CIO vs CTO – Know your IT Roles
“When you start talking about IT leadership roles and IT career tracks, the question that almost always comes up is “What’s the difference between the CIO and CTO positions?”
Here’s a quick breakdown of the distinguishing characteristics of those two roles.
Chief Information Officer – Defined
- Serves as the company’s top technology infrastructure manager
- Runs the organization’s internal IT operations
- Works to streamline business processes with technology
- Focuses on internal customers (users and business units)
- Collaborates and manages vendors that supply infrastructure solutions
- Aligns the company’s IT infrastructure with business priorities
- Developers strategies to increase the company’s bottom line (profitability)
- Has to be a skilled and organized manager to be successful
Chief Technology Officer – Defined
- Serves as the company’s top technology architect
- Runs the organization’s 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
Which Should I Choose to Employ – a CIO or CTO?
For all of the aforementioned duties to work, the underlying operating platform needs to be agile and plugged into the needs of key business stakeholders—all of which fall under the strategic remit of the CIO. In the age of digital disruption, the success of any business is highly dependent on these two complementary roles and their ability to deliver exactly what the business needs at precisely the right moment.
It is difficult to say which is better and for whom – but it is safe to say that a close working relationship between CIO and CTO is vital.
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