The changing role of CTOs in 2021
From CTO to CBE: The Evolution of a CTO’s Job Profile
This rise of technology has also changed the CTO role in an organization. Until now, in most industries (except for tech companies themselves), a CTO played a service role to deliver specific functionality to business as asked. But, in today’s world, digital transformation has changed the way that most industries operate. The role of a CTO is quickly redefining itself as the ultimate go-to person for a company’s transformation. They have to create new business models, digitize products, and solve case-specific problems such as HR, Finance, and Sales with technological intervention. A CTOs profile has evolved into a ‘bridge-builder’ between people and processes and technology within an organization – a Chief Business Enabler
So, let’s have a look at some key roles that today’s CTOs have to take on:
Rapid advances in technology creates an opportunity to take a fresh look at each function, business model, and process in the company. As a result, there can be multiple, highly impactful, tech driven innovations and CTOs can play a critical role in enabling that. This involves demystifying technologies, making them available in a usable form and creating an environment which encourages people to innovate using technology. Quite often CTOs will end up developing core differentiating capabilities for their companies.
Influence business strategy
Every CEO is acutely aware of technology’s potential to upend their current business models. And a CTO must address that concern. New-age CTOs will always have to consider their company’s goals when executing their IT strategies. Using logic, research, and awareness, CTOs have the power to influence and even drive the overall business strategy of their organization.
Typically, a CFO carries the responsibility to control costs for an organization. Now several companies have discovered the role technology can play in vastly improving the productivity of their current sales/operations workforce and routinely task CTOs to help in this area.
Enabler of customer’s voice
Given the rise of digital media, the channels for customer communication have multiplied manifold – be it website, mobile app, call centers, email, SMS, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc etc. It is impossible for a marketing function these days to work without technology, data and analytics. CTOs thus become indispensable partners for CMO and end up buying/developing technologies for marketing purposes. And now, they can deploy data and various AI related technologies to distill customer and business insights for the organization.
Flexibility is the need of the hour
The hallmark characteristic that exemplifies a CTO’s evolving role is flexibility. A person who thrives in this role will go hand-in-hand with a company’s broader strategy. Thus, a well-evolved CTO must understand that their job description does not fit neatly inside rigid parameters. Similarly, they must show a willingness to venture outside their comfort zones, especially when doing so supports their company’s growth.
Being a CTO in today’s world involves more than just choosing technology solutions or ensuring people can work from office/home seamlessly. Their role is now evolving to encompass the uncharted territories. It also means that when things go wrong or new capabilities are needed, the CTO steps in to fix the problem. Going into 2021, it’s appropriate to say that CTOs are becoming the Chief Business Enablers of a company, more so in the modern business ecosystem.