1. What is a CTO?
From his research Roger Smith (2007) describes CTO's as “c-level executives who make important strategic decisions that impact the competitive position of the company” so is neither an IT Director or Technical Director.
In other words, CTO’s aim to make decisions about the business that drive the business forward into the future, to achieve continuous growth by effectively using science-based technologies, knowledge, and the business’s capabilities in unique ways to provide customers with more value and out-manoeuvre the competition.
2. Why is a CTO so important?
CTO’s are able to identify and implement feasible new opportunities for the business, change the path from mediocre to highly competitive, modernise a business, and create unique technology strategies for growth from competitive advantages. Without growth a company will cease to exist, and growth requires effective change.
3. 6 CTO must-have skills
Creativity allows the CTO to think outside the box, explore new opportunities, methods, technologies, in order to identify new, feasible business opportunities.
Deep business and management knowledge
A deep understanding of all areas of business such as the culture, business models, business capabilities, competitors, provides the CTO with the skill to know what, when and how to innovate (adapt/adjust) the business.
CTO’s make informed decisions and create effective strategies by reflecting, analysing, and comparing unique opportunities, the associated risks, strengths and weaknesses, recognising the impact and implications of implementing it into the business, not only the impact on the business but also the impact on society, the economy, and environment.
Deep knowledge and understanding of current and emerging technologies (combined with business knowledge), the opportunities and competitive advantage each provides, and the legislation, policies, and best practices associated with technology.
Business change involves people. Two such groups are customers and staff. Customers want more value, greater experiences, and, as research shows, staff are often unsettled by change with negative coping mechanisms that affect the business (Carnall, 1999). CTO’s need a deep understanding provide more customer value, and coach, championing, encouraging, persuading and effectively managing the emotions brought about as a result of change within the company.
Your CTO should be a great communicator, able to communicate ideas, opportunities, requirements to the directors, IT team, negotiate suppliers, manage staff, using terms used and understood by each group. He/she understands the business and technology camp with the business goals as the focus.
4. How much do CTO’s cost?
T.O.O.D provide affordable CTO services on subscription to smaller businesses starting at a fixed fee of £199. For larger companies wishing to employ a full time CTO, salaries are graphically presented below by IT Job Watch (2019).
5. Where do I get more information on CTO’s?
Below is a combination of articles, books, and academic papers. Membership may be required on third-party websites to access some of the academic papers.
Carnall, C., (1999) Managing change in organisations Financial Times Prentice Hall, London, UK
D’Angelo, M., (2018) What is a CTO? Business News Daily [Online]. Available at https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/11126-what-is-chief-technology-officer.html (Accessed 8 August 2019)
IT Job Watch (2019) Median CTO salary [Online]. Available at https://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/jobs/uk/chief%20technology%20officer.do (Accessed 8 August 2019)
Saetand, S., Haider, A. (2012) CIO and CTO nexus: Empowering organizations with IT governance, IEEE, [Online]. Available at https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6304383 (Accessed 8 August 2019)
Smith, R., (2007) What CTOs do, Research-Technology Management, Vol. 50, Issue 4, July-Aug. 2007, p. 18, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08956308.2007.11657447 (Accessed 8 August. 2019).
TechTarget (n.d.) Definition: Chief Technology Officer (CTO) [Online]. Available at https://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/Chief-Technology-Officer-CTO (Accessed 8 August 2019).
Technology Officers On Demand (2019) Pricing [Online]. Available at https://www.technologyofficers.co.uk/pricing.html (Accessed 8 August 2019)
Van de Hoven, C., Probert, D., Phaal, R., Goffin, K. (2012) Dynamic Technology leadership: The adaptive role of a CTO [Online]. Research – Technology Management, Vol 55, Issue 5, Available at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.5437/08956308X5505073 (Accessed 8 August 2019)
Ward, P. (2018) What does a CTO for a small firm do? [Online]. Available at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/07/25/what-does-a-cto-for-a-small-firm-do/#28d8fd74d8b4 (Accessed 8 August 2019)
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