While it is common to hear things about a CEO, CIO, or CFO, talks about CTOs are sporadic. For this reason, in the next few minutes, let us discuss the important role of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in a company’s growth. What are CTO responsibilities, qualities, and persona for business growth?
Every company is begun and established with the motive to experience business growth and expansion. And this growth is achieved only through constant and continuous efforts. However, is it possible to achieve this dream with one single person? Well, to rightly answer this, one person could be the only reason behind the business’s growth and success, but may not be achieved by them alone as it is impossible to overlook the others who have worked for it.
And this is why JC Penny rightly quoted – “Growth is never by mere chance. It is the result of forces working together.”
Similarly, there are a number of important positions that businesses hold and have taken the effort of choosing the right individuals for it. These individuals have a greater role to play in the business’s success and growth. And one of them is the CTO.
A CTO is an abbreviation of Chief Technology Officer, who is an important person of the company that takes care of the technological needs of the company. They also play a key role in technology’s research and development, the short and long-term requirements, as well as making sure that the company’s resources are utilized efficiently to achieve the company’s goals. And according to a recent study, a majority (i.e., more than 78% of the respondents) say that their path to becoming CTO was between 5 to 10 years since the beginning of their career.
What Are The Responsibilities of the CTO?
As a CTO of the company, there are a few essential roles to play, along with those stated earlier. Their role in keeping up with the responsibilities is ultimately what defines their position in the company. Therefore, here are a few of them discussed.
Acknowledge The Company’s Technology Leadership
As the role defines, it is important that the CTO accepts and acknowledges the role of leading the company’s technology. It is evidently understood that the chief technological officer is the one who is responsible and accountable for all the happenings in the concerned department. And therefore, when the leadership is accepted, it also means that he/ she is responsible for those working with them for the growth of the company.
The CTO of the company is also responsible for making sure that the vision of the planned technological development ultimately meets the company’s goals. These are to be made clear to both the technical and non-technical employees connected with the department.
The scope of it is even more because, according to a report, more than 44% of the businesses have made an increase in the budget for technology in the year 2020, while the increase is expected to be even greater by the end of 2025. And all these have indirectly posed a demand for CTO’s need in a company to adapt, thrive as well as thrive. Thus, the responsibility of the CTO is greater when it comes to aligning the company’s goals, considering the importance shown to the role by the company.
Govern the Right Use of Technology
In collaboration with the founders and co-founders of the company, it is the duty of the CTO to develop the strategies and align them with the company’s vision to make sure of the proper use of technology. Moreover, along with the strategy development, the CTO is also responsible for governing the same in order to shape the company’s vision. In regard to this, generally, the CTOs of various companies integrate the two different aspects, namely, the business’s acumen and technical skills.
Build IT Quality Assurance
Building a team to assure the technology’s quality during the initial stages of the business is pretty rare. However, when the company develops and manages to have a team, the testing, as well as quality assurance is distributed among the team members by the CTO. Whether or not the team exists, it is the responsibility of the CTO to come up with an appropriate testing system.
Attract and Monitor a Talented IT Team
The CTO is also responsible for building a potential team and training them, as a good network would indeed turn out to be of great help for better outcomes. However, a study by factoHR.com identified that just about 75% of the companies define and communicate their company’s vision to their employees.
This will indeed result in a lack of clarity among the workforce. Thus, the CTO has a key role in communicating the vision and goals of the company, as well as ensuring that the employees are working towards achieving the same. While hiring, it is also discovered that technical skills are the most important criteria the CTO looks for, along with culture fit and knowledge of technology.
Similarly, when the CTO’s where posed with the question of how they measure the employee’s performance, they stated the use of certain best productivity apps to measure the listed criteria as mentioned in the image below:
Gradually and Efficiently Upgrade the Technology Architecture
The CTO also plays a key role in upgrading the company’s technology architecture. From the initiation of the business, this is one of the major responsibilities that rests on the CTO’s shoulders. The CTO is expected to discern when as well as what the upgrades are that are needed accordingly and do the needful.
However, while a few CTOs take care of the upgrades by themselves, the others allot the task to potential and reliable employees who work under them. Although this is important, a study identified that more than 39% of the CTO’s haven’t implemented any infrastructure or upgraded the architecture.
In the year 2016, a survey figured out that the need for CTO was essential to identify and implement cutting edge technologies for the business as per the response of more than 26% of the businesses. This shows that the businesses wholly believe in the significant role that the CTOs have in contributing to the.
Therefore, at the core of their responsibility, the CTOs must develop appropriate strategies for technology that enhances the company to thrive and develop a competitive advantage.
The Essential Qualities Of The CTO
Having understood the important role that the CTO has in the business’s growth, it is definite to have certain expectations from them. But then, what could the possible qualities be? Well, here are a few essential ones listed out.
As a matter of fact, we all are very well aware of the difference between a manager and a leader, and the CTO has to have the quality of leadership. As rightly said by Steve Jobs, “Incredible things in the business world are never made by a single person, but by a team,” the CTO as a leader must be able to lead the team for the overall benefit of the company’s growth.
Changes are definitely inevitable, and it is a fact that every business has a firm conviction for. Therefore, no matter how prepared and advanced the CTO is, he also needs to have the quality of being flexible and adapt to the changes according to the situation to face the unexpected as well as thrive through it.
Another primary quality is a good knowledge about the technological trends, how to use information technology in business, as well as willingness to learn more. Ever since the significance of CTO was recognized in early 2000, about 12% of them possessed an advanced degree.
Still, research has identified that along with a master’s degree, the new CTO’s are willing to improve their knowledge in the areas as represented in the graph to the right.
Hurdles and challenges on the journey to success are inevitable. However, facing and overcoming them is what shapes and forms you into a full-fledged leader. Therefore, cultivating the attitude to face and solve any problem is an essential quality, especially for a CTO, as the challenges are quite evident in every phase.
These problems can be technical ones (as mentioned in the image) or non-technical ones. But everything needs to be dealt with wisely and with a positive attitude.
The ability to think strategically and make appropriate decisions are quite essential for a CTO. It is important as the constantly emerging new technologies demand them for better adaptability and a longer life span for the company. The ability to think out of the box and expertise at identifying unique and better results are the key qualities that are looked for.
The Four Standard Personas of The CTO
Evidently, the complete value of the CTO is witnessed to be better understood when one is aware of the four major roles. These personas are accredited to the position holder according to the company’s needs. The four personas of a CTO are:
CTO – The Business’s Digital Leader
As a company’s CTO, the major role of the CTO is to foster and support the organization’s digitalization. The need for an in-depth understanding of technology’s insights and the wisdom to leverage the same for building a potential platform for digitalization is what contributes to the CTO becoming a digital leader.
CTO – The Business’s Enabler
This type of persona is generally witnessed where technology is either an essential part of the product or, ultimately, the company’s product. As the CTO, it becomes his responsibility to enable the operations that meet the present trends and manage the engineering team that works on operating the technology.
Leveraging Information technology to enhance the newness of the business model is the key role of the CTO as a technology visionary. They become the focal point for the company’s technology innovation in collaboration with the Chief Information Officer (CIO).
CTO – The IT’s COO
The CTO is also entrusted with the persona to ensure the day-to-day technology use and operations are ultimately serving the strategies of business in achieving the purpose. This also includes the ensured providence of relevant IT support for the business models to operate without hindrance, as a Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Chief Technology Officer Persona for Business Growth
The importance rendered to the role of CTO is observed to be increasing every day along with the growing technological trends that highlight how Information technology is changing business. As much as technology is needed for the business’s survival in the digital world, the company also needs a CTO to make sure that the technology is leveraged and rightly directed for the company’s success. Therefore, ensure that the CTO is chosen rightly who is responsible as well as possesses the required qualities to foster your business growth.