CIO vs CTO: Key differences in roles and responsibilities

They also manage and phase out obsolete technology in favor of cutting-edge internal technology. While many people who are not working in the IT industry may confuse CIOs and CTOs, both roles are critical to the success of a business. The CTO focuses on external customers – those who buy your company’s products, even if the product itself is not digital or technological. As consumers become smarter and more aware of the products they use, the CTO needs to keep abreast of the latest technology in order for the company to offer the best products.

  • In short, CIOs are extending their responsibilities beyond IT service management to include business strategy and the six sigma process of business transformation.
  • Companies need one person to support and promote productive employees and business processes just as much they require an innovator and creative solver who can leverage technology to improve business offerings.
  • Both CIO and CTO roles are important, especially for big companies with distinct C-suite positions.
  • These are not identical in every company you apply to but provides a great outline for knowing which skills to focus on along your career path.
  • This degree is for you if you are an IT professional aspiring to become an expert in your field.

CIOs and CTOs develop company strategies and policies concerning their specific fields of expertise. Quantum computing has lots of potential for high compute applications. More data growth and tightening financial conditions are coming. A business mobile plan is common in the enterprise, but the picture isn’t as clear for SMBs.

Chief Information Officer (CIO)

What it does mean, however, is that while neither role is necessarily more senior, it is increasingly the case that the two positions are the result of, and represent, separate career paths. Does that mean that the CTO is the master strategist, and closer to the ear of the CEO? The CIO is still hugely important in most businesses, where slick running of complex and expensive IT systems is integral to operations. Where the resources are available, it makes sense to employ both a CIO and a CTO.

What is the difference between CIO and CTO

TechRepublic close modal The CIO and CTO job roles are frequently confused, but there are clear distinctions between the two positions in most large enterprises. The two require different skill sets and are focused on different goals. The CIO and CTO job roles are frequently confused, but there are clear distinctions between the two positions in most large enterprises.

What You Gain with a Master of Science in Management Information Systems from the UAB Collat School of Business

They can advise the board on how information technology can be applied to cut costs or boost profits and provide insight that can help leadership understand the cost implications of investing in new technology. CIOs are also increasingly expected to provide input on the customer journey or experience due to the increase in customer interactions and transactions that are moving online. Carroll also sees a difference in how the two IT executives make their mark in the enterprise. He sees CIOs as internal team builders and promoters of working environments that emphasize speed, efficiency and quality. «There is no one standard for the roles of CIO and CTO,» said Dan Priest, managing partner at PwC. «While there are common themes related to technology management, there are important differences across companies and industries.»

What is the difference between CIO and CTO

They also focus on increasing the barriers to entry for competitors by creating a disruptive technology ecosystem that is hard to mimic. CIOs and CTOs both play a valuable role in improving enterprise IT systems and creating new products at the chief technology officer roles and responsibilities executive level. Indeed, in some respects, the terms are relative and depend on the individual company, business goals and the personalities involved. In general, however, the CIO and CTO are distinct roles with different responsibilities.

How to become a CTO/CIO

You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. We launched CTO Academy in 2019 and work with technology leaders to help them build the leadership and broader skill set that enables them to achieve the career impact they want. CTO responsibilities focus on the strategic direction of the company.

What is the difference between CIO and CTO

Overseeing data lifecycle management and keeping data quality high. The CDO role produces data-driven insights- a relatively new concept— but highly sought after by modern companies. It may be that the person you hire is capable of all of these tasks and more. The most important thing is the results of jobs that these people do.

Business Transformation

A Chief Information Officer is typically responsible for the overall IT strategy and implementation of a company’s technology infrastructure. Forging a path as a CTO involves understanding what is best for the company. This position can easily collaborate across departments with the chief marketing officer or chief operating officer to develop strategies that will benefit the company. As new trends and needs arise, the CTO should be on top of how to best implement systems that will work.

What is the difference between CIO and CTO

Like any C-suite executive, a position like this does not come cheap. While they may not be an internal employee, they can become thoroughly familiar with the current state of your infrastructure. Keeping your future goals in mind, they can also identify where improvements can be made. Finally, this is an on-demand service, meaning you only have to pay for the service when you use it. Although there are some parallels and the titles are, at times, erroneously used interchangeably, these are two distinct leadership positions. Just like how replacing a yam with a sweet potato could ruin the flavor of a dish, having someone in the wrong position could come with undesirable results.

Another C-suite executive position, referring to Chief Technology Officer. Just like a CIO, a CTO is responsible for the future growth of a business’ technology needs, and finding the best path for that technology’s implementation. Another responsibility of a CIO is to ensure the money spent on technology is meaningfully used and not wasted on dead-end projects. CIOs have the capability to save businesses significant amounts of capital on hardware that is incongruent with their software, or the implementation of software that lacks the functionality their company requires. The CIO is someone who oversees your organization’s IT infrastructure. They are responsible for ongoing operations, mission-critical systems, and overall security.

What’s the difference between CIO, CTO and CDO?

Both roles focus on using technology to build a company’s IT infrastructure, however, the positions play two very different roles. Below is a summary of the main differences between a CIO and a CISO within an organization. The position of CIO arose from the IT department to be “the face” for a business’s internal teams and the units it serves.

Responsibilities of a CIO

Thank you and it was very helpful to understand the role of CIO and CTO. Are you currently shopping for a new large format printer, and you’re left wondering why a printer… Are you currently shopping for a new large format printer, and you’re left wondering why a printer model can cost about $1,000 to $2,000 less when… With a vCIO, you effectively have a CIO as a key member and decision-advisor in your business, without the need of keeping them on payroll.

These roles are distinctly specialized, and while you don’t need to fill them, it’s worth considering who in your business wears each hat. That way, you can ensure your bases are covered when trying to get the most out of information technology. In the past, the sole focus of the CIO role was IT service management, but that is changing as modern companies evolve.

The CTO role looks for contributions that technology can make to the competitive advantage of the company. Something similar could be said about the CTO and CIO, tech leadership roles separated by a common language. It’s important to give them the flexibility to lead as they see fit. It can be an effective strategy to adopt a tool internally, train employees on it, use it, and then offer it to customers. You then have the added advantage of your workforce knowing the tool well and being able to support the customer journey better as a result. This last point, the fear of change, highlights the disconnect between the “dream” of digital transformation and the realities that come with organizational change.

Both CIO and CTO roles are valuable in the business world, and you can make a difference in whatever role is right for you. A CIO typically will not transition into the CTO role and vice versa because of these basic differences. The CIO is so focused on the internal that shifting toward making business decisions based on sales is a huge leap — and the same is true for the reverse. The Chief Data Officer is a senior executive with a specific remit of overseeing the management and use of data within a company. CDOs develop company strategies and policies that ensure compliance with data protection laws and ensure that data is properly harnessed for company growth.

Usually they are separated because usually they work well that way. As a sammary the value of each position and how they each play a crucial role within a modern organization. CISO or Chief Information Security Officer will typically report to the CEO.The CISO was brought into the modern organization to monitor and analyze potential security risks for the organization.

By regularly reviewing IT procedures and systems, a CIO will increase business efficiency and keep the company competitive. A simple distinction is that the CIO typically looks inward, aiming to improve processes within the company, while the CTO looks outward, using technology to improve or innovate products that serve the customers. CTOs are responsible for building technological products/services that meet the customer needs. The role of a CTO requires constant research for high-tech solutions to improve the company’s product/services. They manage engineers and developers who design the products/services and evaluate the appeal and functionality of the final product/service versions.

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