Why does your company need a CTO?
Until recently CTO was mainly associated with a start-up or with a large corporation. Today, its role is becoming increasingly invaluable in smaller companies that have the ambition to combine technological development with customer needs. All this means that the role of the CTO has evolved in recent years.
Many heads of companies, especially when they have some technical knowledge, think that they can successfully take on the duties of CTO. In practice, it turns out that the role of the manager and the related activities are so absorbing that there is no time to get to know the various technologies in depth, to follow the latest technological trends and to find solutions that will allow to implement innovations. As a result, you can quickly see that A CTO is not a luxury at all, but a necessary person in both a larger and smaller company. A good CTO is not only a man with advanced technical knowledge, but also a business-oriented person. He is a professional who looks at this business through the prism of technology, and at technology through the prism of business. He has long ceased to be just Mr. / Mrs. of ensuring the functioning of the IT infrastructure and the development team.
Before we consider in which direction the role of the CTO has evolved, it is worth explaining who such a person is in general. CTO stands for Chief Technology Officer, sometimes also referred to as chief technical officer. This is a person empowered at the level of the board, often referred to as C-level. CTO deals with, on the one hand supervising the company’s technological resourcesand on the other – responsible for its technological development. Many people associate its presence with start-ups, but this is an unauthorized narrowing. By the way, in start-ups, a CTO is often a co-founder at the same time.
CTO is sometimes called a specialist with the greatest technical knowledge in the company. Not only that, he is also referred to as an architect, thinker, researcher, and even a tester or technical “golden hand”. Even if in many cases this is a bit exaggerated, it is certain that the CTO should have charisma, vision and be the leader of the team. It would be wrong who would want to ” cut ” CTO to one vision, to the same function in each company. Reading and listening about the different areas of work of some technical heads, one can come to the conclusion that there are as many CTOs as there are companies operating in the market employing them. Martha Heller of Heller Serach Associates even tried to sort this issue out by highlighting four CTO profiles:
Leader in infrastructure – it’s a classic, most traditional CTO role. This refers to a manager who oversees data centers, network operations, technical services, the area related to the security of IT infrastructure, etc.
Futuristic technical man – this time CTO focuses on everything innovative in technology, keeps his hand on the pulse of innovative solutions that from time to time appear on the market. Such a CTO analyzes new technologies, checks and evaluates which of them can be useful to the company. Futurista also often works closely with the business leader, the decision maker in the company and together with her develops the concept of innovative solutions and the implementation of new technologies.
Founder of the company – that’s the co-founder we mentioned earlier. He is a man not only from technology, but also from ideas that make investors willing to put money into their implementation. Such CTO works closely with the CEO, is the driving force of the young company, meets directly with investors.
Product leader – here CTO focuses on product innovation and product development. At the same time, the CTO, who is the product leader, works closely with customers, dealers, product managers and together with them defines new markets for new product lines.
Why do you need a CTO?
As you can see, the role of the CTO in the company can be very diverse, as well as the scope of his competence and tasks. Therefore, even before recruiting for this position, you should think about who you are really looking for. Candidates should know exactly what role you expect them to play. Then they will know quickly whether they will be able to meet your requirements.
But if you still have doubts about whether you really need a CTO in your company, remember that the revolution in technology takes place almost every day. This means that your company must meet this challenge, and in addition, it must do it in a way that is appreciated by customers. This is a real challenge, in which you should be supported by a good CTO. In this context, such a person will no longer be just a specialist in technology, his role will become much broader. It is this transformation of the CTO to the requirements of our time. CTO no longer focuses only on innovations within the company, which will allow it to respond flexibly to market challenges and allow it to maintain production, but also does not lose sight of the product that is offered to customers. The CTO should ensure that your company uses the best technology for the product, while the product itself must provide the customer with innovative solutions.
Let’s not forget that the IT industry is increasingly focused on customer needs. The modern CTO takes an active part in this orientation towards the recipient of the product or service. Among the many technologies available, he can find one that will not only improve the product, but also give it added value, something that competitors lack. You need a CTO to look at many different technological options and find the right one, the best one for your product. Such a person will help you evaluate the technologies that have appeared and test their business potential, support you in developing relationships with key technology suppliers.
CTO will streamline processes at the interface between technology and business in your organization, building your company’s reputation as a technology leader. With the support of a good CTO, you and your company will be able to focus on customer needs, on business and better understand technology and the changes and directions in which technological transformation is taking place. Today, CTO operates at many different levels, not only technical. Well, okay, but what does a good CTO mean? What makes us call him that?
Good CTO, what’s that?
A good CTO has not only broad technical knowledge, but also business knowledge, and is able to combine strategies in both these areas. He becomes a kind of bridge between technology and the company where he works. A good CTO constantly deepens his knowledge, is up to date both in the field of technology, as well as business, finance, sales strategy, and even marketing. His competence is broad, although the foundation is technical knowledge. Such a person is able to effectively build a team that develops with him. A good CTO has high interpersonal skills, communication skills. Thanks to this, he is able to inspire the team, and even the whole company, as well as maintain excellent relations with the client. A CTO is able to build his personal brand, he is an authority, a leader, to whom one calls for advice when there is a lack of specialized knowledge, but also inspiration.