief technology officer should match, but it’s also necessary for the company’s success. Previously, the bulk of funding went directly into product development, especially in a tech startup. The CTO’s key responsibility was to get that MVP and, ultimately, a market-fitted product out asap with little regard toward spending. The future progress now predominantly depends on the efficacy of the engineering team.

What Does a Chief Technology Officer Do?

Digital transformation investment will reach roughly $2 trillion in 2022, according to IDC. Nevertheless, there are a few crucial areas in which a professional CTO must succeed. Now, we’ll discuss some tech obstacles that should be solved following the duties of a CTO. A CTO is responsible for selecting an appropriate mobile or web development stack.

cto responsibilities

In this blog, we’ll dive into all the relevant details of the CTO’s roles, responsibilities, and skills for the substantial growth of the company. They collaborate with the rest of the C-suite to develop the business’s vision and direction. The CTO, in particular, will be the C-level executive who knows how technology can and will affect the future of the organization. In tech companies especially, the CTO is all the more important because the products/services they develop generate the lion share of the revenue. And conversely, these specialists have a solid background in providing software development services and leading an engineering team.

A CTO is an evangelist

This CTO is responsible for creating the company’s digital business technology strategies, along with leading the teams that will architect the required digital platforms. Often, CTOs adopt this role in industries that have been heavily disrupted such as retail, technology, media, and banking. They always need to keep an eye on emerging technology trends, use customer intelligence, watch competitors, and the external market. All of this insight should be used to drive business model innovation well before the company can be disrupted by competitors. A lot of technology leadership is about strong communication and influencing. The CTO needs to communicate technical goals to non-technical employees and make them enthusiastic about the possibilities it offers.

  • As such, CTOs are among the most important hires organizations are making today, and it can be challenging finding the right person who possesses all the right skills.
  • It means that technological disruptions can cripple a business overnight unless company owners dance to the fast tempo of innovation-focused changes.
  • They also back up startups on various grounds and get the ball rolling until the business is off the ground.
  • A CTO is in charge of developing new services and products as well as improving performance.
  • In the example of digital transformation, a CTO may develop the overall plan for upgrading a company’s technology in a way that will help the company adapt to the future.

Nearly half of CIOs also identified the CTO as a role of increasing importance in the C-suite – behind the CFO and COO – while four in every ten of 3,000 CEOs recognised  the role of CTO as strategically important. Digital transformation was on the lips of every organisation long before the pandemic, but it’s now one of the most important strategies for future-proofing the business. So it is understandable that CTOs find the work more critical than ever, with higher reach and a greater demand placed on them for success.

Enterprise Business CTO

Usually, developers ask for help only if they can’t solve the problem themselves. So, the CTO needs to evaluate the problem objectively and find the perfect solution. It assists the tech team in determining which features of the product need to be improved and which ones may be eliminated.

cto responsibilities

Sign up today to receive our FREE report on AI cyber crime & security – newly updated for 2023. “During periods of rapid expansion, CTOs need to help the company remain true to its vision, mission, and foundational product deliverables,” explains Kyle Spearrin, Founder and CTO of Bitwarden. It’s worth noting that you can expect a large pay increase as a CTO if you’ve worked in the position for a decade or more. CTO’s might receive an average total compensation of £111,000 if they’ve worked for anywhere between 10 and 19 years.

The Startup CTO Tech Leadership Duties

Organizations must think innovatively to compete in a highly skilled market. That means innovation should be led by a CTO who not only adapts to changes well, but also knows what technology is most functional in their business. In this role, a CTO will act as a liaison between the customer and the business by taking on the responsibilities of customer relations, getting a grasp on the target market, and helping deliver IT projects to market. There are typically four different kinds of CTOs, whose main duties may differ. Let’s view what are the duties of a CTO during the growth stages of the startup.

The major difference and also a challenge is the number and size of the departments. In the start-up stage, there were most likely 2-3 departments and a single team of engineers. Once in a fast-growth stage, these numbers increased a bit, but it was still simple to manage risks and even respond to the threat almost immediately. A large company is a different kind of beast where a threat can creep in through any of the hundreds of backdoors and remain undetected. A CTO must be a forward-thinking individual with excellent communication and organizational skills.

The Role of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

The CTO is responsible for technologies that grow the business externally, implementing services and products that serve clients and customers. 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 cto responsibilities actual benefits from a product or service. No one can know everything, but a skilled chief technical officer understands technologies and ensures appropriate ones for the startup company. That’s why a CTO must be many steps ahead of the rest of the team in terms of technical knowledge providing team members with the right project tech stack, according to the average CTO role description.

They need to be comfortable with public speaking and articulating complex technical ideas in an explainable, straightforward manner,” argues Jesse Shanahan, CTO at personal training tech platform Another Round. Through continuous learning and arming themselves with technical knowledge, CTOs can build an effective technology strategy. Yet they also need to be able to communicate the benefits and promise of any technologies to the C-suite – and even the board. This persona is focused on leveraging innovative technologies to transform the business model, products, and services. In 2019, Gartner developed several CTO personas based on analysis from a large CTO study, as well as CTO profiles and job descriptions.

What skills and backgrounds do Chief Technology Officers have?

In this position, you will oversee our overall technology development and technology utilization plan an manage all information technology resources of our company. While not every company needs a CTO, at the very least this role can provide an alignment between a product or service’s strategy and a company’s technology strategy. After a bit of research, you’ll learn a lot of modern CTOs were former developers and project managers themselves. When the life-cycle of a business is consolidating, a CTOs duties can involve overseeing several development teams while evaluating process and progress. The management of the general vision of the software product is the CTOs core driver and tasks like coding or QA are now handled by other members of the team. In business, the area of product development is encouraging innovation, while building new and developing technology products for customers.

What does a CTO do and what skills are required to succeed?

In large enterprises, the CTO is managing and motivating multiple technology teams to deliver on strategic objectives. The primary responsibility is, therefore, to ensure that the teams have the needed resources and support. Enterprise CTOs must also develop talent management strategies to attract, develop and retain top technology talent; only in this instance, on a much greater scale. The CTO in large companies is responsible for defining the enterprise’s technology roadmap, overseeing major tech projects and ensuring that tech investments are in line with business goals. This is a multifaceted and demanding position that requires managing multiple technology teams while navigating complex business and regulatory landscapes. Most companies hiring a CTO want candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree and tons of IT management experience.

While research and development have been a component of businesses for many years, the rise of information technology (IT) and computers has increased the importance of the chief technology officer. Companies focusing on scientific and electronic products employ CTOs who are responsible for the oversight of intellectual property and have backgrounds in the industry. Despite the titles, the CTO has more of an outward-looking, strategic planning role, while the CIO has more of a technology-focused, operational role. Generally, a CIO is responsible for technologies that run the company’s internal operations and business procedures.

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