What is a chief technology officer? The exec who sets tech strategy


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The chief technology officer (CTO) is the senior executive who focuses on the technological requirements, opportunities, and challenges within an organization. The CTO role has emerged as a key player in the enterprise C-suite, especially with digital transformation being such a high strategic priority for so many organizations.

These executives, in many cases working in collaboration with CIOs, are oftentimes at the forefront of innovative technology products and services. And they can help steer their organizations toward greater efficiencies and better performance by adopting these tools.

As such, CTOs are among the most important hires organizations are making today, and it can be challenging finding the right person who possesses all the right skills.

“When hiring a CTO, you’re looking for a technologist, a technology architect, an innovator, and someone who can enhance the company’s products for customers while partnering with the CIO,” says Ash Athawale, senior managing director for the executive search practice group at Robert Half.

CTO role and key responsibilities

As a senior executive focused on an organization’s technical requirements and challenges, the CTO’s role can be similar to that of the CIO. But while the CIO is tasked with overseeing the IT department, staff, and infrastructure to support everyday operations and working with business leaders to align IT with business goals, the CTO is responsible for the overall technology strategy.

Some CTOs are also responsible for managing research and development initiatives and overseeing intellectual property at their organizations.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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