Techsense team I 3:42 pm, 3rd November

For most people who are unfamiliar with the IT industry jargon, a CIO and CTO might sound like one and the same. And they are not to be blamed of ignorance, because quite often the roles and responsibilities of both these C-suite positions overlap. But when you look at the smaller details, you will realize that there are indeed significant differences between what a CIO is responsible for and what a CTO does. Also, the fact that most organizations have both a CTO and a CIO is proof enough that each has its own unique way of contributing to an organization.

The role of a CTO

The CTO, or Chief Technology Officer, is assigned the responsibility of leveraging technology to help the business grow. The CTO has to identify the organization’s technological requirements and the challenges that lie in the way of adopting these technologies. CTOs are meant to stay on top of emerging technologies and build strategies on how to use them to improve the business’s products and services. The CTO focuses on enhancing the customer and partner experiences by using better technologies.

The roles of a CTO may vary depending on the type, size, and area of operation of the organization. But there are some common tasks that almost every CTO may be expected to handle. These include:

.   Assessing and reposting on the current technology status of the company

.   Contributing to and implementing technology strategies of the company

.   Aligning the technology strategies and resources with the short and long-term organizational goals

.   Identifying emerging technologies that can help improve the company’s offerings to customers

.   Managing the company’s technology budget

.   Working closely with IT managers in hiring, training, and managing people to work on technology development

How does the role of the CIO differ from that of a CTO?

Though some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a CIO and a CTO may look similar, the difference lies in the fact that the CIO has a much wider oversight. The CIO needs to look at the bigger picture within the organization and is in charge of all the technology and digital needs of a company. The CIO plays an important role in building the overall technology strategy for a company. The CTO is responsible for suggesting suitable technological solutions and tools to support the CIO’s policies and strategies.

A CIO is required to have sufficient knowledge of business operations, strategic leadership, effective communication, people management as well as technology. A CTO, on the other hand, may not always need to have excellent people skills but needs to have more technical expertise and know-how. 


CIOs look inward, CTOs look outward

To sum it up, the basic difference between the roles of a CIO and a CTO lies in the fact that the CIO looks inward into the organization’s processes intending to improve the ongoing operations, critical systems, and overall security. They work more closely with other departments to ensure that their collaboration with the IT managers and teams is seamless and more productive.

CTOs, however, look outward to see how the company’s products, services, and experiences can be improved with innovations and technology. They are primarily focused on the customer side of a business.

For an organization to be successful, both the CIO and the CTO need to collaborate and contribute through their unique skill sets.

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