CTO as a role has evolved with time. As technology continues to be at the epicenter of how companies function and grow, CTO’s have become the most coveted or sought after position in any company. Today even traditional companies are beginning to use newer technologies to entice new customers or keep their existing patrons happy. In technology startups, the role of a Chief Technological Officer (CTO) is to lay the foundation and refine the technology for maximum business growth opportunities. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the current roles and responsibilities of a CTO will become an indispensable skill for every future CEO. In the evolving business environment, CTOs are placing greater emphasis on the role of technology, while CEOs are also embracing it. Thus, the roles and responsibilities of a CTO have compelling parallels to that of CEO.
From developing a strategy to the stage of execution, today every company is driven by technology, making the role of a CTO crucial. A CTO performs several day to day operations, right from gathering technical requirements for a business project to negotiating with vendors. He/she also has to keep up with the exponentially growing and dynamic software industry. But more importantly, a CTO has to define standards for Technical operations. These operations comprise of the following –
- Communications between tech and other departments
- Making decisions for scalable infrastructure, performant code base, and secure systems
- Setting up processes for the different roles in the Tech Team (Front-End, Back-End, Web, Mobile, DevOps, Data Engineering, Data Science, etc.)
According to the best-seller book ’The Phoenix Project’, by Gene Kim & Kevin Behr, an IT organization has business projects, internal projects (optimizing the campaigns), project changes, and some unplanned projects (dealing with unplanned disaster or a bug in the system). A CTO balances all four kinds of projects and optimizes the potential to deliver the best service.
Let’s look at how a CTO can help the brand grow in a multidimensional manner
Today, there is not a single company that can scale up its business without the use of technology. Whether a small or a big business it is critical to have a keen sense of technological know-how to sustain the business goals. A CTO at a large company maintains a competitive edge in the business. With ever-changing technological innovations, key upgradations, and understanding the trend that the competition may be considering to scale up their reach is a skill that a CTO brings to the table. For instance, the role of a CTO at a health and fitness start-up is extended to ensuring effective implementation of marketing campaigns, improving the performance of the system to deliver marketing content on time, and adding new features on the mobile app to give users a good experience. An extension of the role is making sure that business projects run smoothly, the workload is contained, and the system functions optimally.
A good CTO is ahead of his times. Having a clear vision and foresight helps in creating a sustainable business. Traditional publications/media houses who rode the technological wave have not just survived but thrived throughout the pandemic and the ones with traditional approaches have succumbed to it. A business-driven by consistent insights can withstand any challenge. One of the primary goals for a CTO is to create pipelines and workloads that will gather insights from a large collection of data generated in the system from various different sources. These insights help business owners and stakeholders to make data driven decisions and also to create a foolproof strategy in turn providing cutting edge solutions to their customers. A CTO can influence the business strategy with a keen sense of logic and awareness. Speculating threats, new technologies, and trends are part of their proficiency. Additionally, a CTO can streamline operations with automated techniques and eliminate unnecessary costs.
With a focus on emerging IT technologies as well as on building a link between business and technology, they drive digital transformation for companies and brands. A CEO and CTO must ensure that the tech strategy aligns with the overall business strategy and the company’s vision.
While the customer facing team understands the customer needs and demands better. CTO helps in meeting those demands. He is in a way the customer’s voice that demands advancement, appreciates the product, and also sometimes slams the upgrades that don’t get along. CTO knows that consistent customer experience is crucial for the steady growth of a brand and is naturally a part of the planning process. His role also goes beyond this. Any business must aim at building a system that creates a secure space for customers. A CTO plays a key role in determining customer data protection, and maintains a high level of digital data security.
The role of a CTO is ever-changing just like the nature of technology. He is a visionary, leader, customer spokesperson, and an intellectual. A CEO and a CTO have to work closely. As businesses are disrupting, changing, in the time of the pandemic, CTOs are here to take charge, grow, and lead. Innovation is key to the success of the brand. Whether it is product or service, to survive in this fast-paced world the brand owner has to keep this objective at the top of the mind and who better than a CTO to create an innovation that has the power to disrupt the industry.
Authored by:- Mr. Abhay Pai, CTO, StepSetGo
(The views expressed in this article are by – Mr. Abhay Pai, CTO, StepSetGo. Technuter.com doesn’t own any responsibility for it.)