CIOs and CTOs are C-level executives within a company. With the rise of technology in recent years, these two titles are becoming more popular and necessary to run the organization efficiently. Does your business have a CIO or a CTO? Find out who they are, what they are responsible for, and if you need one, all in this article on CIO vs CTO.
All about the CIO (who are they, what they do, why you need them)
CIO stands for Chief Information Officer. They are a high-ranking executive responsible for managing and implementing information and computer technology systems of a company. To be able to hold this title, a bachelor’s degree is typically required in a related field of computer science, information technology, or database management. They report directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Roles & responsibilities of a CIO
The roles of a CIO trace back to the 1950s around the time computers were built and incorporated into businesses. With the rise of the Internet, the job utilized more technical skills as companies’ IT departments ran on internal computers, communication networks, and databases. After the invention of cloud computing, big data, wireless networks, and mobile devices, the technology usage patterns drastically transformed, making the role of CIOs more important than ever. There is more freedom in the way business technology is used, but there are also bigger and riskier threats.
CIOs need to keep an open mind, especially with how fast changes occur. They need to manage and emerge new and existing technologies to optimize productivity and indirectly contribute to the increase in revenue. Aside from keeping an eye on technological trends and managing the IT department of a business, CIOs need to be able to come up with IT strategies that fit with the broader business goals. They have to be agile, can quickly respond to malfunctions, and tend to the needs of the organization, employees, and servers.
Why you need CIOs
CIOs play an important role in businesses. As of now, most if not all companies are using technology as a part of their business strategy. Technologies are important even for individuals to market and advertise their products, for small and mid-size start-ups to build credibility, and for big corporations to gather data to better cater to their target audience. In this day and age where technology is almost a part of us, more businesses hire or out staff a CIO to get their IT department updated.
All about the CTO (who are they, what they do, why you need them)
CTO stands for Chief Technology Officer. This title is often mistaken for CIOs and the difference between them will be explained below. Typically, to become a CTO, you will need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information science-related fields. Most CTOs have worked their way up IT ranks in their organizations. Often, they will report to the CIO. In case there isn’t one, they will report straight to the CEO.
Roles & responsibilities of a CTO
The roles of a CTO include catching up with technological trends and implementing software to help the business grow. They evaluate new technology and implement it to launch or improve goods and services for their firm’s clientele or customers. Did you know? There are many different types of CTOs and their responsibilities differ from one another.
The infrastructure Commander works on the front line to place technological vision in others. They will be in charge of overseeing the company’s data, security, maintenance, and network of a company.
The Strategic Planner devises technological strategies and blueprints of the business model. They will envision how new technologies fit with the company's needs and ensure the success of implementation.
The customer Champion has a deep understanding of the company’s clientele or customers. They work to have an excellent UI and UX, take on responsibility for customer relations, grasp the target market, and help successfully deliver IT projects.
The Big Thinker sets up corporate strategies and makes moves with its competitors. They work a lot with the C-suite and upper level of the organization but at the same time verify that technological implementation and functionality are in order.
Why do you need CTOs
The title has only been used since the 1990s but has considerably gained importance in an organization. They think of long-term technology strategies and try to stay ahead of the trends. They define the architecture of future projects, design technical strategy and communicate it, define a clear roadmap, advise on the most up-to-date technologies, manage and coach employees, assess the team’s performance, and more.
The difference between CIO & CTO
If you’ve noticed, the two terms sound very similar but this section will draw the line between the differences for a clearer understanding. CIOs and CTOs don’t have the same responsibilities and the two positions require different skill sets.
In short, CIOs are “inward-looking” and focus more on technology and operations. They are responsible for the technology that runs internal operations and business procedures.
CTOs on the other hand are “outward-looking” where they plan strategies that grow the business externally. They focus more on serving the clients and customers.
Now that you’ve learned who CIO and CTO are as well as their roles and responsibilities, you can now better understand whether they’re needed in your organization and what they will do. It can be difficult, however, to promote someone from your IT department without causing a ruckus, or to scout for talents outside. In the meantime when you are still unsure how much of an impact a CIO or CTO can bring to your organization, you can hire a CIO or CTO as a service. Dirox has some of the best talents ready to start organizing, managing and optimizing your IT department.
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