There’s never been a better time to aspire to be CTO, study finds

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The Amazon Web Services outage in early December provided a key lesson in the emerging role of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), said renowned industry consultant Keith Townsend. “Are there any external mitigation measures that allow you to overcomplicate your system design? The more complex your system design for high availability, the more time it takes to implement new features. You need someone who can have these complex conversations with technical staff and lines of business. . It is necessary to have a reputation and authority to have an impact on both sides of the conversation. This is the CTO level versus the Engineer level. ”

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Photo: Joe McKendrick

The CTO, which has long played an extensive role overlapping that of Chief Information Officer, is emerging as a major player in the growth and sustainability of digital businesses. A recent survey of 5,000 CTOs and CIOs by the IBM Institute for Business Value confirms this, stating that “the CTO has become one of the most strategic roles within an organization.” This “may be a revelation for some,” according to the report’s authors, led by IBM member Rashik Parmar. “Yet this positioning has taken years. CTOs are aligned to lead a new virtual business model that is emerging, fueled by a new post-digital approach to business opportunities.”

Key CTO responsibilities cited in the survey include C suite and board (88%), software development lifecycle (72%), cybersecurity (69%), innovation strategy ( 61%) and business continuity (59%). CTOs also add data to their list of central responsibilities. 79% of CTOs surveyed say they play a leadership role in their organization’s data strategy, and 70% say their colleagues look to them for governance and data management.

In a separate IBM Institute survey of 3,000 CEOs, CTOs and CIOs ranked jointly in the top three, just behind CFOs and COOs, add Parmar and his co-authors, reporting structures also reflect a sea change. in strategic influence. 40% of CTOs said they now report directly to the CEO, and 67% of CTOs said they report directly to the C suite in relation to a business unit or area manager.

Where do the roles of CTO and CIO align and how do they differ? “CTOs focus on a core set of responsibilities, namely technology strategy, operations and architecture,” the study says. “CIOs tend to take on a wide range of responsibilities that tie the C suite to business units. Over 70% of tech leaders surveyed say CIOs own back office applications, including supply chain, workforce engagement, end user experience, and l ’empowerment of the workplace. “

The roles shared between CTOs and CEOs include innovation strategy. data privacy, ecosystem strategy, software development lifecycle, cybersecurity, and C suite and board advisory initiatives.

IBM’s study also reveals that CTOs and CIOs often work independently. Only 45% of CTOs report frequent interactions with their CIO counterparts. Likewise, only 41% of CIOs point to frequent interactions with their CTO peers.

With the relentless digital trend, CTOs are getting more attention than ever before, IBM researchers observe. “We are finding that the role of technology leadership is increasingly shared between the CIO and the CTO, with the role of CTO being relatively new in the C suite,” they say. “The strategic nature of their work has placed them in a position of increased interaction with senior management, with 55% of those surveyed noting that their primary management engagement is with the CEO and an equal percentage with the CEO. operation. ”

According to the IBM team, some of the responsibilities of the CTO going forward are as follows:

  • “Advise the CEO, general management and the board of directors on technology strategy and architecture. “
  • “Invest in emerging and exponential technologies that allow the organization to fulfill its core mission. “
  • “Drive innovation through an accelerated discovery process. “
  • “Define principles for the design and implementation of new technologies and their responsible use in the future. “
  • “Forge partnerships that help solve business problems and spark ideas for new business models.”

Some of the basic requirements for those aspiring to pursue a CTO career path are provided here at GeeksforGeeks.


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